For all the talk about the lowly light bulb being a primary front in the ongoing journey to becoming green, the fact is that there are few good options to replace the incandescent when it comes to light quality, cost, and environmental impact.
I have a few CFLs in the Nolan household but I simply don’t like them. They have to warm up to before outputting full power and the color of the light is hit or miss depending on the brand of bulb you are buying. Then there is that pesky mercury problem that proponents who claim to also be environmentalists selectively overlook… given the choice of mercury contamination or excessive electricity use, I’ll take the latter because mercury is serious stuff. Remember that fluorescent lighting is also a hundred year old technology.
The typical CFL has 4-6mg of mercury but the thing that should be concerning is that CFLs use elemental mercury which readily vaporizes when exposed to air, meaning a broken CFL in your home should be dealt with not simply by sweeping up and throwing away the broken glass, as you would an incandescent, but also by opening windows and allowing the air to change to decrease the mercury levels. BTW, the broken glass should not be vacuumed up, but rather collected and placed in a sealed bag to be disposed of in a certified Household Hazardous Waste facility, according to the EPA. Right…
I am a big fan of LED lighting but even here I find the solution to be a glass half empty. LEDs have a funky cold blue light, something that will no doubt be corrected over time, but the bigger problem is that LED light has to be concentrated which means it doesn’t disperse well so for area lighting it is not an option. On the plus side, LED lighting generates a lot less heat than other options and of course lasts pretty much forever.
For over one hundred years, traditional incandescent light bulbs have dominated the lighting industry. While the past belongs to these incandescent bulbs, the future belongs to light emitting diodes (LEDs), a new and efficient technology that is revolutionizing the lighting industry and ensuring it will have a smaller impact on the planet.
[From Amazon Green Scene's Blog: Light Emitting Diodes: The New “Green Light” Permalink]
While I would call LED lighting very efficient, it’s certainly not new… the first calculators that appeared in the early 1970’s depended on two innovations, the microprocessor and LED lights.