CFLs burn out in California?

California utility PG&E Corp. has just learned something about CFLs — they don’t work as well as touted. According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, PG&E’s $92 million rebate program for CFL usage during 2006-2008 saved 73% less energy than originally projected by PG&E:

One hitch was the compact-fluorescent burnout rate. When PG&E began its 2006-2008 program, it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut the estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings. Field tests show higher burnout rates in certain locations, such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting. Turning them on and off a lot also appears to impair longevity. [Emphasis added]

Combined with their inherent mercurial hypocrisy, this new information should add urgency to the House effort to repeal the ban on incandescents.

7 thoughts on “CFLs burn out in California?”

  1. Bad news, but in terms of energy consumption they still are valuable. The real misers are the LED bulbs, but they are still very expensive. Regardless any “anthropogenic global warming” considerations higher efficiency is always a good idea.

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  2. I realize that this is off subject, but I wonder why you continue to post stuff from the Yale 360 project? They refuse to post any response that falls short of enthusiastic, fawning support of whatever crackpot stuff they publish.

  3. I had an amusing run in with these bulbs thus week. Our building elevator has eight of these shining down from the ceiling. So I walk in and am effectively blinded by what appeared to be a single super bright bulb. The faint smell of smoke made me assume it had failed in some way. Oh no, after less than two years that was the only bulb to have been just replaced. The others had merely lost much of their original brightness over time. It was then that I had a sad vision of the future in which all these CFL bulbs vary in individual brightness as soon as a few but not all have failed. That will be a fitting match for our NYC light emitting diode cross walk stick figures that lack an arm or a leg due to failing bulbs that can’t be replaced since they are soldered directly to the circuit boards.

  4. CFLs are only “more efficient” if the heat a regular bulb emits (and to which the other 90% of its energy goes) is unwanted. In winter it directly reduces your heating bill. Besides, how much more energy does it take to produce a CFL? (Not to mention properly disposing of them when they die, which I’ll bet most consumers won’t bother to do.)

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