Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bright Ideas

Legislators in Connecticut and California are considering a ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs. While I find the idea of legislating common sense to be somewhat unpalatable, this New Haven Register Editorial's criticism of compact fluorescent lights is just plain wrong. CFLs are not more expensive than incandescent bulbs. They are much, much cheaper. Here's some very simple math to show exactly how much cheaper:

bulb cost: $1.00
bulb life: 8,000 hrs
power req'd: 13 W = .013 KW
cost of 1 KWh: .192 $/KWh
cost over 8000 hours: $1.00 + .013X.192X8000 = $21

bulb cost: $0.25
bulb life: 1000 hours
power req'd: 60 W = .060 KW
cost of 1 KWh: .192 $/KWh
lifetime cost: $.25 + .060X.192X1000 = $11.77
cost over 8000 hrs: 8 X 11.77 = $94.16
You save $0.75 when you buy an incandescent bulb but then go on to lose $73.00 for each bulb you change. You can make back the extra cost of the CFL in less than 3.5 days of continuous use. Not only that, but CFLs are cooler so they significantly reduce cooling bills in the summer. Here we have a mass-produced technology that not only conserves energy -- it saves the consumer money. Perhaps one of the reasons legislation like this comes up is because of faulty, misleading representation in editorials from newspapers like the New Haven Register.

Click here for a list of local places that offer discounted CFL bulbs @ about $1.00 each.


DisNoir36 said...

I've been hearing a bit about LED bulbs. Do you know anything about them and the potential cost savings as opposed to CFL bulbs?

Tim White said...

interesting post... but getting people to think in terms of "lifecycle costs," instead of "first costs" isn't easy.

Do you have an email address?