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CFL vs. Incandescent Bulbs: The National Lighting Bureau Wants to Set Record Straight

Posted on Sunday, May 13 2012

The National Lighting Bureau (NLB) is urging the United States lighting community to set the record straight: It seems the American public isn’t currently being given the proper amount of good information about smart, environmentally friendly lighting.

According to NLB Executive Director John Bachner, “particularly poor reporting about the ongoing elimination of 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent lamps from the national inventory” is currently taking place.

“Incandescent lighting is not being eliminated or outlawed,” he says. “What is being eliminated are the least efficient, commonly used versions for which are far more efficient and cost-effective alternatives are available, including incandescent alternatives.”

Bachner says, as long as people pick the right bulb for the result they want in terms of lighting quality and dimmability, the alternatives available right now can do everything positive that incandescents do while costing consumers much less. In doing so, less energy will be consumed, contributing far less to the current greenhouse-gas and air-borne mercury problems.

“To tell people that a 75-watt incandescent lamp is less expensive than a compact fluorescent lamp is irresponsible, given that the statement is true only if you use the incandescent lamp for something like a paperweight,” Bachner says. “People need to know not the cost of buying one type of lamp or another, but rather the cost of owning and using one type of lamp or another. Once people have that knowledge, they quickly realize that the incandescent lamps they grew up with are just about the most expensive there are, not the least expensive.”

Recently, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), a sponsor and founder of the NLB, has taken a step toward educating consumers by providing reliable information in a new booklet, “Lighting Options for your Home.”

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