I found an article in the NZ Herald, about energy saving lightbulbs. Yes, I know the never ending story.
I am still quoting some if it’s contents here:
Couple set to save with bulb swap
4:00AM Monday Aug 03, 2009 by Eloise Gibson
Replacing every lightbulb in their home with an energy efficient version is set to save Mt Albert couple Petra Mihaljevic and Mitchel Cantlon $144 a year.
The pair have been told their next monthly power bill will be about $12 cheaper, after a “lighting makeover” paid for by the Electricity Commission.
[..] Ms Mihaljevic said the main benefit was not cost but less frequent changing of lightbulbs. “We buy cheap ones and we seem to be replacing them all the time. These could last two or three years,” she said.
Well, my personal opinion is the following:
FL’s would be better IF the energy mix in NZ would be like in the US with heaps of coal that would emit mercury as well AND if they would last as long as promised AND if they could be recycled in NZ AND if they would light up instantly AND if the light spectrum would be more natural….
According to some life cycle asessments (LCA), CFL’s reduce the emission of mercury as the production of energy and burning of coal emitts more mercury than a CFL would do when going to landfill. Well, that might be right for the US, but not necessarily for NZ.
There have been heaps of complaints that those bulbs need considerable time to light up fully, from 20 seconds to 1 Minute depending on product. You switch the light on in your bathroom and have to wait a minute first before you can actually really see what you are doing.
Sensitive people complain about headaches and the inability to read properly and require glasses. It is very well known that the light spectrum emitted by these bulbs are very unsimilar to the natural sunlight spectrum.
Durability seems to be an issue as well. Although a high durability is claimed by manufacturers, this seem to be quite often not achieved. Maybe this has to do with the fluctuation in the power supply in New Zealand. The quality of electricity is not good in this country. From my own experience I can say that I have thrown about half a dozen curly-wirly-energysafer away in that past three years, and that without using them too much.
How can we recycle them? By waiting for the next hazmobile that is showing up four times a year in some cities of New Zealand at a time where most of the population is at work. So I am supposed to take some time off work, get into my car and drive to the hazmobile place while burning some fossile fuel in order to drop of a broken or burnt-out bulb.
Alternatively I can wrap it up with lots of plastic to avoid immediate laekage of mercury and phosphor, put it in the bin and send it to landfill, where the chemicals will eventually leak into the soil and groundwater as the plastic (very) slowly decomposes.