The following is by Architect Paula Baker-LaPorte, a recognized authority on healthy homes. She addresses the unanticipated consequences of the rapid and widespread adoption of CFLs. It, along with the rush to corn-based ethanol, are perfect examples of the fallout–both the hazards and the loss of potential from failure to pursue more systemic solutions, of narrowly focusing on single target variables like fossil fuel consumption.
Confessions of a CFL detractor
To declare that I am against the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and still call myself an environmentalist seems, in today’s green world, to be an oxymoron. More than any other consumer item, the CFL has come to represent the green movement. The arguments in their favor are compelling. They use 1/3 to 1/5 the electricity of incandescent bulbs. Because they last from 6,000 to 15,000 hours, compared to the incandescent bulb’s 750 to 1,000 hours, the initial higher price is a good, long-term investment that can save as much as $30/bulb over its life.
It has been estimated that if the 110 million American households each replaced only one incandescent bulb with a CFL, the energy saved would be equivalent to closing two coal-burning power plants and a reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 1.5 million cars off the road.
Changing out every bulb would certainly be a no-brainer, a patriotic duty for every world citizen that I would fully embrace if I could also swallow the following beliefs: (more…)