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CFLs = More Emissions In Cold Climes

From Canada’s CBC News:

Efficient lighting equals higher heat bills: study

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Questions are being raised about whether so-called energy saving light bulbs might cause cold-weather Canadians to burn more energy to heat their homes than if they were to use regular light bulbs.

CBC News has found that in some cases compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can have the adverse effect of increasing greenhouse gas emissions, depending on how consumers heat their homes.

Physics professor Peter Blunden at the University of Manitoba said CFL bulbs are certainly more energy efficient than older incandescent bulbs.

But in cold-weather climates such as Canada’s, Blunden said older incandescent bulbs do more than just light our homes. During the long winter months, they also generate heat. The new CFL bulbs on the other hand produce minimal heat so the loss has to be made up by fossil-fuel burning gas, oil or wood to heat your home.

“To some extent, the case [in favour of CFL bulbs] has been oversold” because of the offset in higher heating costs, he said.

In fact, a recent report by BC Hydro estimates new lighting regulations will increase annual greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by 45,000 tonnes annually as consumers use more energy to heat their homes after switching to more energy efficient — but cooler — lighting.

"The replacement of inefficient lights with efficient lights that produce less waste heat will lead to increased fossil fuel use for non-electric space heating," says the report, part of a submission BC Hydro made to the B.C. Utilities Commission last month.

Another study, by the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology, also concluded that actual dollar savings by using CFLs depend on the climate in which a home is located. In Canada, in winter, "the reduction in the lighting energy use was almost offset by the increase in the space-heating energy use," the study said.

But Canadians, depending on where they live and the severity of the winter, may still benefit from using CFL lighting, despite the higher cost of the new bulbs and the additional heat energy consumed, said the CCHT study, conducted in 2008.

Some proponents of the CFL bulbs claim the new bulbs use only about 25 per cent of the energy of old incandescent bulbs.

"In Winnipeg you are going to lose a significant amount of those savings," said Blunden.

Indeed, when everything is factored in, Blunden says the real energy saving for Winnipeggers using CFL bulbs is probably closer to 17 per cent. Blunden said energy saving results will vary across the country, depending on how consumers heat their homes.

If you live in Newfoundland, for example, where many people use expensive heating oil “it might even cost you money" to use the new, cooler, efficient, CFL bulbs for lighting, Blunden suggested.

"If your advertising campaign says you’re going to save money, then you’ve kind of shot yourself in the foot,” he said, noting CFL bulbs were originally designed for use in warmer climates.

Oh, those unintended consequences:

In fact, a recent report by BC Hydro estimates new lighting regulations will increase annual greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by 45,000 tonnes annually as consumers use more energy to heat their homes after switching to more energy efficient — but cooler — lighting.

Not to mention the psychological toll of living nine months of the year cooped up with florescent light.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 5th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

36 Responses to “CFLs = More Emissions In Cold Climes”

  1. proreason says:

    Windmills are the only answer.

    The Moron simply has to command the wind to blow at all times.

    and then command the birds to not not kill themselves in the windmills

    and then command the transmission lines to carry the current efficiently.

    and then command the people who build the windmills to do so without using carbon.

    and then command cars to have windmills on the top

    and the command the windmills to not wear out.

    Isn’t Central Control easy?

  2. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    Kind of like low flow toilets. They use 30% less water per flush, but you have to flush them twice.

    • 1sttofight says:

      Not to mention the energy used to raise the seat and lower it just to please the ladies. ;)

    • beautyofreason says:

      Ah, low flow toilets – the bane of my existence. Why can’t carbon hounds regulate their own energy and water usage, donate to Al Gore’s scam (carbon) credit company with their own private dollars, instead of imposing their goals onto us ?

      Last year I disassembled my shower head to increase the pressure and flow beyond what the environmentalists allowed. It is soooo much better now.

  3. MinnesotaRush says:

    And of course, we cannot forget the personal risks and danger. A fellow called into a radio show not long ago, reporting how his wife broke one of these bulbs in the house. He reported that he spent just under a $1,000.00 by the time the hazmat cleaners left.

    Haven’t had the experience personally; but if I end up having to use them (Land of the Free ..) you can bet I’ll never have a burnt out or broken one. I’ll be sure to get the real long lasting and durable ones.

  4. PartisanPete says:

    Stop being such lemmings, and do the research. Hell… read the article that you posted! Even in HARSH winter climates, like Winnipeg, there is still an energy savings!

    The heat that an incandescent bulb provides is minimal at best when it comes to contributing to the overall household warmth, and is inefficient heat to begin with, as these bulbs are typically close to the ceiling, and the heat radiates upward, unless intentionally circulated… which would require more energy.

    The article also neglects to mention the additional energy required to COOL the house in warmer months. And, yes… even Winnipeggers (Winnegonians? Winnebagos?) get warm weather in the summer.

    Lastly, MinnesotaRush? Before sticking your foot in your mouth I would highly recommend reading up on the event that you’re relaying… you can read about it here:


    Sigh… friggin’ lemmings. Everything’s a conspiracy with ya.

    • 1sttofight says:

      When the one I tried stopped working I threw it in the trash. It did not last any longer than the regular bulbs did.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Holy crap, Pete – did you even read your own sources? Look at what the EPA suggests for a broken CFL:

      Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room

      – Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
      – Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
      – Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

      Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

      – Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
      – Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
      – Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
      – Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

      Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug

      – Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
      – Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
      – If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
      – Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

      Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

      – If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
      – You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
      – If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.

      Disposal of Clean-up Materials

      – Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
      – Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
      – Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

      Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

      – The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
      – Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

      Gee, PP, sounds completely harmless and convenient to me…

    • Reality Bytes says:

      First mandatory lead poisoning next stop healthcare. Reminds me of that Monty Python scene “Bring Out Your Dead”.


    • Colonel1961 says:

      Exactly! ‘I’m not dead, yet.’ No, but we will be sooner if these marxist enviro-dimbulbs keep at it… God help us.

    • proreason says:

      “Sigh… friggin’ lemmings. Everything’s a conspiracy with ya”

      it’s not a conspiracy when it’s done in plain sight.

      Under those conditions, it’s a crime.

    • Steve says:

      “Stop being such lemmings, and do the research. Hell… read the article that you posted! Even in HARSH winter climates, like Winnipeg, there is still an energy savings!”

      Nobody said otherwise. Certainly I did not in the post of the article.

      Maybe you should learn how to read. Preferably some place more suitable for you.

      “Sigh… friggin’ lemmings. Everything’s a conspiracy with ya.”

      I think you have your pronouns confused:

      G Warming Pushes Lemmings Over Edge | Sweetness & Light

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Perhaps pp should turn on more lights so he can read the posts properly, Steve!

    • jobeth says:

      Colonel, the mercury in these things followed by the hazmat issue has been my complaint all along.

      I’ve seen those “disposal rules” before. If it wasn’t so serious and idiotic it would be funny. The length alone would make you laugh.

      Who’s going to want to do all that? Over a single LIGHTBULB?

      We have dimmers all thru our house. Most of the time they are on very dim…there by saving energy. You can’t use dimmers with the “screwy” light bulbs.

      You have to wait for them to warm up, so if you are just going into a room for a moment or so, you will be in the dark the whole time or you will wind up just leaving them on so you don’t have to wait for them.

      Kind of like Kind of like “low flow toilets. They use 30% less water per flush, but you have to flush them twice.” as BannedbytheTaliban said.

      How stupid are these people? They’d trip over a dollar to save a dime and can’t see further than their own noses.

      We are going to stockpile the old favorite incandesant bulbs!

      The world is going nuts!!!

  5. Plus, these myopic, greenie sycophants totally ignore the toxic train wreck heading for landfills from the small amount of mercury in all the CFLs.

    Mercury is a potent neurotoxin.

    “The silvery substance can be dangerous even in small quantities, though, because it can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and it damages the central nervous system.”

    But not to worry. The enviro brown shirts will be more than happy to monitor and regulate our behavior for the sake of our fragile planet – and their power.

    • Steve says:

      Look what happened to Faraday, and probably Newton.

    • beautyofreason says:

      And don’t forget, they want to mandate lead testing on all toys – including those sold from vintage shops. :P

      Oh, the insanity.

  6. PartisanPete says:

    Colonel1961… maybe you should also read what the EPA says about CFL’s being responsible for LESS mercury than incandescent bulbs.

    From the EPA: “Ironically, CFL’s present an opportunity to PREVENT mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the US to produce electricity. A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb and lasts 6 times longer. A power plant will produce 10mg to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg to run a CFL for the same time.”

    So, if you can’t take the extra effort to (a) NOT break a bulb [I mean, how many bulbs have YOU broken in your life?] and (b) properly clean up the mess you made, then maybe you shouldn’t be using that computer… which ALSO has significantly more mercury than a CFL.

    The EPA’s clean-up guidelines are just that, guidelines, not toxic spill clean-up instructions.


    • proreason says:

      “how many bulbs have YOU broken in your life?”

      probably dozens if not hundreds, like most people.

      you throw them in the trash, where they BREAK

      But that’s not the real problem with the whole topic of these stupid, unnecessary, unwanted, useless light bulbs.

      The real problem is that we are tired of idiots like YOU dictating a detail in our lives as trivial as a light bult.

      THAT won’t last.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Hey Pete, my energy sources include nuclear and hydroelectric power, so perhaps you should direct your comment to the coal-only crowd. And I would prefer 100% nuclear (with hydro as back-up) – and would have it – if it weren’t for the enviro-commies and other assorted bed-wetters.

      Per your assessment that the instructions are merely ‘guidelines’, then I assume you would just lick up the spilled mercury, correct? After all, they’re just ‘guidelines’…

      Lastly, I have broken a lightbulb or two in my life (max) but no laptops, to date. Thanks for asking.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      So, Pete, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – would you lick or snort the quantity of mercury contained in a single CFL? If ‘yes’, can I watch?

    • 1sttofight says:

      Hey Colonel,
      I will gladly watch two women do whatever they want to do. But I will be damned if I watch a liberal wimp lick a light bulb. ;)

      That does not crank my tractor.

      Sorry for the misspelling, I never could spell or salute very good. ;)

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Nor mine, just a harmless barb…

  7. Gladius et Scutum says:

    Actually, I do use a few CFLs. But only for those bulbs that are a real pain to replace.

    Coal burning producing more mercury? How did the mercury get in the coal in the Pennsylvanian/Devonian era? Couldn’t be naturally present in the evironment? Had to be greedy capitalist trilobites, I’m sure.

    What I especially like about a broken CFL is the way it concentrates the mercury in my home, as opposed to spreading it over the earth’s surface, as appearently it originally was.

    Also: The Winnebago were Native American victims of genocide. One account has the perpetrators being a coalition of Pottawatomi, Ojibwa, and Fox. Another account says it was the Illini. I like the Illini version, since they were subsequently made to be extinct by a coalition of Pottawatomi, Seneca, Fox and Black Hawk at Starved Rock on the Illinois River. Something tells me PartPete never heard of such things.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Sword and Shield: we have one ‘in’ our home, too. My wife bought it – no telling what she was thinking – and I installed it on the front porch ‘chandelier’ – comes on very slowly and doesn’t put out a lot of light. But, I sure as heck will not have one in our home…

  8. canary says:

    Glen Beck exposed the truth about the light bulbs monthes ago. He’s covered alot of the global warming b.s., aside the problem of illegals in this country.

  9. artpa says:

    I use them almost completely, volts run high here and replacing the bulbs was driving me crazy… i have 15 foot ceilings and most lighting is in fixtures… I have only had one of them blow out in a year as opposed to every single light in 3 months before with 130v bulbs. Complaints.. they are dimmer, sometimes taking minutes to get up to their brightness, which is less than the replacement watts they say. Not instant on, and they make you look yellow.

  10. Right of the People says:

    Another thing about CFL’s, you can’t use them with a dimmer switch. 2/3rds of the switches in my house are dimmers (there when I bought it) and it’s getting to be a pain in the butt to find incandescent bulbs in the stores around here.


    • jobeth says:

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it is my understanding that incandesants will be outlawed by a certain date. Can’t remember what that date was tho.

      Someone have the facts on this deadline?

  11. Gladius et Scutum says:

    “Most men stumble over the truth now and then, and most of them pick themselves up and hurry off like nothing happened” – Winston Churchill

  12. DGA says:

    Kinda like the arguement over the hybrid cars using less fuels over their lifetime, but cost more from new to landfill than a GM Suburban does. And the jury is still out over how to dispose of the massive battery buried in the midships of those lefty appeasers. Still, if it helps libs sleep at night, I guess there is a small benefit.

  13. Grzegorz says:

    “The psychological toll of living nine months of the year cooped up with florescent light.”

    Well, I was in the Submarine Service for 8 years and 4 months. That count? Oh, it was nuclear powered. Can’t have that now, can we, comrades! All power (electrical and otherwise) to the Soviets!

  14. U NO HOO says:

    “Actually, I do use a few CFLs. But only for those bulbs that are a real pain to replace.”

    I “also” use them up where the air is rare and in desk lamps so I don’t feel the heat on my hands, summer and winter. And for the, I hope, long life.

    Any one who has been using incandescent lights for part of the heating system must have his lights on all the time and if he was rational would have already converted to flourescent to save on energy costs.

    Use what you want to.

    That sums it up I believe.

  15. canary says:

    Pete,Pete, that was a “very outdated EPA article”, and said nothing about doing a clean up of regular light bulb. And don’t even get me started on how pathetic and worthless the EPA is.
    Here’s the latest.
    Not just mercury but “radioactive” electricity comes out of a CFL lightbulb.


    further many concerned customers are reporting to GE about CFL lights
    white coloring, smoking, and foul oder. When this occurs in an “unbroken”
    CFL light bulb is causing hazardous toxic phosphor in the air. It causes cancer, mental problems, etc.

    What’s really scary is all these new rules that all these CFL bulbs even if they “don’t break”, have to be treated like Hazardous waste. As far as “old” light bulbs, I could find nothing on them having to be treated as Hazardous waste, taken to Home Depot etc. etc. or you will have to save them for periodical pick-ups you will pay your garbage collecters.

    And when the old lightbulbs can be used til 2012, I could not find one site that tells of the dangerous in broken ones, how to dispose, clean up, and so if they were as dangerous, they’d be telling people they must treat them the same as CFL. ince they will be used til 2012. They would defintely be telling people to do this, so they would switch immediately to CFL.
    This is so comparable to the FDA and pharmacutical companies. New medications are barely tested, and checked before being given to the public. And why do the new CFL’s cost so much.
    It’s like the FDA approving new prescriptions left and right. I always check the interent. One med I was given I first looked on internet, had only been tested on 1000 people for a short period. I mean look at the commercials that name side-affects.

  16. U NO HOO says:

    Hold the presses, isn’t a lot of Canadian power generated by hydro, like in Niagara Falls, the shredded wheat power.

    No carbon used there, except in the generator brushes.

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