Tuesday, 24 August 2010

And I thought changing a light bulb was simple. Wrong.


It sounded so simple. Our main kitchen light decided it didn’t like me any more when I came down this morning – no, I wasn’t up THAT early but we had dark cloud and heavy rain.

Of course, we didn’t have a spare. The empty box sat on the ‘landing strip’, AKA the top of the shoe rack in the hall where we couldn’t possibly miss it. It had been there for some time, muttered over when dusting, forgotten when going to the hardware store.

So, this afternoon, Alan set off for the hardware store and wandered round, empty box in hand, looking for a replacement. I should point out at this point that light bulbs in the UK have an option of two fittings – as above, screw thread or, as below, bayonet fitting.

BCincandescentlampSorry for the quality.  Not my photo but posted under a  GNU Free Documentation License, Our bulb was a screw thread, one of at least two sizes that I know of!

We had forgotten that a new EU (European Union) directive has come into force that incandescent light bulbs can no longer be sold.  They use ‘up to’ five times as much energy as the low energy bulbs.

1. save electricity – thereby saving fossil fuels. According to experts they will save 60% of the energy used by light bulbs in the EU.

2. A low energy bulb lasts ‘up to’ 10 years.

1. Low energy bulbs cost something like 6 times as much as the incandescent ones.  This is a cost no one can avoid.

2. The low energy bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and under new regulations for hazardous waste, councils are obliged to recycle low energy bulbs at a cost to the tax payer, over and above the cost of the bulbs.

3. The EU has now admitted that the claims for equivalent brightness have been overstated –  On a website intended to answer consumers' questions about the switch to energy saving bulbs, the European Commission states: "Currently, exaggerated claims are often made on the packaging about the light output of compact fluorescent lamps. For example, a 11-12 Watt compact fluorescent lamp would be the equivalent of a 60 Watt incandescent, which is not true. The light output of 15W compact fluorescent lamp is slightly more than the light output from a 60W incandescent."

We already have low energy light bulbs in most lamps in the house – we do TRY to be green – they vary in brightness and time taken to warm up.


1. I like being as green as possible. I do believe we have a very short time frame for stopping climate change.

2. I object to the cost of low energy bulbs.

3. Perhaps this bulb – if it really lasts 10 years – will ‘see us out’.  I’ve tended to see light bulbs as consumables and have never thought about their life spans.

4. Mercury is a nasty element in any quantity.

5. I hate and distrust any claim which is ‘up to …’.

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