More Talk About A Dim Bulb, Part I

Last week we highlighted here the New York Times' comparison of CFLs and consumers' feelings, and some treehuggers opined that adapting to change just takes time, and the right bulb! But the damning statistic in this WSJ commentary - that just 5 % of the light bulb market is buying CFLs - is a bit worrisome. This week a comparison by Sweden's SP Technical Research Institute of CFLs gives credence to the idea that CFL quality is even more fickle than consumers' preferences.

SP tested eight different CFL bulbs from manufacturers such as Philips, Osram, and IKEA, and found that none of them - not one! - lived up to manufacturers claims for strength of the light (lumens). Temperatures of -10C and below caused some bulbs to flicker, others to not even light. Bulbs took from two to seven minutes to come to full strength. But the most damning part of the test was the report's demonstration that quality is completely unconnected to local price - which ran between US $5.50 and $21.86 (gotta hand it to IKEA as the low-price/quality leader). These quality lapses pose a problem for all of us in the many countries (Australia first in 2009, and then Canada, parts of Europe and the US) that are banning incandescent bulbs. But stay tuned for Part II of this post, where we look at Swedish mercury-free CFL technology, good-looking and (relatively) low-cost LEDs from China, as well as visit the sunny Parans lighting guys in gloomy Gothenburg. Via ::Teskfakta (Swedish only)

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