Dim logic of new bulbs

NY Times:


Indeed, the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.

“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”

The first bulbs to emerge from this push, Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers, are expensive compared with older incandescents. They sell for $5 apiece and more, compared with as little as 25 cents for standard bulbs.

But they are also 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs. Philips says that a 70-watt Halogena Energy Saver gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts about three times as long, eventually paying for itself.

My math suggest a bulb costing $5 would have to last 20 times as long as one costing 25 cents. Even if you factor in the energy "savings" the standard bulb is still much cheaper. Besides, the 100-watt bulb is pretty non standard. Most light fixtures are designed for 60 watt bulbs.


  1. In addition, don't forget that the new bulbs can't just be thrown away, like the older ones. The newer ones must be specially disposed of so they don't end up poisoning landfills. Yet another cost added on in addition to the $5 purchase price.

  2. The coil bulbs are rediculous. After redoing the house in 2007, the better half replaced all the bulbs with the coil fluorescents. Now when doing the laundry one needs a flashlight to measure detergent and make sure the machines have been emptied. Plus, what's up with the bulbs lighting sporadically? I turn on the hall lights and instead of coming on simultaneously as they should, they ignite to some order unknown to me. Then, the basement. Thankfully we installed halogens along the walls because the coils really give off a glow one seldom sees outside of spelunking expeditions. I'm now hoarding standard bulbs going forward.


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