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Michael Newton

How about the cost benefit of LCD computer monitors replacing CRTs? Same for TV?

I Don't Get It

I'm trying to believe, but I just don't get it. All the cost reductions that these new technologies cause will just go into the wallets of Wal-Mart and GE. There will be no mass benefit to the workers. True, Wal-Mart and GE shareholders will get to spend more of their wealth, and it would trickle down to the workers. Also true that without the incentive of pocketing these cost reductions, Wal-Mart and GE would not attempt to invent new lighting technologies. But is the trickle-down benefit all that I will get?


I don't get it,

As per the article, you will receive a sizable reduction in your electricity bill. This also reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases by reducing the amount of coal burned.


IDGI, in addition to the energy savings (pretty damn significant in and of itself), the bulb lasts longer so you buy fewer of them. Yes, this is a good thing. Not everything is a conspiracy on part of corporations.

Tushar D

IDGI, by your reckoning, we should have banned steam shovels because it put human labor out of work. We should have banned Accounting and word processing Softwares because it put a lot of accountants and typists out of work. How about banning cranes backhoes and bulldozers? Caterpillar and Microsoft got rich. You got nothing?

I Don't Get It

I accept all these things. But does technological progress necessarily imply a general increase in life comforts? I hope it does, but what about those Japanese that die at their desks from overwork? What will keep our future from turning into Blade Runner?


Just saying "this is a technological improvement" does not automatically mean peoples lives will get better. However, in this particular case, it has been explained quite well why it will make our lives a bit easier (electric bill goes down, bulbs last longer so you buy fewer of them--every little bit helps).


Superb article, btw. I really liked it.


Just thought I'd share:

This weekend I went out and bought a pack of these bulbs. It takes about half a second to a full second for them come on when you throw the switch. But when they come on they are, in my opinion, indistinguishable from regular incandescent lights. They don't flicker like flurescent lights.

I've only had them a couple of days, but I already like them. I don't think I'll go back to regular light bulbs.



That's great. Let us know if your bill comes down significantly over the next couple months, beyond what it was for the same months last year.


There are still kinks to work out in those CFL's. I adopted them as replacements for lighting in a large finished basement and some hard-to-reach areas (high ceilings, et cetera), replacing screw-in incandescents. Some few of the bulbs I never replaced again over the course of four years, most seemed to last about 2 years, and others I replaced every two months to a month - apparently there were particular outlets or fixtures that they didn't get along with. The hard-to-reach ceilings I did in particular because of the claims of long life. I did not realize a benefit there - I was up on ladders replacing those bulbs again and again. Also significantly more (say 10%) of them failed to work out of the box and needed to be returned - and as I don't have time for that sort of thing, they got thrown out, and I was out my 'investment' in them. They also generated a lot of heat - you couldn't handle the things if they had been on for half a minute (I had been hoping that they would run significantly cooler), and sometimes emitted an audible buzz or whirr - which is annoying in work or sleep areas. I was using bulbs the equivalent of 100 and 150W. Would I try it again? Probably, but I don't think I recognized any savings. I would just be hoping that the technology had improved.

Efficiency Paradox

I agree that this is very good news. But total electricity costs will not decline. We will simply find new/better ways to use the electricity.


Efficiency Paradox,

True, but the per capita electricity bill has been dropping as a percentage of income, over the last 30 years. This, despite more new devices consuming electricity (PC, router, TiVo, cellphone charger, etc.)

Cost per kWh has dropped faster than the increase in kWh consumed per home.

Jeff Foster

Good article - thanks for sharing this info. I was looking for CFL info and stumbled across it.

If it isn't too forward, I wanted to draw your attention to the CFL project my company is running called "OneBillionBulbs.com" - we are trying to provoke some social change by increasing awareness on the benefits of CFL bulbs.

I hope you won't think I'm spamming your comments with this info but I didn't see any other way to send you a message.

Best Regards



I can't feel sorry for someone unwilling to return defective merchandise for exchange or refund. Someone "out his investment" might just as well give the receipt and the defective light bulb to some kid who could use the money and go see a movie on the refund. It's the principle, folks; nobody deserves to make money by selling "durable" goods that go into a landfill because they don't work. Such should cost money to the manufacturer and serve as an indicator that someone needs to pay attention.

There will be flaws in any new technology, which explains the wisdom of not buying into anything new. Once the production lines lengthen and the flaw rate abates, the prices come down for anything from CD players (which once sold for as much as $1000; it's hard to find a true CD player except in an ultra-cheap portable stereo, and most people who want one now have to "settle" for a DVD player available for as little as $30. The DVD player plays not only DVDs but also recorded movies, which is a nice bonus.

Desk Lamps

LEDs could win that battle because they last longer than CFLs.

led par lights

While I reading this blog, I feel I'm in the year 2125 I think that's the year that all traditional thing was replace. Like the now we must used all things that nature lover or that save our energy.. Thanks for sharing like this. This is so helpful to other..


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What about all the mercury in the CFL's, are the manufacturers or retailers accepting responsibility for containment and recycling or is this just further environmental collateral damage that nobody (not eeven governements) want to acknowledge or address? LED's at least have a lower environmental footprint than CFL's and last considerably longer but it could be like the VHS-versus-Beta technology battles of past, where the best technology does not necessarily win out, rather the marketing muscle and investment incentives of the manufacturers and retailers pushes the most profitable technology, which of course in this case would be the cheaper option with the higher sales cycle time (shorter life = more sales = more revenue = larger corporate profits). It is estimated that every CFL contains 5mg of mercury. Excluding the volume that get released accidentally when CFL's are broken and any small percenbtage that actually have a recycle path (most countries operate a voluntary system = no incentive and therefore low volume), the vast majority will end up in landfills and ultimately in the human food change causing further detrimental health effects). It's not like we actually need to further lower the IQ of the population including political decision makers. This is shaping up to be an environmental time-bomb for the 21 Century.

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