I share your observations about the short life of some CFL bulbs, Duane. I've had some shockers.
Maybe we can avoid this with LED lamps by creating a standard specifying a minimum average lifespan to be able to use a specified standards mark which would reassure consumers they are getting a quality product. And maybe specify that imports (eg from China where everything comes from these days) have to meet that standard.
Maybe I'm too much of an idealist....
Early adopters started the buying curve for CFLs at about this same price point. Not long after that, economies of scale as well as government and corporate subsidies helped bring the price down even further. They're still more expensive than tungsten, but they are generally close enough that they are worth buying by most consumers. The same thing will happen with LED lighting, I hope.
On the down side, as the volumes went up, the quality of the electronics went down (my assessment) and thus life spans now often fail to meet the theoretical promises (based on person experience). Now we find that the supposed "eight year life" is based on high quality electronics and usage in specific settings that don't fit much of the real world.
Hopefully, LEDs will live up to their life expectancy promises in all common use scenarios, such as in enclosed fixtures.
Better than government enforced lighting switchovers to CFLs or LEDs:
1. Increased -not reduced- Lighting Competition
2 Light Bulb Taxation
1. Simply to encourage competition,
all along the electricity supply chain:
Electricity companies and light bulb manufacturers then strive to keep
down their own energy costs, while manufacturers are also pushed to make energy saving products that people actually want to buy
(and have always wanted, since savings are a marketable advantage
"Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run"? - look at Energizer/Duracell
bunny rabbit commercials!
They don't engage in campaigns of forced switching to products they otherwise can't sell)
New ideas (energy efficient or otherwise) can be always be helped to the market.
2. Tax is also better,
combined with subsidies if required.
Think of the bankrupt California Government,
banning everything in sight (buildings, cars, TV sets etc based on energy consumption)
- and getting nothing for it.
The ban (or pushed switchover) on some light bulbs is all about lowering electricity use.
To lower electricity use, if seen as relevant,
then coal, electricity from coal, all electricity, or the bulbs themselves could simply be taxed,
and cross-subsidize lower prices on energy saving alternatives,
so people are "Not just hit by Taxes"
equilibrating the market and keeping consumer choice.
1 1/2 - 2 billion annual pre-ban USA (and EU) sales of relevant bulbs
show the income potential at federal as well as state level
(while a very high tax zeroing sales is the same as the desired ban anyway).
Competition and Taxation alternatives to
Regulations and enforced switchovers are exemplified on http://ceolas.net/#li23x
Philips is always going on about how governments
should fund switchovers from incandescents to CFLs/LEDs - which of course just happens to be more profitable for Philips.
If using electricity was such a big deal,
it, or say coal, could simply be taxed
(The government income of which could help pay for insulation of poorer affected homes - or whatever. Regulations or sponsored switchovers give no such government income!)
Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2 gas.
If there is a problem - Deal with the problem.
The switchover savings,
even on US Dept of Energy, Canadian and EU institutional figures is less than 1% of total energy use and only 1-2% of total grid electricity. (http://ceolas.net/#li171x, referenced)
Much more relevant to deal with electricity generation efficiency, grids, and alternative wasteful consumption, as described, than to tell consumers how they should use the electricity that they pay for.
Philips' call to action is premature. The technology is not cost effective and proven reliable. The retail list price for a 60 watt replacement LED bulb is $60. At least when we all ran out to replace our incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs, the prices were similar to what they were replacing and there was a substantial dollar savings after power costs were included. And, fortunately, retailers were good about providing free replacements when the CFLs failed prematurely.
This may be a noble and worthy goal, but such a "call" by Philips is so self-serving on their part that I can't decide if this is laughable or insulting--it reads like we are a bunch of naive fools. Treat us with some respect here, please: we understand the area-lighting alternatives, tradeoffs, and realities.
I will always buy the technology that is the most economical for my dollars. Right now, its CFL. I don't like the mercury in it, but they last much longer and use less energy. As soon as LEDs reach a price point that makes them more economical than CFLs, I will switch. Of course, I agree that Philips is just pushing this out of their own greed.
I think is a good call. Of course Philips also sees for its benefit considering its lighting division, but I think is truth to say that if all light bulbs were changed to LED based then we would have a huge reduction in consumed power through out the world.
Considering facts like contamination of power plants and that electricity demand is always increasing this might be a measure that comes in due time.