The Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics, much as Democrats and “public interest” environmental groups would love for the public to believe it does. And that apparently anyone who raises serious and highly documented concerns over the multiple and dangerous health hazards surrounding these bulbs, as well as reveals their actual energy inefficiency, must somehow be in the “camp” of the Republicans, or a right wing fanatic— which could not be further from the truth.
This writer happens to be as critical of the fraudulent policies of the Republicans as he is of the fraudulent policies of the Democrats, or those of the Libertarians or Green Party when applicable, and is only interested in the facts and the truth to protect his health (and the environment’s), and that of others who also value their health, and subsequently their life, above any political fanaticism of one stripe or another.
FACT: Regular light bulbs DO NOT CAUSE global warming (CFLs DO NOT PREVENT IT)
The case of getting rid of regular light bulbs (standard incandescent bulbs) by labeling them as a significant cause of global warming is flat out FRAUD. And this is completely backed up by the FACTS, and not the public relations “factoids” delivered by the supporters of their replacement— highly dangerous, as well as distinctly ENERGY INEFFICIENT, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
Aside from the multiple, and outrageously ignored, direct and serious adverse health risks associated with chronic exposure to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), their much touted energy efficiency— as an alleged means of decreasing electrical energy use and decreasing global warming conditions— has been flat out and fraudulently distorted.
These heavily promoted “energy efficient” light bulbs have been forced on the public (and regular standard incandescent bulbs forcibly removed from the market) to allow the real culprits of global warming conditions— miscellaneous and inessential HIGH-TECH PRODUCT overproduction, including cell phones, wireless and computer gadgetry and gaming accessories— and their massive electrical energy required to produce (and to operate, charge, etc.) to continue to do business as usual, while their supporters, like Al Gore, become obscenely wealthy while giving lip service to the real global warming issues.
Forcing CFLs on the public is backed by a totally distorted and manipulated global warming reducing argument, designed to make the lighting industry and the high-tech industry increasingly rich, while continuing to support the totally unsustainable trend of continually getting rid of biologically safe products and replacing them with biologically UNSAFE high-tech alternatives. Products that continue to build up an economy on a house of cards construction that steadily degrades and destroys the public’s health (from unregulated exposure to such products) AND the environment’s real stability.
FRAUD: CFLs are 10 times more energy efficient in use than regular light bulbs
One of the most overrated claims of CFLs is that they last 10,000 hours versus 1,000 hours for a similar wattage regular standard incandescent light bulb. This is TOTALLY FALSE.
This distorted claim is based ONLY upon the THEORETICAL USE of CFLs, and NOT their actual REAL LIFE USE.
For a CFL bulb to last 10,000 hours, it would have to operate at a steady and sustained 105º Centigrade (221º Fahrenheit) to sustain the perfect theoretical operating temperature of its internal electronics.
This DOES NOT happen in the real use of these bulbs.
The actual temperature that the internal electrical circuitry— hidden from view within the base of the bulb— operates at is at, or above, 130º C (266º F).
AND FOR EVERY 10º CELSIUS RISE IN TEMPERATURE, THE EFFICIENCY DECREASES BY 50%.
Operating at 115º C— 10° C over its theoretical optimal temperature of 105° C— drops the CFL’s efficiency down to 5,000 hours, operating at 125º C drops its efficiency down another 50% to 2,500 hours, and operating at 130º C (the lowest average temperature), drops its efficiency down to 1,875 hours, or to LESS THAN 20 PERCENT of its claimed 10,000 hours.
This information is provided by one of the world’s leading experts in power electronics for electronic ballasts systems used in tubular and compact fluorescent lights— Ron Hui, Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London, and currently Chair Professor of Electronic Engineering and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong.
The lighting industry has all but admitted to its own exaggeration of the lifespan of CFLs (and LEDs), because it lobbied the 2007 energy bill— which set in the motion the ban of standard incandescent bulbs starting in 2012— to allow “replacement bulbs,” CFLs and LEDs, to have minimum life spans of 1000 hours.
While, additionally, the standard incandescent 1,000 hour lifespan has been artificially kept in check at this low level since the 1920s by the, still active, formation of an international cartel of the world’s largest lighting manufactures, including General Electric, Philips, and Osram. Over the decades, this powerful monopoly has pressured other light bulb manufacturers with heavy fines and politically favorable taxes to not produce longer lasting standard incandescent bulbs, which have easily lasted 2,500 hours and 5,000 hours. With some standard incandescent bulbs having lasted for decades. All motivated to manipulate the market surrounding a small grossing product to generate the most profit, regardless of the impact on the public’s best interests, and allowed to do so under the watchful eye of U.S and international regulatory agencies.
The ban of standard incandescent bulbs was simply the result of fraudulent lobbying by “public interest” environmental groups to falsely label standard incandescent bulbs as a major impact on global warming (which they are not— high-tech products, including CFLs, are), and which was quickly picked up on by the lighting industry which saw a golden opportunity to get rid of low profiting standard incandescent bulbs, to make $billions in short-term windfall profits from vastly more expensive CFLs and LEDs and Halogens, while “greenwashing” their profit motivations as alleged environmental concerns.
Supporting this alleged environmental concern are the actions of one of those major lighting conglomerates, General Electric (GE), which is one of the top environmental polluter in the U.S., being involved in roughly 100 Superfund pollution sites across the country — the largest environmental pollution sites categorized by the EPA. As well as being the source of one of the largest Superfund pollution sites in the U.S.— a multi-mile stretch of New York’s Hudson River that GE plants have polluted for decades with roughly one million pounds of toxic PCB chemical runoff.
Additionally, the average CFL is theoretically rated at roughly 7,000 hours. Meaning, its actual efficiency rating in use drops down to 1,300 hours, versus 1,000 hours of a regular light bulb. Allowing it to last only five weeks longer than a similar standard incandescent bulb, if both are used 8 hours a day.
And this is under ideal working conditions of a CFL, which does not factor in its loss of efficiency from multiple “on” “off” flipping of the light switch.
Multiple on/off switching adversely affects the efficiency of the CFL, because the bulb has to electrically and chemically “warm up” each time to produce light, putting stress on its internal electrical components. Unlike a regular light bulb, which reaches full-strength light immediately when turned on.
The reason for all this is that unlike a standard incandescent bulb— which has a simple tungsten metal filament that heats up as 60Hz household electrical current passes through it to produce a heat based light (that has a graduated and blended light spectrum like sunlight, only weighted in the red, orange and yellow light wavelengths)— a CFL has a complicated series of electrical circuitry within the plastic base of the bulb that increases the incoming 60Hz electrical current to 20,000Hz to 100,000 Hz for the fluorescent light to function.
Raising the incoming 60Hz current to 20,000Hz to 100,000Hz within the CFL is needed to electrically excite the mercury vapor in the bulb’s upper glass spiral compartment, which THEN releases UVC radiation, which THEN electrically excites the weakly radioactive blue, green and red phosphorous chemicals painted along the bulb’s inner service, which THEN emits fluorescent light, at only the blue, green and red wavelengths, which together give the “appearance” of white light.
And in the process of creating high temperatures (266° F) within the complex electrical circuitry of a CFL, one of its key electrical components— the electrolytic capacitor that holds and sustains the electric charge— fails and burns out. This weak electrical link is what usually causes the CFL to prematurely fail. And when the electrolytic capacitor burns out, it usually renders the rest of the electrical circuitry useless for recycling.
While to guard against overheating in CFLs— not a factor in regular light bulbs— carcinogenic fire retardant chemicals are required to coat the electrical circuitry of CFLs, which MIGRATE OUT of these bulbs in vapor form during their normal operation, and can be inhaled by the nearby user.
Additionally, all the lighting industry had to do to double the lifespan of a regular incandescent light bulb from 1,000 hours to 2,000 hours was to double the width of the tungsten filament. An extremely minor cost, which would have cost the consumer about 10cents more per bulb. But which would have cost the lighting industry $millions in consumer savings not needlessly buying light bulbs that were designed by the lighting industry to prematurely fail.
FACT: CFLs require, at minimum, 6 to 10 TIMES MORE electrical energy to produce than standard incandescent light bulbs
“LIFE CYCLE ANAYLSES” are calculations that determine the total energy costs needed to produce a product— from raw material to the manufacturing of the product’s components.
A highly regarded Danish study from the Technical University of Denmark: Life Cycle Analysis of Integral Compact Fluorescent Lamps versus Incandescent Lamps, Energy and Emissions, by Annette Gydesen and Dorte Maimann, calculated the electrical energy needed to produce a typical CFL to be 1.7 kilowatt-hours, compared to 0.3 kilowatt-hours required to produce a standard 60 watt standard incandescent light bulb.
Meaning, the CFL drew nearly 6 TIMES MORE ELECTRICAL ENERGY to produce than a comparative regular light bulb.
Meanwhile, a German life cycle energy analysis noted by the Danish researchers, also comparing CFLs to standard incandescent bulbs, gave two additional results: 1.4 kilowatt-hours for a CFL versus 0.15 kilowatt-hours for a standard incandescent bulb, and 1.8 kilowatt-hours for a CFL versus 0.11 for a standard incandescent bulb.
These results showed a CFL requiring either 9 TIMES OR 16 TIMES MORE electrical energy to produce as a similar regular standard incandescent light bulb.
These highly significant major electrical energy draws during production, which TOTALLY NEGATE any electrical energy savings advantage claimed by CFLs during their use, is delivered to CFL production plants (in China and India) overwhelmingly by COAL BURING POWER PLANTS, which emit the by-product Carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, and INCREASES the very global warming conditions that CFLs were allegedly designed to reduce.
FRAUD: CFLs draw far less energy than regular light bulbs
Aside from the just unmentioned MAJOR ENERGY COST of producing a CFL bulb, which totally wipes out any energy saving advantage of these bulbs over regular standard incandescent bulbs, CFLs have been continually praised for generating “less heat” than regular light bulbs, and “implying” that the saved heat is being translated into saved electrical energy. This is one more DISTORTION of the facts.
The general comparison is that 90% of electrical energy delivered to a standard incandescent bulb goes to heat and 10% goes to providing light, versus 75% of electrical energy delivered to CFLs goes to heat and 25% goes to providing light.
BUT, this comparison DOES NOT take into consideration the high electrical energy cost to produce CFLs, the flawed performance of the bulbs as a result of their complex electrical circuitry, AND their poor use of incoming electricity (see below).
As opposed to CFLs, which generate light through a sequence of chemical and manipulated electrical currents to create abnormal light (only blue, green, and red wavelengths that combine to appear as “white light”), regular light bulbs produce higher heat in the generation of light— but without a manipulated chemical or electrical current process. This is a heat based light very similar to the sun, and which is not only HEALTHY for the individual (particularly at night), but also very COST EFFECTIVE to the electrical grid system.
The claim of lower heat generated by CFLs, and their associated claim of electrical energy efficiency, FAILS TO CONSIDER an extremely important electrical component called the POWER FACTOR— which determines how EFFICIENTLY the electricity delivered to the bulb is used.
A regular standard incandescent light bulb simply draws in the 60Hz house current and passes it through its metal tungsten filament which heats up to produce light, and then passes this current back out of the bulb UNCHANGED and UNALTERED, returning the current undisturbed back to the electrical power supply— the electrical grid system.
This is utilizing efficiently 100% of the electrical power delivered to the standard incandescent light bulb— translating into a perfect power factor of 1.0.
CFLs work in a totally different manner.
Because CFLs BREAK UP the incoming 60Hz current digitally, to manipulate it to the 20,000Hz to 100,000Hz range required to produce fluorescent light in the bulb, the current leaving the CFL is similarly DISTORTED in 20,000Hz and 100,000Hz transient voltage spikes (also known as “dirty electricity”), which then travel along the wiring that WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO CARRY such high current.
The addition of these abnormal currents on the wiring puts multiple STRESSES on multiple aspects of the electrical grid system, including: transmission lines, transformers, alternators, generators, and switchgear. Stresses which DO NOT EXIST in standard incandescent lighting use. And stresses which TRANSLATE INTO electrical energy being LOST from the electrical grid system with CFL use.
And similar energy losses occur with nearly all high-tech plug-in devises, such as cell phone chargers and computers, which similarly alter the incoming 60 Hz house current into digital current pulses to run the complex electrical circuitries in these electrical devices, creating additional “dirty electricity” that then leaves these devises and rides along the house or business electrical wiring to continue on throughout the entire electrical grid system, adversely affecting it, as do CFLs.
And that lost electrical energy, resulting from “dirty electricity” sources, MUST BE REPLACED by the power stations, which requires additional burning of fossil fuels, and increased emission of CO2 into the atmosphere impacting global warming conditions.
As a result, unlike standard incandescent bulbs which have a perfect power factor of 1.0, CFLs have an extremely poor power factor of around 0.5.
This translates into CFLs INEFFICIENTLY using the electricity delivered to them— leading to an electrical current DEFICIT of nearly 50%, which is NOT FACTORED INTO a CFL’s “efficiency rating.” Or in other words, a rated 15 watt CFL is actually using about 30 watts (or 30VA, Volts X Amperes) of electrical power.
This significant, UNMENTIONED, LOST ELECTRICITY from the electrical grid system, as a result of the lower power factor created by CFLs, seriously undermines their over-exaggerated electrical energy efficiency claims— combined with their high electrical energy to produce and their reduced efficiency during use due to their complex internal electrical circuitry.
And the manufactures of CFLs know all about the poor electrical power factor of CFLs, and of the resultant CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere as a result of making up the electrical deficit created by the inefficient power factor. And the lighting industry knows all about this. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) that are aggressively promoting these bulbs also know all about this. And all of them choose to REMAIN SILENT and hide this fact from the public.
Additional health hazards of dirty electricity
Aside from the stresses on the electrical grid system, the increasing introduction of “dirty electricity”— either directly emitted from CFLs and by other high-tech electronic devices or— traveling on the household and commercial 60Hz wiring, within the walls of homes and businesses, can create serious adverse health hazards, as the high voltage transients are pushed off the wiring (since the wiring was not designed to contain them) and can penetrate the wall and enter anyone (or pet) that is grounded in the nearby vicinity (standing, or with feet touching the floor).
And these adverse health effects from dirty electricity have been documented for the last decade, particularly by Magda Havas, Professor of Environmental Studies out of Trent University, in Ontario, Canada, whose case studies have clearly shown a wide range of adverse health effects impacting diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and asthma, among other, general, health problems.
An excellent and short overview book on the subject is Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization (2010), by one of the country’s most renowned and knowledgeable epidemiologists and experts on the subject, Dr. Samuel Milham. In this very accessible book (written for a layperson without a scientific background), Dr. Milham summarizes dozens of research studies he has published since the 1960s that have shown the extensive adverse human health impacts from chronic exposure to a wide range of manmade electromagnetic radiation sources— from 60Hz to the microwave range used in cell phone and wireless frequencies.
Included in the book is an overview of one of Milham’s recently published studies showing the cancer risk in teachers exposed to dirty electricity in classrooms, “A new electromagnetic exposure metric: high frequency voltage transients associated with increased cancer incidences in teachers in a California school”, published in 2008 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine — “dirty electricity” of the same kind that will only be increased by the mass use of CFLs
FRAUD: Light bulb use in general is adding a significant factor to global warming conditions
First of all, ALL INCANDESCENT LIGHTING IN THE UNITED STATES only accounts for 3.6% of the total electrical energy use of the country.
And this figure is corroborated across the world in every other nation, with averages of around 2% to 4%.
And if ALL standard incandescent bulbs were replaced by CFLs, or with any other alternative light source, this would only reduce the electrical energy use by around 1%. Leaving well over 97% to 98% of electrical energy use and its drain unaccounted for— the production of which continues to emit Carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, and continues to impact global warming conditions.
The completely insignificant impact of light bulb use in adding to global warming conditions is also proved by the most recent reassessment of global warming conditions, in 2013– 5 years after the world-wide, step-like ban of all incandescent light bulbs. In 2013, CO2 emissions reached the highest level ever. And there were no more incandescent light bulb use to blame for the milestone rise.
Specifically left untouched in the global warming problem is the MAJOR CULPRIT of non-essential electrical energy use— INESSENTIAL HIGH-TECH PRODUCTS— which are allowed to continue to wreak havoc on the integrity of the atmosphere through the high levels of global warming CO2 gases released as a result of their massive electrical energy needs, and particularly by their extremely high energy needs required for production.
Also completely ignored is the FACT that standard incandescent lighting use in the U.S. has REMAINED STABLE AND UNCHANGED SINCE 1980.
What has DRAMATICALLY RISEN, from 1980 until the present, has been the steady rise of miscellaneous and inessential high-tech products and their increasing drain on residential and commercial energy use.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) own 2005 study shows that lighting, as a result of non-production electrical energy use in both residential and commercial properties, has REMAINED THE SAME since 1980, at 18%.
While a “Consumer Guide to Home Energy” study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimated lighting use to be about 5-10% of residential electrical energy use.
According to the DOE’s 18% lighting use study, the average home uses about 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day. That would translate into 5.4 kilowatt-hours a day being used for lighting, or nine 75watt bulbs being used 8 hours a day.
If a home used eight to ten 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs for 8 hours a day, this would translate into 3 to 4 kilowatt-hours, and roughly the 10% lighting draw of residential electricity cited by the ACEEE study.
These numbers are highly significant, because MISCELLANEOUS, NON-ESSENTIAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES including: high definition and digital televisions, computers and related software systems, video game power sources, chargers of cell phones and related wireless devices, small home appliances and small plug-ins like air-fresheners, etc. jumped from drawing 18% of residential electricity in 1980, to drawing 28% of residential electricity in 2005.
During this 25 year period, miscellaneous, non-essential electronic devices drew 50% MORE electrical energy than ESSENTIAL LIGHTING.
And that is just the beginning of the trend.
The DOE study estimated steady increases of electrical drain from miscellaneous and non-essential electronic devices to reach 34% by 2015— WHILE LIGHTING USE IS ESTIMATED TO REMAIN THE SAME at 18%. This means high-tech electronics will draw 90% MORE ELECTRICAL ENERGY than essential lighting.
And the trend is only being allowed and encouraged to continue, with total disregard to its impact on global warming— with electrical consumption of high-tech electronics expecting to double by 2022 and to triple by 2030, while the energy consumption from lighting remains virtually the same as today.
And this only considers the “USER PHASE” of high-tech electronics, and not the massive drain caused by high-tech electronics PRODUCTION.
FACT: High-tech production drains by far THE MOST electrical energy, and contributes by far THE MOST to global warming conditions
For most of the public the trend of miniaturization of products probably sounds like a good idea— reduce the amount of material going into a product, and subsequently reduce the amount of electrical energy required to produce it (supplied by coal burning power plants), and thereby lessen CO2 emissions as a by-product and the accompanying global warming trend.
The problem is that the EXACT OPPOSITE happens.
Product miniaturization— the current, aggressively promoted industry trend— is EXTREMELY ENERGY DRAINING, which directly translates into INCREASED GLOBAL WARMING TRENDS.
Again, “life cycle analysis” of products tells the FACTS about what is going on.
Life cycle analysis describes how much electrical energy in kilowatt-hours is needed to produce 1kg (1000grams) of product.
1kg of conventional products— products made of plastics and metals— requires roughly 0.28 to 2.8 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy to produce.
This relatively minor drain in electrical energy makes miniaturizing conventional products— as an argument for decreasing electrical energy use and ensuing global warming conditions— totally irrelevant.
What is highly relevant, however, is when these electrical energy costs are compared to the electrical energy cost of production of high-tech electronics involved in computers and cell phones, and the newest nanotechnology— technology that is working at the billionth of the gram level, and which is at the forefront of the trend of high-tech product miniaturization.
For 1kg of these high-tech products, it takes roughly 280 KILOWATT-HOURS to 28,000 KILOWATT-HOURS of electrical energy to produce.
That is from 1,000 to 100,000 TIMES the electrical energy required to produce an identical amount of conventional products. And at least 50% of that electrical energy is coming from electricity produced from coal-burning power plants, and is subsequently emitting CO2 into the atmosphere and impacting global warming conditions.
This MASSIVE ENERGY COST required to produce these miniaturized, electrical circuitry dense, high-tech products is what is causing the major impact on global warming today.
Looking at the energy cost of the microchip, and its associated micro-electrical circuitry connections, clearly illustrates the real energy problems NOT MENTIONED in the global warming issue.
These 2 gram (.002kg) “chips,” about a half an inch in diameter and upon which millions of micro-electrical circuitries can be placed, are the building blocks of computers, cell phones, etc.
Basic modern computers— and not even the current, much more energy draining, computer technology which employs graphic processing units to produce the 3-D graphics “essential” for video streaming, video games, etc.— require, on average, between 18 to 36 2-gram microchips for just the computer’s “memory” component.
This translates into 360 to 720 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy use— or THOUSANDS OF TIMES the electrical energy required to produce an equivalent conventional product.
To put this huge electrical drain— of just one aspect of the computer (its memory)— into perspective, this is over 10 to 20 times the daily energy use of 30 kilowatt-hours of the average home.
Or stated another way, the amount of energy required to produce 18 to 36 microchips for one computer could run the electricity in the average home for at least 10 to 20 days.
Consider also the semi-conductor plants that produce the computers and cell phones and other wireless high-tech gadgetry that have become so “indispensible” today.
Because of the need for a completely dust-free environment for microchip and advanced electronic circuitry board construction, these facilities require super advanced air filtration units to filter out any dust, which in turn are highly electrical energy draining to operate.
The average electrical drain of running these facilities, for ONE DAY, is 240,000 KILOWATT-HOURS.
This amount of electrical energy can supply the DAILY ENERGY USE OF 8,000 AVERAGE HOMES— according to the DOE’s own studies.
ADDITONAL COSTS of high-tech production
In addition, because of the extremely dangerous chemicals used in high-tech electronic production, an incredible 2 to 5 MILLION GALLONS of water PER DAY are needed to treat the chemicals at the average semi-conductor plant, requiring additional electrical energy drain.
Cell phones also use high-tech electronics and microchips to function, and, as a result, their electrical energy cost of production is also very high compared to conventional products— and are also significantly adding to global warming conditions.
While irresponsibly adding to cell phones’ significant impact on global warming is the virtual, across-the-board, industry-followed trend of premature obsolescence of its products, to push a false economy by marketing unneeded products to the public.
There are over 400 different cell phones models to choose from in the United States alone.
Most of these are used for only 18 months and then are “upgraded.” Not because they break down, but because the telecommunications industry, and its billion dollar-a-year advertizing arm, encourages the public— hourly in television ads— to continually replace its perfectly working present technology to sustain totally unrealistic and ever increasing corporate profit expectations, no matter how saturated the commercial market becomes.
And of the hundreds of millions of cell phones that are deposited in U.S. landfills each year, only a tiny percentage are re-sold as “re-used” cell phones across the world— leaving the rest to leach their highly toxic chemical components into the ground and water sources.
This unchecked, and escalating, high-tech electronics trend is the real cause of global warming, while the completely insignificant impact of regular light bulb use adding to global warming is tossed up as a convenient, and intentionally distracting, scapegoat.
And spearheading this move are those that are capitalizing the most off high technology, or other related technologies, regardless of any accompanying public health hazards, or environmental hazards, whether on the ground or in the atmosphere.
End Part 1
See continuation in Part 2:
“FRAUD: Regular light bulbs CAUSE global warming (CFLs PREVENT IT) Part 2” at: http://pingroof.com/article/fraud-regular-light-bulbs-cause-global-warming-cfls-prevent-it-part-2
And also the continuing 4 part series on CFL health hazards:
“Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Health Hazards, Pt 1: Mercury Vapor”
“Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Hazards: The UVC Hazard, Pt2″
“Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs): Blue Wavelength Light and Cancer Risk, Pt 3”