Saturday, 16 October 2004

compact flourescents or trying to do the right thing

ever since they were introduced in austrralia, i have been using compact flourescent light globes instead of incandescent. the promise of which is repeated everywhere: "despite their added cost, their long life and lower energy consumption make them financially and environmentally superior". save money and help the environment - who wouldn't want that.

problem is that contrary to the claims for longevity (up to 8000 hours), i have found that compact flourescents last just slightly less than their incandescent cousins. yes i am nerdy enough to have been keeping a log since the first example i bought lasted about 10 days. I have tried every brand i can find and i occasionally use incandescents for comparison. i don't measure the actual "hours on" but just the time from first use to death.

oh well i said to myself, even if they are more expensive, at least they use a lot less electricity which is better environmentally. but then i got to thinking, if the longevity claims are false, what about the power consumption claims? i did some rudimentary tests using the house power meter with nothing else on. using an 18W compact flourescent and a 100W incandescent which are supposedly equivalent in light output, i counted disk rotations for 25 minutes in each case to get some degree of accuracy. the 100W incandescent measured at 96W and the 18W flouro at 33W. then i did some comparisons (subjective) of brightness and the 100W was certainly brighter. does this mean that we should go back to incandescent lights? probably not but considering the greater energy and resources expended on the CFs manufacture, and their greater price, they certainly aren't the answer we are looking for. i also feel let down by all the environmental groups who have been pushing the company sales pitch without verifying it's truth. it's a bloody mess