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Australia Outlaws Incandescent Light Bulb 944

Posted by Zonk
from the lots-of-quiet-nights-down-there dept.
passthecrackpipe writes "The Australian Government is planning on making the incandescent light bulb a thing of the past. In three years time, standard light bulbs will no longer be available for sale in the shops in Australia (expect a roaring grey market) and everybody will be forced to switch to more energy efficient Fluorescent bulbs. In this move to try and curb emissions, the incandescent bulb — which converts the majority of used energy to heat rather then light — will be phased out. Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception. They feel Australia should sign on to the Kyoto protocol first. A similar plan was created together with Phillips, one of the worlds largest lighting manufacturers."
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Australia Outlaws Incandescent Light Bulb

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  • More than Australia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:24PM (#18083418) Homepage Journal
    For those with short memories, there's a legislator in California proposing the same idea [slashdot.org], though over a five-year period instead of three.

    I find the difference in approach interesting, though. The California proposal, judging by the press releases, seems to be about banning sale of incandescents. The Australian proposal is simply upping the energy efficiency standards to the point where incandescent bulbs no longer qualify.

    Considering California actually has a higher population than Australia (estimated 36 million in 2005 vs. estimated 20 million in 2006), the California ban, if adopted, would actually have a greater effect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Dude, if this goes in to effect in California, I'm importing my Edisons from Guam or something. The color temperature and 60Hz. oscillations of fluorescents make me want to light fires. (literally)

      -Carl
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:33PM (#18083562)
        Modern CFLs do not oscillate at anything nearly as slow as 60Hz.

        It's 2007, not 1997.
        • by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:37PM (#18084870) Homepage Journal
          Bullshit. I don't care if it's 2017, the fact is that the current crop of commercially available and affordable Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are not capable of producing decent light. I should know as I've run through the gamut of what's available at local stores. The color temperature sucks. And even if the 60 Hz flicker is gone, none of the lamps allow you to have natural looking colors indoors. Especially when they're your only source. Supposedly the "HD" CFLs have overcome this, but it looks like they're only available online. And each site I've visited lists the lamps as "pre-order" implying that they're not really available. I've looked at the Bluemax site for instance and the only lamps available are the same ones you can get in any store. I've tried them, they all suck. None of them approach natural light in the least. At least halogen has a prayer of doing that as do the daylight spectrum incandescents. I'm all for going green (and I have in that I now have five CFLs running at home instead of the previous incandescents. But damn is it depressing to feel like you're sitting in a hospital waiting room.

          1. "Daylight" CFLs have a strong bluish tinge similar to the backlight of an LCD display. Ugly. Horrible for photography. Looks nothing like real daylight.

          2. "Bright White" CFLs have a strong greyish tinge. This would make you want to slit your wrist if you sat under it all day. Totally useless for anything except killing yourself.

          3. "Warm" CFLs are about the only ones that are tolerable and what I wound up going with. But they have a pretty strong pinkish/yellowish tinge. All your whites look kind of dingy. These feel like a hospital waiting room or doctors examining room at best. With a pink cotton candy look.

          Supposedly the HD lamps approach natural daylight, but from the photos I've seen taken online with them, we're talking a gloomy winter day and not a sunny day at the beach. Frankly, I'm waiting for some kind of hybrid lamp using LED or OLED technology. I suspect they will be more efficient, last longer and will be capable of generating ANY color of light through simple digital controls. Only then will the light problem be solved.
          • "grey tinge"? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:47PM (#18086180)

            "Bright White" CFLs have a strong greyish tinge.

            How the hell can LIGHT have a GREY 'tinge'? Definition: "To apply a trace of color to; tint." Most of the people I talk to who object to CF lights and how they "look funny", don't have a single one in their house. Your brain automatically adjusts to different color temperatures. I used to do theater lighting design, and this is (believe it or not) exploited by designers. One scene's overall temperature influences the next.

            "Daylight" CFLs have a strong bluish tinge similar to the backlight of an LCD display. Ugly. Horrible for photography. Looks nothing like real daylight.

            Tungsten bulbs have a significantly higher color temperature than normal incandescents. Daylight CFLs have one significantly higher than tungsten bulbs. Would it surprise you to know that photographers actually seek out the high temperature FL tubes for home-made lightboxes?

            This is because, unlike you, they know how to properly set the white balance on their camera (hint: you need a grey card.)

            This would make you want to slit your wrist if you sat under it all day. Totally useless for anything except killing yourself.

            I have a "bright white" bulb in my bathroom, one in my kitchen, and one by my desk. The rest are "soft" white. You'll be happy to know that no wrist-slitting has occured in several months since moving in, and my landlord was shocked at how low my power bill was.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by DerekLyons (302214)

              Most of the people I talk to who object to CF lights and how they "look funny", don't have a single one in their house.

              So? I object to them (on the basic of their odd color balance) - and *because* of that, I don't have a single one in my house. Not owning one does not equate to not having seen one. I've been to friends houses and to offices that have them, I've seen them in lighting displays at the store - without ever owning a single one, I know how bad their lighting is.

          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:07PM (#18086512) Journal
            First, a couple of small nitpicks:

            There is no such thing as a greyish tinge to light. In subtractive color theory, grey is made by adding black and white. In additive color theory, grey is just a dimmer white. It is not a tinge. If something seems grey, add more light.

            There is no way for anything to have a "pinkish/yellowish tinge." It could be one or the other, or it could be orange. Pink is desaturated red. Red and yellow make orange. Pink and yellow makes light orange.

            The problem I think you are encountering is not an actual color temperature issue, but a color accuracy issue. There are a lot of different ways of making colors that all look the same to a human eye. You could make orange by mixing red and green light, or by using an orange light. To the human eye it looks the same, to a spectrometer one "orange" looks like peaks in the red and green wavelengths, the other looks like a peak in the orange wavelengths.

            Because phosphors only emit light in a very narrow band, CFLs use a combination of phosphors to approximate white light. But instead of a continuous spectrum of color mixed together to make white, you are getting just red, green and blue mixed together to make white. The light looks white to the human eye, because we only have red, green and blue receptors, but some other colors will look off because the light is not full-spectrum. There is no way to fix this with gels, either. There is nothing there for a gel to subtract.

            Here's what wikipedia has to say about the quality of light in CFLs:

            Quality of light: A phosphor emits light in a narrow frequency range, unlike an incandescent filament, which emits the full spectrum, though not all colors equally, of visible light. Mono-phosphor lamps emit poor quality light; colors look bad and inaccurate. The solution is to mix different phosphors, each emitting a different range of light. Properly mixed, a good approximation of daylight or incandescent light can be reached. However, every extra phosphor added to the coating mix causes a loss of efficiency and increased cost. Good-quality consumer CFLs use three or four phosphors--typically emitting light in the red, green and blue spectra--to achieve a "white" light with color rendering indexes (CRI) of around 80. (A CRI of 100 represents the most accurate reproduction of all colors; reference sources having a CRI of 100, such as the sun and tungsten bulbs, emit black body radiation.)


            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by E++99 (880734)

              There is no such thing as a greyish tinge to light. In subtractive color theory, grey is made by adding black and white. In additive color theory, grey is just a dimmer white. It is not a tinge.

              Ah, the old "you can't be percieving it that way; it's not in the theory for you to do so."

              There is no way for anything to have a "pinkish/yellowish tinge." It could be one or the other, or it could be orange. Pink is desaturated red. Red and yellow make orange. Pink and yellow makes light orange.

              Sure, if you're talk

        • by arminw (717974) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:10PM (#18086584)
          ....Modern CFLs do not oscillate at anything nearly as slow as 60Hz.......

          There are two big problems with CFLs. One is that they do not work with dimmers. We have a number of lamps which are controlled by dimmers. These are especially valuable in connection with watching movies.

          A worse problem is that CFLs lifetime is much less than a normal bulb in situations where the lights are turned on an off often. These CFLs die very quickly under such service. They are also much more vulnerable to instantaneous power surges and drops. The solid state devices in them silently die and the mercury containing bulb is then trash which needs special treatment.

          They also take a while, (about 30 sec. to a minute) to reach full brightness and some of them flicker or pulsate until they get fully warmed up. So it is best to use them in situations where the light is left on for most of the 24 hour day. They have their uses and encouraging their use is one thing, but across the board banning of normal light bulbs is not a good idea. The color balance of the cheaper ones also leaves much to be desired. Some of them make people look like death warmed over.
          • by raynet (51803) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @05:24PM (#18087772) Homepage
            CFLs do work with dimmers, but you must get ones that are especially made for dimming, otherwise you get very short lifespan on the CFL. Not that I have any dimmers, I watch my movies in a dark room.

            Also, almost half of the lights in my home are CFL, and during last 3 years I've had to change 1 CFL and about dozen or two normals ones.

            It probably takes about 30 seconds until CFL reaches the maximum brightness, but for me 90% brightness is usually enough for anything that I need to do within that timeframe.

            Basicly the only reason that I haven't changed all my lights to CFL is that I have still 50 old lightbulbs left, but once they are gone, I'll switch to use only CFL. Except for my outside lamps, CFL really don't like winter and temperatures of -30C or more. They often just die in a week or so. Though some people have been lucky and their CFLs have lasted a winter or two.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by NeutronCowboy (896098)
            While we're on the topic of anecdotal evidence...

            They also take a while, (about 30 sec. to a minute) to reach full brightness and some of them flicker or pulsate until they get fully warmed up.

            Note the ones I use. They take about 0.5 of a second to actually turn on, but then are at full brightness. They also do not flicker or pulsate. Though I do admit that I don't like the color light they produce. For anyone interested - these are standard GE bulbs that came from Home Depot. YMMV depending on what you bu

      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:52PM (#18083940) Homepage Journal
        Compact Fluorescents don't use old fashioned ballasts so they don't oscillate at 60Hz. They use electronic ballasts that oscillate somewhere in the thousands of Hz.
      • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:33PM (#18084790) Journal
        Firstly, you can get a flourescent in practically any colour temperature you want.

        Secondly, even old fashioned flourescent strips flicker at 120Hz in the US, not 60.

        Thirdly, any flourescent (strip, compact, whatever) manufactured in the last 15 years will have an electronic ballast - so the flicker will be around 20kHz to 30kHz depending on the design, and imperceptible to any human.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
      I find the difference in approach interesting, though. The California proposal, judging by the press releases, seems to be about banning sale of incandescents. The Australian proposal is simply upping the energy efficiency standards to the point where incandescent bulbs no longer qualify.

      So? They're both mind-numbingly stupid.

      Those of you who follow my posts know that restrictions on incandescents (and any other input-based methods [slashdot.org] of getting people to reduce an output) make me absolutely livid. They unfa
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:10PM (#18084320)

        Those of you who follow my posts


        Certainly.

        After all, /. was created just for you. User # 970,646
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        "Great, dear! Now we don't have to worry about turning up the heat in winter!"
        Well, now they'll have to turn up the heat in the winter because their light bulbs will be giving off so much less of it.

        Anyhow, do they even make CFLs for, say, ovens? Freezers? Chandeliers? Can they operate at 500 degrees in my oven?

      • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:48PM (#18085124)
        I agree with all of that 100%. If they want to reduce electricity consumption, why not raise the tax on electricity until people cut back however much they want? If they're doing this to save the environment, spend the extra tax revenues on buying up and retiring carbon permits (once we have a carbon trading system), or some other environmental protection/remediation scheme. When people's electric bills go up, the government might point out that they could bring them back down by using more efficient bulbs, but let the consumer decide how to bring it down.

        I switched over 90% of the bulbs in my house to compact fluorescents five years ago. But making me switch over the other 10% just makes me mad. None of them get used much. And there are three fixtures where, despite looking, I've never been able to find any CF bulbs that fit in them. One of these is an antique brass lamp I inherited. What am I supposed to do, throw it away? I'd like to point out that, if I were to buy a new big, heavy, nice brass lamp to replace it, there is an energy cost to mining, refining, shipping, casting, assembling, and re-shipping that new lamp. A new lamp a lot like it costs about $800. It would never save that much energy, or that much money.

        Additionally, my father was in vision research. Their entire vision research lab ran on incandescent bulbs for experiments. On the one hand, they don't want to toss a $10,000 experimental apparatus it took a year to build because they can't buy the bulbs anymore. And on the other hand, they can't very easily redesign these things to use CF bulbs, because they treat the clear incandescent bulbs as point-sources. They do have one easy solution, though, if replacement incandescents were difficult/illegal to obtain. They can place their xenon arc by the experiment, and run a thin beam of arc light through a gradient mirror (to adjust the brightness to match) to a small mirror where the bulb used to be. In this respect, they would replace a 40-watt bulb with a 10,000-watt bulb.

        CF bulbs already make economic sense for consumers to buy- they save a whole lot of money over their lifespan. The main reason they haven't been adopted is consumer inertia. Most people don't really know about them, or how much they'll save, or how similar their light is to normal incandescents. This problem is better fixed with a marketing campaign then a ban. This marketing campaign is already underway, by the likes of Walmart, NPR, GE, and others.

        Economic incentives result in more efficient solutions to problems than command and control. If their goal is to reduce electricity usage, why don't they try to reduce electricity usage, instead of mandating people buy a particular kind of light bulb? The Playstation 3 runs 380 watts, while the Wii only consumes 53 watts. Why not ban the Playstation 3?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869)

          CF bulbs already make economic sense for consumers to buy- they save a whole lot of money over their lifespan.

          Only if you look long-term (years) - and the vast majority of consumers don't. They see that a new CFL bulb costs $4 and a regular old incandescent bulb costs $0.50, then buy the regular bulb and pat themselves on the back for saving $3.50 to buy some chocolate with.

      • by skiingyac (262641) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:59PM (#18085358)
        The problem with the only incentive being that people will saved money after a year or two is that a lot of people either don't care enough or don't have the available cash to spend a few extra bucks on a fluorescent bulb.

        What should be done is tax incandescent bulbs so they are more expensive, and use the tax to discount the price of fluorescents. Then people are encouraged to make the "right" decision, but are not forced.

        The same thing should be done, IMHO, with many other things. For example, 2 liters of soda costs $1 but 1/2 gallon of real 100% juice costs like $3. Many low-fat foods cost more than mostly identical regular-fat foods. Whole-grain bread, rice, etc. is more expensive than super-processed, bleached white bread, rice, etc. A bag of fresh vegetables easily costs $5, and a bag of candy is $2. That should not be the case, since the cost to society is greater than the low price indicates. Someone who only has $1 to spend for their kids' drinks should not have to choose between soda and 95% sugar water. Car manufacturers should not be able to offer gas guzzling pickup trucks & big suvs for less than a more fuel-efficient vehicle because they have too much stock, as if its some surprise that gas prices keep going up and they couldn't predict this before they made them.

        I agree bans are not the answer, but definitely tax the unhealthy, unnecessary, damaging, etc. stuff and rebate the better, but currently more expensive, option.

      • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:14PM (#18085600)
        If you want to control carbon emissions, calculate the marginal externality cost and charge it to people. If they reduce -- great. If they don't -- you can fix their damage. Plus, it lets them pick whichever method is least inconvenient. The market would then incorporate externalities into prices.

        Environmentalists: isn't that solution a LOT better than setting up millions of pages of regulations for how big a house you can have, how fuel-efficient your car can be, who needs to get a prescription for a light bulb, etc?


        Environmentalists who have a gram of economic knowledge know that capturing externalities by converting access to the commons into a market commodity is the most sustainable way of ensuring environmental efficiencies. Once the commons (in this case, the atmosphere) is no longer freely available for dumping, a well-designed market will automatically compute the costs and distribute them appropriately.

        Every environmentalist worthy of the name knows this: if you restrict access to the commons via a market then environmental efficiencies become economic efficiencies, and you do not have to waste enormous resources trying to maintain unsustainable economic regulation.

        This worked extremely well in limiting sulphur dioxide emissions in North America in the late 90's, to the extent that everyone was astonished at how quickly "cap and trade" reduced acid rain. There is no reason to believe that something similar can't work for carbon emissions. The only issue is that like any market it must be free of political interference. When that happens we get disasters like the East Coast fishery in Canada, which has been mismanaged due to political manipulation of catch limits to the point where major commercial stocks have collapsed.

        Treating access to the atmospheric commons as a limited, ever-shrinking, tradable commodity is something that absolutely everyone whose political agenda does not trump reason and responsibility ought to be in favour of.
    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:34PM (#18083582)
      I think that a total ban, as all total bans, is really arrogant and short-sighted. After all, there are many decorative lights that will look simply horrendous with incadescent light bulbs. Aesthetics are important, and forcing people to make their households less appealing isn't going to help anyone live a better life.

      Instead of a ban, let's create an economic pressure. Tax the incadescent light bulbs, so that they are significantly more expensive than compact fluorescents, and use the money for conservation. This way, the shift will be natural, and the people who prefer/need incadescent bulbs, can still purchase them, albeit at 10X+ the current price.
      • by David Horn (772985) <david@p o c k e t g a mer.org> on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:41PM (#18083740) Homepage
        I'm all for it. Our house uses solely compact fluorescent lamps and I'm planning to add low level LED lighting that's on all the time to further cut the bills. The main reason we use the low energy lights is to save electricity, rather than the environmental benefits.

        On a related matter - all our Christmas tree decorations were LED this year, looked a lot better than incandescent and in the UK, at least, sold out well before Christmas.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jrumney (197329)
        Decorative CF bulbs are available, just noone stocks them. The UK government has been making noises about getting people switched to CF, but if you go into any high street store that sells bulbs, the only CFs you can get are the standard ugly double U bulbs that are too long for most fittings. Even the big DIY stores only carry those and the slightly shorter versions (which are still too long to replace the candle bulbs in my fittings). Micro-spirals, decorative candles, GU10 replacements and a whole range
    • by deft (253558) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:38PM (#18083664) Homepage
      "I find the difference in approach interesting, though. The California proposal, judging by the press releases, seems to be about banning sale of incandescents. The Australian proposal is simply upping the energy efficiency standards to the point where incandescent bulbs no longer qualify"

      Thanks man, I'm going to use that one today. "I'm sorry babe, just remember, we're not breaking up, I just upped my standards till you no longer qualify."
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:40PM (#18083710) Homepage Journal
      Maybe not.
      Australia gets almost 100% of it's power from fossil fuels. As far as I know they burn a lot of coal.
      California has a much more diverse energy base than Australia. In fact Australia has the highest carbon output per person in the world last time I checked.
      They are a large country with a low population density. Australia doesn't have a lot in the way of hydroelectric resources and they have not embraced nuclear power. They do have a lot of coal.
    • APPLIANCES (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Phreakiture (547094) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:06PM (#18084226) Homepage

      Okay, so they ban the sale of incandescent bulbs. Fine.

      Now, mind you, I have a house full of CF tubes. Every single bulb socket that can fit one, has one. I have also given presentations on the advantages of CF tubes, including in the presentation what the financial payback is of using these tubes. I believe in this technology greatly.

      That said, what are you supposed to do for your refrigerator (where a CF tube will be at the double disadvantage of being cold and not running an appropriate duty cycle), or your oven (where the temperatures will be prohibitively high)? Will appliance bulbs still be available?

    • by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @03:57PM (#18086360) Journal
      > California actually has a higher population than Australia

      And are all of these Californians and Australians going to bring their used CF bulbs to the hazardous waste disosal facility, as the instructions say to do? NO. Nobody is going to do this. Everyone is going to dump their used CF bulbs in the garbage EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE MERCURY IN THEM.

      Great environmental move California and Australia.
  • It doesn't matter if you are trying to prohibit drinking alcohol or paying someone else for sexual favors, prohibition doesn't work -- all it does is create artificial scarcity which then develops a black market for the product or service. When alcohol was prohibited in the U.S., the mob was created. When incandescent light bulbs are banned, the black market will flourish, unless people see a real reason to switch.

    We tried CFLs in my household and we hated them. We found some random buzzing issues, hated
    • by rwven (663186)
      The difference is, there's no downside here. Incandescent bulbs produce less light per watt, waste far more exlectricity, and they don't last near as long as their flourescent counterparts. Flourescent's are more expensive at the get-go, but that is easily made up for by their low power usage and extremely long life.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by flynt (248848)
        The downside is that my eyes start to bleed when I turn on the flourescent lights that came with my apartment because of the light it's giving off. My ears also panic with the buzzing noise. And I'm supposed to have someone over for dinner with that light above my kitchen table? It feels like an interrogation room with it on. Ugly, ugly, ugly. How can anyone stand it?
      • The difference is, there's no downside here. Incandescent bulbs produce less light per watt, waste far more exlectricity, and they don't last near as long as their flourescent counterparts. Flourescent's are more expensive at the get-go, but that is easily made up for by their low power usage and extremely long life.

        But what about the energy cost of manufacturing? How much energy does the entire manufacturing process for a CFL take compared to an incandescent bulb? I really don't know the answer here, so if somebody has numbers, that'd be great. If it's drastically more for CFLs, then it's just useless switching to them (the energy consumption is shifted to the factory, not actually reduced). If it's truly less, then that part at least is a real benefit.

        Unfortunately, there's also the environmental cost, as I see

        • Unfortunately, there's also the environmental cost, as I see the probability of these being recycled at a high rate as a near-zero probability concept. People only do it with Cans because of the deposit. You'd NEED that to have it happen here, and even then plenty of mercury will be going into landfills. It'd be interesting to me to know what the current rate is with all types of fluorescent bulbs.

          1) People don't need a 'deposit' to recycle. In my area (Fairfax, VA), the trash company just has an extra
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zippthorne (748122)
        My wasteful halogens on a one-minute motion sensor outside use a lot less energy than the fluorescents that would replace them since the fluorescent would have to be on all the time rather than a cumulative total of about ten minutes a night.

        Similarly with bathroom lights.

        CFLs are good, and we should all use them. But we shouldn't use them stupidly as if they're some kind of magic energy-reducing talisman.
    • LED's (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DogDude (805747)
      Your complaints about compact fluorescents are well-founded. Although, in reality, CF's will be replaced by much more efficient, and much prettier-light-producing, and even longer lasting LED's within the decade.
    • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:31PM (#18083524)
      When incandescent light bulbs are banned, the black market will flourish

      I dont think that would happen... if stores are forced to sell only non-incandescent bulbs, that's what the majority of people will buy, if for no other reason than out of convenience.

      How much effort are you willing to put into finding black market light bulbs?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by AutopsyReport (856852)
        Yeah, this guy is an idiot. Who wants black light bulbs?!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jandrese (485)
        There are some areas where CFLs are just plain not appropriate however, like in Ovens and Refrigerators. That's why blanket bans on all Incandescent bulbs are not a good idea.
    • by hxnwix (652290)
      I don't know about you, but I for one don't drink lightbulbs. Nor do I find them addictive. Lightbulb fetishes are also rather danergous - sure, I've heard about people getting the bulb up there without any trouble, but how do you get it back out? What if you sit down?

      Look, I understand what you are saying, but seriously. One way or the other, you need help.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ... the ancillary effect of the incandescent -- namely, heat.

      They're also used as an inexpensive heating element for things like battery houses and pump houses (to keep the tanks and pipes from freezing and the batteries at a temperature where they operate efficiently) in rural areas with cold climates. A 60 watt bulb on a thermostat will keep an insulated pumphouse above freezing in subzero weather. (Of course you use more than one for when they burn out...)

      More roadblocks for people trying alternative e
    • by garcia (6573)
      We tried CFLs in my household and we hated them. We found some random buzzing issues, hated the color of our walls and furniture, and didn't really see a huge savings over incandescent because we turn off lights we don't use (and we use home automation in the bathroom and bedroom).

      I usually agree with you on many things and others I think you're a wacko. In this particular case, while I agree with you about the buzzing and color issues, I think you're a wacko to believe that home automation and self-saving
    • but I assume that mercury is disposed of properly, unlike the mercury that is in your CFL bulb and ends up in the trash Actually that mercury is spewed out into the atmosphere http://www.epa.gov/oar/mercuryrule/basic.htm [epa.gov] Since air contamination causes more health problems than ground contamination, I don't think mercury is much of an issue.
    • by slim (1652)

      The other two problems with the CFLs is the ugly light they give off (although it is getting better), and how few of them fit into the lamps I have in my household. I also can't dim them (there are dimmable units now, I've heard), which we utilize all the time for effect, especially when watching movies or for social parties we host.

      Plus the time they take to reach their steady on state. I can't think of a room in my house where I don't, reasonably often, need to switch on a light for 10 seconds then switch it off again. With a CFL (unless they've improved dramatically since I last checked) you're in half-light for that time.

    • I'll take a prop bet with anyone here that the black market of light bulbs in Australia after 2010 will be very profitable -- and very easy to maintain.
      I'll take a prop bet that I'll be making TONS OF PROFIT selling incadescent light bulbs to Australians in dire in need!

      1. Go to Home Depot
      2. Buy contractor cases of incandescent light bulbs
      3. Open account on Ebay
      4. ???
      5. PROFIT!!!
    • I'm sure it will work in the short run, but I wonder who is really behind this. It could be Phillips, who is sure to gain a huge profit from the mandate.

      Exactly the right kind of thinking: follow the money. The money will always lead you to the actual culprit.
    • by Stile 65 (722451)
      I agree that prohibition in general is not the way to go. However, I disagree that this will be as dire as you expect.

      CFLs do suck to some extent. This law, and the proposed law in CA, may increase the incentive to develop home lighting based on LEDs instead. LEDs use even less energy than CFLs for the same level of light output, and the light is consistent, instant, and does not flicker due to rectification/smoothing of the current to (usually) 12VDC. LEDs also last longer than CFLs. The technology is
  • by rlp (11898) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:26PM (#18083452)
    Hope they're putting a big recycling effort in place for used compact fluorescent bulbs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stormx2 (1003260)
      Were you listening to the same radio station I was last night?

      The issue is that they are small and discreet enough for most people to throw in the trash. Workers will easily get mercury on em, and the mercury will seep into the ground, which won't be very good. That stuff as a habit of giving everything cancer!

      They spoke to a guy who ran the only recycling business for these things in a state (I can't remember which). He basically said people aren't natural recyclers, and the issue with the new bulb
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:54PM (#18083978)
        Ironically, a regular incandescent light bulb actually releases much more mercury into the environment than a CFL. CFLs prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health by reducing energy demand at the power plant. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in Michigan to produce electricity. A CFL uses up to 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts up to 10 times longer. A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

        Source: USEPA 'Fact Sheet: Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps CFLs', 2003
  • If they outlawed me.
  • Will do little (Score:5, Interesting)

    by llZENll (545605) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:32PM (#18083544)
    Austrialia will do little to curb overall output, North America and Western Europe are the problems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_Emission _by_Region.png [wikipedia.org]

    I also wonder what the environmental manufacturing cost of a CFL vs a plain lightbulb is.
  • Why doesn't the Australian government mandate the use of candles? They use no electricity and have little impact on the environment. Brilliant!

    gasmonso

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

    • by rlp (11898)
      > Why doesn't the Australian government mandate the use of candles?

      Or whale oil lamps
  • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:33PM (#18083576)
    Only Aussies will have incandescent bulbs.
  • The new bulbs cost more because they cost more to make. Costing more to make means it takes more resources or rarer resources. In the long run this is not sustainable.

    Plus my experience with these bulbs is that they burn out almost twice as fast as regular bulbs.

    All this will do is benefit certain bulb makers and their suppliers and will cost the public millions in the long run.
  • by glindsey (73730) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:34PM (#18083596)
    Thereby making almost any dimmer switch entirely useless, as well as forcing people to use CFLs in dimmer circuits that could damage them.

    Brilliant, guys.
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:35PM (#18083600)
    "Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception. They feel Australia should sign on to the Kyoto protocol first."

    So Australia does something concrete, something difficult, by itself instead of signing on to a flawed international agreement with limited enforceability. And "environmental groups" are upset.

    I'm shocked, I say! Shocked!
    • by mypalmike (454265) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:46PM (#18083806) Homepage
      It's very misleading for the summary to claim that, "Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception." The article doesn't mention this. In fact, the article interviews a guy from an environmental group who is very happy with it:

      Founder of environment group Planet Ark, Jon Dee, said he had been working with Mr Turnbull's predecessor, Ian Campbell, and lighting company Phillips on the idea since late last year... "The fact that the Government is committing to this idea is absolutely fantastic."
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:35PM (#18083610)
    Tax high wattage bulbs like 100W and up.
    Better yet, establish a lumens per watt minimum and tax accordingly.
    That way you don't force people away from certain technology, just the inefficent ones.

    While they're at it, do the same for air conditioners.
  • This will do some good to energy consumption, but the jury is out as far as the overall environmental impact is concerned. The high frequency fluorescents contain all kind of environmentally unpleasant stuff in them (rare earth metals as well as electronic circuitry from the board). Personally, I do not like the idea of simply chucking them in the bin once they fail. So does Australia also intend to mandate their recycling?

    Also, what are people with dimmers going to do?
  • by bear_phillips (165929) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:40PM (#18083720) Homepage
    A tax on incandescnt bulbs would be better. 90% of the lights in my house or CFL. But a few lights are incandescent. Those lights have the fancy shaped bulbs. As a kid I used incandescent bulbs to keep the chickens warm in the winter.There are a lot of niche areas where CFLs make no sense. Don't outlaw incandescents, just tax them more. Then you get the energy savings and the minority of people that need incandescents can still legally get them.
  • by solios (53048) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @01:46PM (#18083830) Homepage
    I tried CF bulbs a couple of years ago, for about three months. Three months (closer to four) is how long it took every CF bulb in the house to stop working. These things are supposed to last longer than regular light bulbs (LASTS OVER FIVE YEARS!!!!1 the packaging said) - but in my experience, they were vastly more likely to die during a power surge, power outage, or other form of "electrical event" than traditional bulbs.

    Of course, I rent a Fight Club house with old wiring, but that doesn't change the fact that the rest of my equipment (oldskool light bulbs, half a dozen computers, alarm clock, etc) is still plugging away. But I can't exactly put the ceiling fixtures on a surge protector. :P

    So until I hear for sure that CFs will actually last on a power grid that looks more like an EKG than a nice straight line, I'm sticking with the older technology - I'd rather spend five bucks a year on lightbulbs than twenty bucks a month.

    As for the OMG UR ELECTRIK BILLZ!! - I run my lights for about two hours a day, tops. Maybe four. I don't really live in my house, so the utility difference is nill.
    • But I can't exactly put the ceiling fixtures on a surge protector

      Actually, you can. When I had my fuse panel replaced with circuit breakers, I had them install whole-house surge supression. (they're installed in two of the circuit breaker slots, one for each leg)

      There are also suppressors that don't go in the circuit panel [smarthome.com]

      Either way, you're going to need an electrician, but it is possible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by proxima (165692)

      I tried CF bulbs a couple of years ago, for about three months. Three months (closer to four) is how long it took every CF bulb in the house to stop working. These things are supposed to last longer than regular light bulbs (LASTS OVER FIVE YEARS!!!!1 the packaging said) - but in my experience, they were vastly more likely to die during a power surge, power outage, or other form of "electrical event" than traditional bulbs.

      Of course, I rent a Fight Club house with old wiring, but that doesn't change the fac

  • OneBillionBulbs.com (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jfoster100 (1046350) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:37PM (#18084854)
    If you like the idea of replacing incandescents with compact fluorecent bulbs, you might want to take a look at http://onebillionbulbs.com/ [onebillionbulbs.com]. They are running a site that demonstrates the aggregate impact of light bulb replacements by groups and individuals.
  • by stokessd (89903) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:44PM (#18087090) Homepage

    There's a lot of incandescent bulbs that can't be replaced with CF. For example, the bulb in your oven, that sucker gets HOT. How about those little night-light style bulbs in the "water in the door" of many refrigerators? Just outlawing bulbs is short-sighted and will cause problems. Don't forget all those incandescent bulbs in cars, there's a bunch of them in there. I'd love to see a CF replacement for the dome light.

    I also find it ironic, that other technologies that use lots of power aren't outlawed. There's lots of audio freaks that still use vacuum tubes. I've been known to weld metal which isn't very energy efficient, especially when I make something that sucks and I'll probably throw away.

    The answer to this isn't to outlaw things, but to use economic means to change behavior. Make electricity cost more and people will treat it as a more precious resource. If gasoline was $5 a gallon instead of $2, I'd think twice before driving sometimes.

    I lived in New Mexico a couple years ago, and they had lots of "save water" campaigns. Yet water was very cheap. Certainly a mixed message. I can see not wanting to raise the price of such a critical resource, but it could be done in a tiered fashion, such that the normal amount needed was cheap, but more than that gets expensive in a hurry.

    Sheldon
       

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