Thursday, November 5

Compact Fluorescent (energy saving) Lamps vs Incandescents

compact fluorescent lamp For quite a while now I have come across discussions about the merits (or not) of Compact Fluorescent Lamps CFLs . There is a lot of disinformation published about them in the media. Typically those that 'fight' against CFLs say that they don't save energy because their manufacture uses so much more energy. For ages I had wondered if there was any analysis done to prove or disprove this theory and recently I found some research that shows CFLs are better.

The problem we have today is that we are only beginning to learn how to understand complete processes. In the case of a CFL, the process starts with acquiring the materials, progresses through manufacture of the lamp, purchase of the product, using it at home and finally disposing of it and recycling. When we buy the product, we participate in one part of the process.

The research I found is by Annette Gydesen and Dorte Maimann of the Technical University of Denmark (details and link at the end of this post). They split the process into 3 stages, production, operating and scrapping. Although more energy is required to produce CFLs, the total energy consumed in the lifecycle process of a CFL is about 5 times less than incandescent lamps. The resulting CO2 emissions are also about 5 times less than an incandescent lamp.

One interesting point made by the research is that as long as we continue using coal in power stations, incandescents would be responsible for more mercury pollution than CFLs!

Life Cycle Analysis of Integral Compact Fluorescent Lamps versus Incandescent Lamps - Annette Gydesen and Dorte Maimann, Technical University of Denmark.


Anonymous said...

check out BBC news science and nature for the 'next generation' of photovoltaic cells being developed.

Some clever sole is developing a PV cell which uses optical fibres to maximise the surface area sunlight is coming in contact with and some special dyes which react with the sunlight.

They make an interesting point in that the majority of the workings can be kept midden inside wall cavities.


TheVille said...

Yes I saw those. Looks interesting.

There's a lot of very interesting projects going on.

I found this New Zealand company a while ago:

They have developed a roofing system that combines solar heating with solar photovoltaics, which results in a 70% efficiency in collecting the energy.