Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Goodbye to Thomas Edison?

Thomas Edison is best remembered for inventing the incandescent light bulb. 125-years later his invention may be on the way out. What's wrong with Edison's light bulb is that it's terribly energy inefficient.

Australia, which is usually the source of global warming criticism, has announced that it may ban incandescent light bulbs and require they be replaced with compact, flourescents instead.

Legislation to restrict the sale of the old bulbs could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons and cut household lighting costs up to 66%, Environment Minister Malcom Turnbull said. Australia produced almost 565 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2004, officials say.


Anonymous said...

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea but the light from compact, flourescents is not the same and I find it of poorer quality, there is an added expense to compact, flourescents bulbs (not only money wise but in total ecological footprint), and (this is the weakess argument), I live in Canada - I can use the that extra heat....

OttawaCon said...


The ecological footprint of a CFL bulb is only marginally higher than a single bulb, and it lasts 5-6 times longer.

That is 1/5 the shipping impact, but the huge difference is on the energy side - a 75W inc replaced by a 20W will save 550 kwh over its lifetime. That is over 500 pounds of coal, which is about 1300 pounds of CO2 and on average 22 pounds of SO2.

And they come in different degrees Kelvin ratings.

If you need extra heat, get a heater. Oddly, they are much more efficient at using electricity to generate heat.