It is not being covered on the news today, especially in the local media, but the federal government announced today that the sale of “inefficient” bulbs will be banned by 2012. That is a 4 year and 8 months period before you will be unable to buy incandescent bulbs or other forms of energy-inefficient lighting, such as flood lights and stadium lighting.
Is this period to long? Is it just long enough to be seen as doing something while prolonging the problem? This is what many of the critics will likely be saying and they have a valid point but at least something is being done.
Some key points to remember is these bulbs cost on average three times as much, but last several times longer. Include that with the 75% savings in energy for lighting your home and it adds up. This is a just compact fluorescent bulb, we have not even considered LED bulbs which are becoming more available. I have a LED night light in the kitchen that produces the same light as a incandescent based light at a 80% energy savings.
Some hard-core environmental community members might be up-in-arms over the next few days since most compact fluorescent bulbs use mercury in their manufacturing. Compare that with what Australia estimates they will save in emissions – 800,000 tons over 5 years – by enacting their ban earlier this year. It is still an easy choice to make.
In the end I think anything that is more energy efficient is worth exploring, and until we develop a bulb that does not need replacing we will always have the problem of tossing bulbs out.