Many countries are phasing out incandescent light bulbs. For example, in the European Union, various types of classic light bulbs have been removed from the market in the last years.
The claim is that this process will help reduce overall electrical energy consumption:
By enforcing the regulation of switching to energy saving bulbs, EU citizens will save close to 40 TWh (roughly the electrictity consumption of Romania, or of 11 million European households, or the equivalent of the yearly output of 10 power stations of 500 megawatts) and will lead to a reduction of about 15 million tons of CO2 emission per year.
Critics say that the switch to CFLs won't conserve energy for various reasons, two of the most prominent being that CFLs take substantially more energy to manufacture and that households will require more heating:
An International Association for Energy-Efficient Lighting (IAEEL) study conducted in Denmark, explored some carbon footprint factors, but not all, showing it took 1.8 Kwh of electricity to assemble a CFL compared to 0.11 Kwh to assemble an incandescent bulb. [...] The study did not include the fact that a CFL is much heavier and is more dangerous to handle, and will thus cost more to package, to ship, and to sell. [...] This research also did not calculate the energy required to safely dispose of a CFL and reclaim the mercury. [...]
Because they burn cooler, they cause home heating costs to rise. "Lighting regulations (banning incandescent lights) will increase GHG emissions in Hydro’s service territory by 45,000 tons due to cross effects of a switch to cool-burning bulbs,” explained a BC Hydro spokesperson in 2009 Vancouver Sun article.
Is there any hard data that shows a measurable effect on the overall energy consumption in countries or regions that have already started the phase-out a few years ago? Or is it to early to get statistically significant measurements?
- Do CFLs have a significant impact on your light bill? (Examines the effect on a single household if incandescent light bulbs are replaced by CFLs and nothing else changes.)
- Are CFLs always more ecologic than incandescent light bulbs? (Compares the environmental effect of heating with incandescent light bulbs to other heating options for a single household.)