Bulb ban

Due to legislation introduced by Turnbull during the John Howard years the the sale of incandescent bulbs is prohibited as of today. More accurately the ban prohibits the sale of light bulbs with an efficacy of less than 15 lumens per watt (lm/W). I checked at the local supermarket and the shelf where the incandescent bulbs used to be was empty. Technological advances were going to see the incandescent replaced over time anyway. I suspect that the compact fluorescent bulbs that I have throughout my house will also be dated technology within a decade as long life LEDs drop in price. Conceivably we will see the day when light bulbs last nearly as long as the house.

The ban isn’t unique to Australia. The EU will see them banned by 2012 and the USA by 2014. Even so this law would have been a really good law to slap a sunset clause on.

6 thoughts on “Bulb ban

  1. The problem of course is that no one has ever done a life cycle carbon footprint of a CFL or an incandescant (which is so incredible near impossible – see ipencil). All they have done is focused on lumens per watt during use, even if it take 10Mwhours of energy to make the CFL they don’t care.

    The ban is completely and utterly rediculous. If the bulbs are more energy efficient people would buy them on their own, they wouldn’t need to be forced by the goverment to do it.

    Futhermore, why is the ban needed? In QLD for example the goverment is giving everyone 15 ‘free’ cfl’s from our taxes. I mean where does it end? Steal our money to pay for bulbs, ban us from buying other bulbs. All of that without anyone actually showing we are doing anything for the enviroment?

    Not only that but they said our carbon foot print would redice by 600,000 tones per annum. Our really increase is in the millions. So if EVERY single bulb in australia was replaced instantly, we would reduce global warming by a whole 2 months. wow.

  2. “this law would have been a really good law to slap a sunset clause on.”

    Like so many modern laws, this would have been a really good law never to have seen the light of day.

  3. “Due to legislation introduced by Turnbull during the John Howard years the the sale of incandescent bulbs is prohibited as of today”

    Thank god for those “small government” folks in the Liberal party eh?

  4. Yes Terje, the ban is wrong also for the energy and emission rationale behind it

    It might sound good to ‘ban inefficent products’
    But products that use more energy have performance, appearance,
    construction and/or price advantages. http://www.ceolas.net/#cc2x

    Put it this way with the light bulbs:

    Americans (like Europeans, and I guess Australians) choose -or chose- to buy ordinary light bulbs around 8 to 9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2008).
    Banning what people want gives the supposed savings – no point in banning an impopular product = no “savings”!

    If new LED lights – or more efficient incandescents etc – are good,
    people will buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
    If they are not good, people will not buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
    The arrival of the transistor didn’t mean that more energy using radio valves/tubes were banned… they were bought less anyway.

    The need to save energy?
    Advice is good and welcome, but bans are another matter…
    ordinary citizens -not politicians – pay for energy, its production, and how they wish to use it.
    There is no energy shortage – on the contrary, more and more renewable sources are being developed –
    and if there was an energy shortage of the finite oil-coal-gas fuels,
    1 renewable energy becomes more attractive price-wise
    2 the fuel price rise would lead to more demand for efficient products – no need to legislate for it.
    Any government worried about say oil use can simply tax it
    (and imported oil is not used in electricity generation).

    Supposed savings don’t hold up anyway,
    for many reasons:
    http://www.ceolas.net/#li13x onwards
    = comparative brightness, lifespans, power factors, lifecycles, heat factor etc with referenced research

    About electricity bills:
    If electricity use does fall, the power companies have to put up prices to cover their overheads, maintenance costs, wage bills etc (using less fuel doesn’t compensate much in overall costs).

    Does a light bulb give out any gases?
    Power stations might not either:
    Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
    Low emission households already dominate some regions, and will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology and/or energy substitution.

    Direct ways to deal with emissions (for all else they contain too, whatever about CO2),
    with a focus on transport and electricity:

    The Taxation alternative

    Taxation is just another unjustified way of targeting light bulbs – but might be a compromise solution:

    A ban on light bulbs is extraordinary, in being on a product safe to use.
    We are not talking about banning lead paint here.
    This is simply a ban to supposedly reduce electricity consumption.

    For those who favor bans, or who want to act quickly in targeting electricity consumption as well as production and distribution,
    taxation to reduce any such consumption would therefore make more sense, governments can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.

    A few dollars tax that reduces the current sales (USA like the EU 2 billion sales per annum, UK 250-300 million pa, Australia ?150 million pa)
    raises significant sums, and would retain consumer choice.
    It could also be revenue neutral, lowering any sales tax on efficient products.
    When sufficent low emission electricity delivery is in place, the ban can be lifted

    But the real deal is simply to supply energy as needed with whatever emisssion criteria is needed,
    and let consumers use and pay for what they want, in their own homes.

  5. For those who still prefer incandescent light, 15 lm/w means you should be able to still buy the following incandescent replacement bulbs:

    A. Standard Halogen Energy Savers (Osram & Philips) which come in A19, candle and reflector, last 2000 hours and cost only marginally more than standard bulbs:
    53W, 850lm = 16 lm/W (almost equivalent to a 60W)
    70W, 1200lm = 17.14 lm/W (almost equivalent to a 100W)

    B. Halogen Energy Savers with infrared coating and integrated transformer (Philips) which come in standard A19 bulb size only (expensive due to the integrated electronics):
    20W, 370lm = 18.5 lm/W (almost like a 40W)
    30W, 620lm = 20.66 lm/W (almost like a 60W)

    All halogen lamps give top quality incandescent light with perfect colour rendition, are dimmable and contain no mercury.

    If not available in your country, make sure to ask for them. (And no, I’m not selling them, I just want to inform of their existence as few seem aware of this legal alternative.)

    Or use LEDs when they become bright enough, affordable enough and light quality good enough.

    I would NOT recommend CFLs as they contain mercury, have mediocre light quality, are often not dimmable and have a host of other problems (see my Greener Lights website for more info).

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