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OtleyLad

Low Energy light bulbs worse than useless?

As far as I understand it the main reason 'old' light bulbs are inefficient is that they create quite a bit of heat at the same time as light.

If this is the case, in an insulated house, using space heating controlled by a thermostat, the 'waste' heat from the light bulbs simply means the heating switches off earlier. So the net effect is zero!

As 'energy saving' light bulbs are more complex and energy intensive to produce, the overall effect of installing and using them could be a greater consumption of energy!

Can anyone prove or disprove this?
jema

Well presumably the heat is only on in a house a lot less of the time over the year as a whole than the light would be on.
sean

Using electricity to heat space is a pretty poor idea anyway.
Jonnyboy

Couple of things spring to mind

1. not all houses are well insulated
2. The heat is generated in the wrong place, I don't know how much that convection currents would mitigate that.
Jamanda

Plus burning gas (or coal or oil or wood) in a boiler to heat your house is more efficient than burning it in a power station to generated electricity which then has to be transferred along cables to your house loosing energy along the way.
Jonnyboy

Another driver is that this is the only way we can improve efficiency. We can't change the production process, but by buying the bulbs we ultimately help the produces improve the production processes.

There is work being done on improving the output of led bulbs that has shown a significant improvement recently. Without existing consumer demand for low energy bulbs it can be argued that the driver for that research may not exist, or be less prioritised.
cab

Re: Low Energy light bulbs worse than useless?

OtleyLad wrote:

Can anyone prove or disprove this?


Currently our heating isn't on. It won't be on much, if at all, today. Maybe later if it gets cold.

The radiator won't be turned on in the kitchen today, any cooking in there will more than make the room warm enough. The spare room radiator isn't on, I like it cold in there 'cos the squashes store better up there.

The lights will be turned on at some stage. Already have been turned on.

As I've not had the heating on (we've got rather stupendous new windows which have made this house all of a sudden rather warm, we've got wall insulation, we've got loft insulation that might be thicker but isn't yet), how would wasting electricity to produce heat be a good idea?
hardworkinghippy

I'd prefer to use my limited off grid electricity supply to create light with lightbulbs and heat with wood - see Jamanda's point about efficiency.

We need light even in summer when the last thing we want to do is heat the interior of the house.

As Johnnyboy says hope that by demanding low energy bulbs I create a market which encourages producers to create a good product.
dougal

This is a matter I've raised several times before.


A large part of, but not all of, domestic lighting is used at a time when the heating is required.

Some of the time, the 'waste' heat (from lighting, appliances, cooking and even people) may be sufficient that other heating isn't required.
This effect is particularly noted in super-insulated dwellings.
And more easily noted, the better the insulation is, as Cab has noticed.
If its 10C outside and 20C inside with the heating off, you're heating needs are being completely met by "waste" heat. Insulation doesn't produce it; it just retains it, so that the 'waste' heat provides a useful contribution.

The main point is that the *total* energy saving (during use) is *not* given by the simple arithmetic of
60 watts (trad bulb) - 8 watts ("low energy") = 52 watts saving all the time light is needed

There is a saving. It *is* a significant one.
But its *not* as much as might be expected from the simple arithmetic above.

And the whole thing gets more messy when using 'renewable' (or even nuclear) electricity supplies for lighting but fossil fuel (gas, oil, coal) for heating.
In that situation, electric heating provided by lamps and inefficient appliances (although more expensive in money terms) is actually the "low carbon" option!

And it gets even more confusing when considering "micro-generated" electricity produced on-site from renewable sources...

Its unfortunate that simple-minded politicians can't see beyond the simple arithmetic.
The things certainly are *not* "worse than useless" -- but they are nowhere near as 'good' as most people (and probably all politicians and policy-making civil servants) think they are.
kevin.vinke

Not sure about the exact ins and outs but although we have switched I have found that:
They are more expensive.
Donīt last as long.
I do wonder about the energy required to produce a low energy bulb as opossed to a standard bulb.
OtleyLad

dougal wrote:


A large part of, but not all of, domestic lighting is used at a time when the heating is required.

Some of the time, the 'waste' heat (from lighting, appliances, cooking and even people) may be sufficient that other heating isn't required.
This effect is particularly noted in super-insulated dwellings.
And more easily noted, the better the insulation is, as Cab has noticed.
If its 10C outside and 20C inside with the heating off, you're heating needs are being completely met by "waste" heat. Insulation doesn't produce it; it just retains it, so that the 'waste' heat provides a useful contribution.

The main point is that the *total* energy saving (during use) is *not* given by the simple arithmetic of
60 watts (trad bulb) - 8 watts ("low energy") = 52 watts saving all the time light is needed

There is a saving. It *is* a significant one.
But its *not* as much as might be expected from the simple arithmetic above.

The things certainly are *not* "worse than useless" -- but they are nowhere near as 'good' as most people (and probably all politicians and policy-making civil servants) think they are.


Thanks for the above (did not see previous posts on this).

Some time ago (early 70s) I worked in a large office (for the then Yorkshire Electricity Board) and ALL the energy for heating the building came from the people within it and the 'waste' heat from appliances, lighting, etc.

If the real energy saving is quite marginal - the energy used in the production of the lights becomes more significant - not to mention the eventual disposal of the units.

I think that if you are living in an unheated house in the uk today - either your house is very well insulated or you are a real rufty tufty kind of person! Its very cold and damp here in Otley.
cab

kevin.vinke wrote:
Not sure about the exact ins and outs but although we have switched I have found that:
They are more expensive.
Donīt last as long.
I do wonder about the energy required to produce a low energy bulb as opossed to a standard bulb.


Odd; our energy saving bulbs seem to be lasting WAAAAAAAY longer than older light bulbs.
alisjs

mine last way longer too....and can be bought cheaply these days too, especially the bog standard ones.
RichardW

I still have some of the first ones we ever bought, must have been over 10 years ago now. They have been relegated to lesser used places as more modern bulbs are brighter come on quicker & are a better size / shape so are less intrusive. All our lights are now low energy or tubes. I guess in a badly insulated / old house even the waste heat from a 100w bulb is not going to reduce the amount of wood i put on the fire or even the amount of oil burnt in the central heating one jot. I think our heating needs are in the region of 28-35kw (depends on which calc I use) so I would have to be running 341-426 bulbs (based on 100w bulb over a 18w low energy with 82w going to heat) to need no extra heating.

On a side note. I dont like the way that heating calcs work out your boiler size. Like in the above example my heating needs are 28-35kw. My existing boiler is a 120,000 btu unit (35 kw) BUT its does not run solidly for the time the heating is on so it must be over sized. The house will come up to heat in 20-30 mins from stone cold (which is not that often as we have the rayburn on 24-7). It then will cycle on & off. Rough observations have put it down to about 1/3 or less of the time being on. As boilers are more efficient running at peak loads & I assume more eficients runing at a contant temp would a boiler that could just cope with the heat loss of the house be better?

Also does fuel type change the kw size of boiler needed? I ask because one wood fired boiler supplier said that he would recomend a 18-20kw boiler for our house.

Justme
oldish chris

There is this theory that the money saved as a result of energy savings is spent elsewhere on something different but nonetheless uses energy.

Not to mention the "embedded energy" in the super complex light bulb.
Jonnyboy

cab wrote:


Odd; our energy saving bulbs seem to be lasting WAAAAAAAY longer than older light bulbs.


Our house is 100% energy saving bulbs, I've had to change two in two years and one was due to me whacking it by mistake.

Somethings amiss If they aren't outlasting 'old style' bulbs
Fee

Ours way outlive the old bulbs too Confused
Treacodactyl

dougal wrote:
The things certainly are *not* "worse than useless" -- but they are nowhere near as 'good' as most people (and probably all politicians and policy-making civil servants) think they are.


Yep and they also have some drawbacks which should be highlighted more. My pet hate is that there is virtually no encouragement for the energy saving bulbs to be recycled. I also find even the latest bulbs I have take a while to light fully if the room is cold, so I'm more likely to leave them on and it would be daft to heat the room just so the light worked! Laughing

As for how long they last, I've certainly had some that have lasted only a little longer than a normal bulb but the more recent ones are doing ok. I'm not sure if they earlier bulbs were faulty or if they were sensitive to a fluctuating power supply.
lassemista

Ours are lasting much better, but the time they take to warm up is tedious. There was an article in Country Smallholding about them. From memory I think it suggested thet they are worthwhile when they are going to be left on for a while, but not when just on briefly.
Comments?
Andrea.
hardworkinghippy

Our 2Ds are more than eight years old. I bought spare bulbs which I hope will take me well into my eighties !

I wanted to use compact fluos for outside lighting, but I've since found out that they don't work under 5°C, so I'll have to think again. LED strings, LED clusters, low energy Christmas lights all year round ? ... Very Happy
dougal

Durability -- they have some electronics in their lumpy bases. I find it quite plausible that some cheap examples have cheap (and not very durable) electronic components.
Switch-on & Thermal -- They take a while to reach full brightness, and my perception is that they take longer the colder it is. There are two here, outdoors, neither mounted in a fully enclosed fitting (so both get pretty cold) but they do work, even well below 5c. I suspect HWH sees rather more extreme temperatures though.
Some are designed for "instant switch on". These have more complicated electronic controls inside. Hence they are more expensive, and potentially more fallible.
Disposal -- The things contain do mercury. Not much, but its not a very nice deliberate addition to landfill. There's not enough glass to worry about recovering (annual tonnage must be tiny compared to packaging). But the electronic stuff will inevitably contain other potential pollutants. It'd be nice to see a dedicated bin at the tip for them, but things like dry cell batteries (like torch/radio/toy batteries) are a larger problem, meriting greater attention earlier (like return boxes at retailers/supermarkets/etc).
RichardW

hardworkinghippy wrote:
Our 2Ds are more than eight years old. I bought spare bulbs which I hope will take me well into my eighties !

I wanted to use compact fluos for outside lighting, but I've since found out that they don't work under 5°C, so I'll have to think again. LED strings, LED clusters, low energy Christmas lights all year round ? ... Very Happy



Shhhh dont tell mine as they are in outside fittings & seem to work year round. You can also get some specialy for outside use.

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/54892/Lighting/Outdoor-Lighting/Amenity-Lighting/Bulkheads/IQ-Low-Energy-Bulkhead-18W

The pdf says its ok for out side use. There are others too

justme
Jonnyboy

Our outside ones do take noticeably longer to reach full brightness.
RichardW

Jonnyboy wrote:
Our outside ones do take noticeably longer to reach full brightness.


I dont notice as we turn them on whilst we still can see (they are left on so that visitors can see in the yard so can safely get to the house as we are miles from any street / house lighting) so as the light is fading the bulb is britening. That said it only takes a few seconds & if the switch is in the house by the time you get out the door it will be bright any way. You can get quick ones too.

Justme
hardworkinghippy

I've just had a look at the screwfix site thanks Justme, but there aren't any 12v DC units. Neutral

So, I think it will be worth my while adding a bit of 240V DC wiring for AC - bulbs and fittings seem to be very cheap and easily available and I could run them from the inverter. (Our new windgenerator isn't up yet though and we still have to build a unit for all the wiring, controller and inverter.)

In France there's a website where you type your postcode to find out where your nearest collection service is for lightbulbs. I'm surprised there isn't one for the UK - you're much more clued up on these things than the French are.
Vanessa

We have an assortment of low energy bulbs here. The downstairs bathroom has LED clusters that look like the 50watt halogen bulbs, but use a tiny fraction of the power. It's a very blue-white light, and takes some getting used to (MOH swears it's not as bright as the yellower light, but I think it's use). We also have some SES low energy spot lights in the kitchen which are excellent, plus various "standard" low energy bulbs.

I wonder if it's the 12v ones that don't work under 5 degrees, Irene?
marigold

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7167860.stm

I've tried several kinds of low-energy bulbs (cheap and expensive) and I still hate the bl**dy things, it irritates me that they take ages to light up and the light quality is horrible. Hopefully the technology will improve in time, but I've got a good and growing stash of "proper" light bulbs. I endeavour to make my savings by only using lights when necessary and not having loads of spotlights or fancy multi-bulb light fittings.

Although we are exhorted to use different light bulbs, the idea of using fewer of them and only when necessary never seems to get an airing.
Behemoth

And they make you scabby, and give you migraines and fits:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7170246.stm
RichardW

Behemoth wrote:
And they make you scabby, and give you migraines and fits:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7170246.stm


Only the same as the standard tube lighting in every office / shop in the land. You can get day light versions (like the ones you get for growing plants & for fish tanks) if its that much of a problem but dont think they have got as far as the low energy bulbs yet. I hate the lighting in most big shops (& the air condition[not conditioning condition]) gives me head aches, but dont have the same feeling in the house with low energy bulbs.

justme
Slim

I heard the CFLs contain Satan's breath which is why they make everyone ill and must be disposed of properly! Twisted Evil

The only real way to reduce your electrical usage is to kneel below your 100watt incandescent and pray to the good lord above. Laughing

I'm afraid that you have all been mislead in the science of your so-called "lighting" anyway. Allow me to introduce you to the truthiness of Dark-Sucking-Technology (D.S.T.)

http://www.theatrecrafts.com/humour_darksuckers.html
http://home.netcom.com/~rogermw/darksucker.html
Treacodactyl

Some info about possible heath problems due to the mercury in the bulbs and what you should do if you break them. It would seem most people aren't at risk but if you handle large numbers worth reading in case you break several at once.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7172662.stm
Marionb

Thats interesting - I had no idea about the mercury content.

We've only ever broken one, that was last year when my son smashed one whilst in the shower.... not the best of places as it would have been steamed up and far from well ventilated.... but at least now I know for future occurrences.

Also had no idea that used ones shouldnt be put in the bin - thats where they've gone in the past although there havent been many of them as they last so long. To be honest I cant see many people making a special effort to dispose of such a small thing when the bin is nearby.....
Green Man

What about the poor slaves that are making them for us abroad? How many are they handling in a day?
mr olive oil

energy saving light bulbs

energy saving light bulbs are energy efficient if put into an area where they are left on for long periods of time
they are not energy efficient nor do they last as long if put in an area where they are constantly switched on and off
beware the cheaper ones have a lesser life expentancy and this should be printed on the box
the dearer ones are produced to last 15 years and this again is stated on the box
also beware the ones that are marked as colour 827 they give out a dull warm white colour, they have now started to sell the brighter coloured cool white colour 840 lamps in the uk although they have been available for years on the continent
RichardW

Re: energy saving light bulbs

chateau-carman wrote:


beware the cheaper ones have a lesser life expentancy and this should be printed on the box
the dearer ones are produced to last 15 years and this again is stated on the box

also beware the ones that are marked as colour 827 they give out a dull warm white colour, they have now started to sell the brighter coloured cool white colour 840 lamps in the uk although they have been available for years on the continent




That is true about the life time of them but you can buy 5 or more cheap ones for the price of a dear one so they still work out a better bet finacialy.

I thought the colours were measures in 1000's IE 2700 to 4000?


Justme
mr olive oil

energy efficient lamps

quite right about the colours, but they have now changed the colour codes, what was once colour 3300 is now colour 840
i sell these lamps and even i am getting confused with all the changes
RichardW

Re: energy efficient lamps

chateau-carman wrote:
i sell these lamps and even i am getting confused with all the changes


Dont supose you have any sensibly priced GU10 ones in about 11w. Would need 8.

Justme
mr olive oil

re gu10

i have just received some samples of 9 watt gu10s which i can get for around Ģ4 each
i have just had a manufacturer send me a new catalogue with 11w gu10s which i can probably do for the same price, but i have to get a min of 200, which i have not had that many enquiries for yet

i do have a customer who twice a year places a large order for the 11w which up to now i have been supplying them at Ģ6.80 each

i will now be offering them the cheaper ones, if and when the order is placed i can incorporate your ones at the same price for you
i will contact you as and when the order comes through
bear in mind that the prices are gradually coming down, so who knows, they may be even cheaper in a few months time
RichardW

So far cheapest I can find are Ģ4 inc del. But they recomend 2700 as the colour we in the UK expect not the 3-4000 ones. Its for a kitchen thats 2m wide but 8m long with the windows at oppersite end / sides. The light fittings are 2 x 4 bulb units fitted at 1/3 & 2/3rd's. One end has a high celling at over 3m & the other at just over 2m (one of the reasons we want low energy as its lower heat too & you can feel the heat of the current bulbs). The current 50w bulbs are over kill. Tried it with one bulb removed in each unit & it was still plenty of light (which suggests 7-9w bulbs would possibly be ok but would prefer 11w I think as equivilents seem to be a bit optermistic). Would need them fairly soon (1-2 weeks max)


Justme
mr olive oil

re gu10s

i dont think i will be able to get them that quick however if the situation changes i will let you know

can i make a suggestion that has worked for me at home as well as for friends of mine
i have bought and fitted a 6 foot fluorescent fitting on too of my kitchen units which is hidden by a pelmet and when lit acts as an uplighter
you will be suprised at the amount of light that it throws out and reflects back down off the ceiling with no heat and it only uses 70 watts
you can also consider using some very slim fittings under your worktops, it really does make a difference
i am not trying to get away from the original subjuect but felt that my suggestions may be of some use
RichardW

Hi,
We did consider lights to go under the wall units but decided not to in the end (cant remember why as they were cheap). We cant have lights on top as the only real run of wall units is at the end of the kitchen that has the low celling so there is not enough space for the fitting or to let the light out. Before we did the kitchen up it had one 4 foot tube & one 11 watt low energy bulb. The end with the tube was ok but the end with the bulb needed more. Think we will go for the 8 low energy ones & then if we need more light we can add the under counter lights as we have a spare light switched controlled feed already in place.

Cheers

Justme
Green Man

Cho-ku-ri wrote:
What about the poor slaves that are making them for us abroad? How many are they handling in a day?


Obviously us saving pennies is more important as this question has been skipped over. Would any of you, that advocate the use of Low Energy Bulbs, be happy with a lamp manufacturer operating a factory and handling the essential Mercury on and off wagons adjacent to your home or children's school?

Does anybody know of a compact Low Energy Light bulb make that is manufactured in the U.K.? Can we buy 'Local' bulbs?
crofter

Cho-ku-ri wrote:
Cho-ku-ri wrote:
What about the poor slaves that are making them for us abroad? How many are they handling in a day?


Obviously us saving pennies is more important as this question has been skipped over. Would any of you, that advocate the use of Low Energy Bulbs, be happy with a lamp manufacturer operating a factory and handling the essential Mercury on and off wagons adjacent to your home or children's school?

It is not just lightbulbs. Almost everything that we buy is manufactured abroad (most likely in china) in factories we have never seen or even thought much about. Nobody wants to think about it, because if we did, well.... it's just better not to discuss it isn't it?
Idea What about a new telly series? "Lifeswap"? similar to some of the current reality shows, except we would send western consumers to China to work a few shifts soldering electrical connections and operating sewing machines etc while we brought the workers over here and gave them a few lifetimes worth of "wages" to spend? Neutral
RichardW

Yes they are avaliable from uk factories.

We (well ok the EU) set the rules we want/need in our country they should set the rules for their own country. If they want / need better working conditions then let them choose to have them its not up to us to force them to do it. They are decieding to make stuff cheap not us. We dont force them to do it. OK we should take the moral high ground & not buy cheap stuff but then they would go bust & no one would be working & their economy would be in a worse state. Let them produce cheap stuff for a bit longer, we will then stop making any thing, then they will cut off the supply of cheap goods & we will be the ones in the crap & they will be the ones with the better standard of living. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Justme
crofter

Justme wrote:
Let them produce cheap stuff for a bit longer, we will then stop making any thing,


It seems this has just about happened already?
Green Man

Justme wrote:
If they want / need better working conditions then let them choose to have them its not up to us to force them to do it.

Justme


Didn't you watch last week the U.K. documentary that featured a Cambodian mother who sold her ten year old daughter for $300 to a Chinese businessman who chained the girl to a sewing machine and fed her from a pet bowl? She was rescued in a raid thank goodness, but how many other children are enslaved like this?

Are you sure they manufacture the sealed glass units for low energy bulbs here in the U.K.? Are our workers handling mercury?
RichardW

Cho-ku-ri wrote:




Didn't you watch last week the U.K. documentary that featured a Cambodian mother who sold her ten year old daughter for $300 to a Chinese businessman who chained the girl to a sewing machine and fed her from a pet bowl? She was rescued in a raid thank goodness, but how many other children are enslaved like this?

Are you sure they manufacture the sealed glass units for low energy bulbs here in the U.K.? Are our workers handling mercury?


Nope I try not to watch much TV its full of crap (not saying that prog was crap just in general they are & they will spin things to make you think what they think).

I can only go on what the adverts say & they say UK product. I used to live near a light bulb factory that is still there so they do exist.

No our workers wont be HANDLING any toxic chemicals. That will be done by a safe system of work just like all the other dangerous things in everday products.

Justme
gnome

i have been using low energy bulbs for several years now, and found that even when they were a lot more expensive than they are now, thy still saved me money by lasting a lot longer. the very worst lasted two years, and one that i got very cheap about seven years ago has only just died. the old type lightbulb would usally only last a month or two in my home (not impressed by the electrical wiring in this area of the country), so it's a big improvement.

as for the arguement that the heat produced by a standard bulb saves on the heating of the house - that is a classic case of spurious logic. it's the same sort of logic that convinces people they have the perfect design for a perpetual motion machine - sounds reasonable to the lay person, but can never work. heat rises - it doesnt sink, therefore it is not going to add to the room being used at the time, but will simply rise to heat the roof or the room above.

the environmental impact of an individual low energy bulb when disposed of is certainly no less than a standrd bulb, and may even be worse - but seeing as they last far longer, there will be far fewer of them to throw away.

of course, all this will be accademic when the technology takes another leap forward, and we start to use LEDs to light our homes. or maybe there will be another new thing around the corner. supposing you could buy TFT screens on a roll like wallpaper - wall to wall ambient lighting or ceiling panels that give the feel of natural light perhaps.

i'm surprised nobody has really looked into using prisms. i recall seeing the inside of a lighthouse once, and was astounded that the bright searchlight came from a light source far less bright, but amplified by a complex array of mirrors and prisms. worth looking into i would have thought.
dpack

3 flashes and a minutes darkness will be ace for reading Laughing
some bulbs do have lenses and reflectors built in so as more light goes where it is needed
JB

gnome wrote:
... the old type lightbulb would usally only last a month or two in my home (not impressed by the electrical wiring in this area of the country),


a month or two Shocked I think if all my bulbs were dying every couple of months I'd be rewiring the house rather than changing the bulbs.
gnome

i rent. a lot of houses are like that round here - i think there must have been some very dodgy electricians around in the last century. or maybe it's just the quality of the "four for a quid" light bulbs. i had the same problem at my last place. two months was the average lifespan of a standard bulb - some would only last a month, occasionally one might last six months. depending on usage.
RichardW

dpack wrote:
3 flashes and a minutes darkness will be ace for reading Laughing


Light houses dont flash Very Happy

LED lights are here already but they are better for mood / back ground lighting. I think HWH (Hardworkinghippy) uses them in her house.

Justme
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