In an affront to incandescence fans everywhere, the conservative Australian government is on its way to banning the hyper-inefficient incandescent light bulbs in favor of a technology that is not 128 years old.
This is good news for people who enjoy polar ice caps and living on the planet Earth. Compact fluorescent bulbs still pose disposal challenges and higher up-front costs, but will save enormous amounts of money and carbon over the coming decades.
Switching to compact fluorescent bulbs and LED traffic lights could similarly save money and carbon for America, as well.
The mercury is a huge issue. Maybe we could mine mercury from fish in the Great Lakes and use it to build the CFLs. Doesn't solve the disposal problem, of course. I don't know if there is a way to build a CFL without mercury. I don't know if there's a way to build an LED for general household use. The advantage of LEDs for stoplights is that LEDs are single color -- you don't have to filer white light to red to get the color you want. To build a white lite from LEDs, you have to mix all the colors. I know they've done this with flashlights, but I'm not sure when it would be practical to light your house with LEDs.
Actually, you don't need to mix differently-colored LEDs to get white light. You take a blue LED and add some phosphor, which converts the blue light into a broader spectrum. There are a couple of other ways to do it, too.
They're very expensive compared to incandescents and CFLs, though. You can buy them right now, but it's typically $20 and up per unit. The good news is they last tens of thousands of hours.
Looks like Al Gore could use a few CFLs.<< Home