Energy Star wants more CFL subsidies

According to the article As C.F.L. Sales Fall, More Incentives Urged Energy Star products manager Richard Karney wants continued funding for CFL programs.

I find this rather stunning. Why should taxpayers and utility customers subsidise an arbitrarily chosen product with numerous quality problems and safety issues that customers don’t like, to give it an unfair market advantage over other products that customers prefer due to their safety, reliability, versatility and higher quality?

If a product is so unpopular and poorly designed that you have to give it away, isn’t that an indicator that it’s time to get back to the drawing board and focus on the mercury-free alternatives, making incandescent Halogen Energy Savers even more efficient, and LEDs brighter, cheaper, more incandescent-like and colour stable?

The N.Y. Times article also mentions its previous article about Halogen Energy Savers, Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge which says that in the U.S. these are sold exclusively at Home Depot (can’t find any in their online catalogue) and (obviously quite a bit pricier than here in Sweden where they’ve been freely available for a year). Isn’t this late introduction, high price and very restricted availability rather strange, considering the fact that you can buy cheap CFLs at the nearest gas station or supermarket? Does the lighting industry not want us to buy these new and improved halogen lamps which give the same top quality light as standard incandescent lamps but saving 20-50% energy?

What is it with CFLs that make them get all the special treatment, even though many are not more effective than the best halogen energy savers, contain mercury and have a long list of quality- and other problems?



  1. Peter said,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Ah, the hidden halogens, well maybe that's another piece in the jigsaw then…thanks….politicans have pushed manufacturers to make CFLs and now it's payback timesee update some new developmentsincluding the coincidence of dumping CFLs on the third world:Washington DC/Nairobi, 25 September 2009, UN news release:"A new global initiative to accelerate the uptake of low energy light bulbs and efficient lighting systems was launched today by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The close to $20 million initiative, the Global Market Transformation for Efficient Lighting Platform will be implemented in collaboration with the private sector companies OSRAM and Philips."(for more, see for example G.Monitor )

  2. Panta Rei said,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    last link doesnt seem to work(they backed down 😉 ),New Zealand site carrying the news others, once you google some sentences of the content in "google news")

  3. Halogenica said,

    September 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Yes, I regularly see reports of plans to flood India, Philippines and other countries with CFLs. Naturally without any warnings whatsoever about their dangerous mercury content, and without any recycling schemes in place. I wonder who will accept responsibility for the environmental disaster this will create?

  4. Panta Rei said,

    October 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    EU Ecodesignhave an information sitefor 'stakeholders' they seemingly haven't told the public about (=that I can see) but which hassome better updated and relevant info have a new long FAQ linked from it 1 september 2009 about light bulb banNot sure how much it repeats previousbut anyway:

  5. Halogenica said,

    October 3, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for all the good tips! I'll have a look when I'm feeling better.

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