CFLs: Stop! The! Madness!
A Fresh Squeeze, 2006 Oct 23:
Compact Your Energy Bill: Compact Fluorescent Lighting
"As you may have learned trying to adjust your bedside lamp, light bulbs produce a lot of heat. But did you know that 90% of the energy consumed by light bulbs turns into heat not light?
"Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 8 times longer. By saving energy, CFLs also lower energy bills and reduce green house gas emissions. Replacing just 4 traditional bulbs with CFLs will prevent 5,000 lbs in carbon dioxide emissions and use $100 less electricity over their lifetime..."
A Fresh Squeeze, 2008 Apr 22:
The Alternatives to CFL's: Light Emitting Diodes
"Inefficient incandescent bulbs will be phased off U.S. store shelves starting in 2012. And many people have already started replacing these bulbs, which burn eight times the electricity (in the form of wasted heat), with more efficient alternatives like compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
"But CFLs have their own problem: the mercury used to light them is a potent neurotoxin. While the bulbs are difficult to break, even a small mercury spill at home requires expensive remediation. Because there are few facilities equipped to safely recycle CFLs, many are thrown in the trash, where the can contribute to toxic leakage from landfills.
"LEDs may be the ultimate solution..."
No wonder few people take environmentalism seriously. What next? LEDs contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals that cause cancer? What the heck doesn't these days?
I hate to rain on the Earth Day parade (really, I do), but I swear, some people are like eco-hipsters. As soon as some eco-trendy idea goes eco-mainstream, they complain to high heaven that it isn't eco-friendly or eco-cool anymore. CFLs contain mercury! Gas-electric hybrid cars cause people to drive more! Organic produce isn't local enough! Why isn't your bicycle made of bamboo?
Does anyone remember where that DOE (or was it the EPA?) fact sheet is on what to do for a broken CFL? I do remember that the instructions were similar (if not exactly the same) as for a broken mercury thermometer, basically don't freak out, be careful of the broken glass, and open all the windows. And aren't those things supposed to last millions and millions of hours anyway? I really doubt a trip to the proper disposal facility is going to be that much of a nuisance if it's a pentennial event.
Last year Dean compared the amount of mercury in a CFL to that released by a coal-burning generator to power an incandescent bulb (guess which is larger):
Mercury in compact fluorescents
He also wrote something like a CFL buyer's/user's guide back in winter:
Update: CF Torchiere replacement [Thanks!]