Are CFLs already obsolete? | The American Ceramic Society

Are CFLs already obsolete?

Warner Philips, founder of Lemnis Lighting Co. in The Netherlands, claims “CFLs are officially an outdated technology. You can’t recycle CFLs. You can’t get a fully dimmable product. That should make them obsolete.”

This is quite a statement, considering compact fluorescent lamps are just now beginning to replace incandescent lamps.

Philips makes this bold statement based on a new 6-watt LED light bulb his company recently introduced at Lightfair International in New York. He has named the bulb the “Pharox LED Light” and claims that it is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. Unlike most CFL bulbs, the Pharox can be used with dimmer switches and contains no mercury. The LED bulb is supposed to have a life of 36,000 hours or 25 years, eight times longer than a CFL bulb.

Of course, all these advantages come at a cost. Lemnis already sells a 5-watt LED bulb, claimed to be equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent lamp, for about $35, down from its price six months ago of $40. The 6-watt version is set to sell for $50.00 on Amazon.com. Philips believes that the cost of the bulbs will decrease rather quickly.

The 5-watt LED bulb is being sponsored by the Clinton Climate Initiative in Europe and 2.5 million will distributed there.

As always, there is a downside. The LED bulbs last 25 percent less time when used in enclosed fixtures. I am more concerned that the 5-watt LED bulb is advertised to produce about 300 lumens, whereas the familiar 60-watt incandescent bulb produces 900 lumens. The question will be whether these negatives are acceptable considering the benefits of eliminating mercury and recycling.

The Lemnis Lighting site includes a sidebar that states, “If every Dutch household were to replace 4 incandescent bulbs with 4 Pharox lamps, we would save 1.5 billion kWh of energy per year. This energy saving is equal to the annual energy consumption of all households in Amsterdam.”

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