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[GreenYes] Re: More on CFL, Hg thread

For more on the matter of mercury emissions by light source visit:


Anne Peters wrote:

> I forwarded this discussion to colleagues at Ecos Consulting -
> environmental/energy experts with a strong niche in lighting,
> especially residential. Good stuff to share with Greenyes:
> Chris Calwell wrote:
> I'm headed to Paris later this week to speak on this topic at the
> International Energy Agency - Vicki's been following the CFL disposal
> issue, so I'll encourage her to get back to you. I personally think a
> tax on the sale of incandescent light bulbs would be a fine idea - use
> the bads to pay for the goods as we say...
> Vicki Fulbright Calwell then added:
> I continue to be amazed that a product category that represents less
> than 0.01% from anthropogenic mercury emissions gets so much attention.
> Regarding Doug's first comment about HHW not being convenient. CFLs
> last an average of five years, so it's hard to argue that they are a
> constant hassle. EPA recommends keeping a box in your garage/basement
> and taking when other items build up (e.g., paint, pesticides, etc.).
> The air conditioning example is comparing apples to oranges. Of the
> energy that goes into an incandescent lamp, only 10% comes out as
> visible light. So it's actually responsible for MORE mercury emissions
> than a CFL (keep in mind that the single largest source of mercury
> emissions in the US/world are coal-fired power plants). I wrote a
> column a few weeks ago for a northwest publication -- it provides a
> high-level overview of this particular conundrum. You can view it at:
> Incandescents are cheaply priced, which makes it attractive to
> consumers, so I'm not opposed to a tax on incandescents. It's much
> better than taxing consumers who choose the more efficient lighting
> options (either through advanced recovery fees or end-of-life fees).
> Also, setting efficiency standards (or outright bans) on
> energy-guzzling products has had great success. Refrigerators are the
> great energy efficiency story. I'll throw that one back into Chris'
> court to tell. I do agree that an outright ban is not feasible (there
> just aren't enough substitutes for all applications), but minimum
> efficiency standards and phase-outs are approaches that should be
> considered. The need to seriously address global climate
> change is urgent, and we need to act now.
> LEDs show great promise -- more because of their energy efficiency
> properties -- but they are nowhere near market ready to replace
> general service incandescent lamps or the CFL. We'll check back in on
> that one in about another 5 years. Additionally, they may be mercury
> free, but they are not toxin free.
> The issue will remain contentious and dynamic for time to come. But we
> know one thing for certain: an artificial light source without
> environmental consequence does not yet exist, so impacts must be
> assessed comprehensively and not by mercury alone. CFLs prevent the
> emissions of substantial quantities of mercury, greenhouse gases and
> other pollutants, they reduce consumer energy bills, and they last far
> longer than incandescent alternatives. They are currently the
> environmentally preferable product despite their mercury content (and
> regardless if they are recycled or not).
> Also important to note, the average Hg content per lamp is steadily
> dropping, with a significant push underway to reduce to best practice
> levels: 1.7 - 2.3 milligrams. NEMA manufacturers are also voluntarily
> adopting a 5 mg limit (6 mg in higher wattages). This means the
> average will likely drop from 5 mg to ~3mg. This is the equivalent to
> achieving a 40% recycling rate without the exorbitant costs associated
> with recycling. (It takes an average of $45,000 to collect just one
> pound of mercury!).
> I'll be traveling the next three weeks, but let me know if other
> questions pop up.
> Best,
> Vicki
> Anne Peters
> Gracestone, Inc.
> 303.494.4934 vox
> 303.494.4880 fax
> >

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