If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Dutch View: "The Unholy Alliance between Philips and the Greens"

Updated August 1

Having covered South African and Hong Kong criticism of the ban and of the replacement bulbs, it is worth remembering that there have been similar good articles originating in the EU.
Naturally, most English language articles have a UK source, but some others have appeared that don't need translation tools (or manual work!).
This article by Dutch researchers has been mentioned in a previous post, but deserves its own.
Written in 2010, it remains valid today.

From University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke Sr Climate Science Site:
Both Professor Roger Pielke Sr and Professor Roger Pielke Jr (blog) are something as unusual as institutional, renowned climate scientists that are not afraid to make their own judgements on climate change.
Note how criticism is otherwise something such scientists tend to do once they leave office!
(and - whatever the rights and wrongs - the notion that "most scientists agree with current climate change policies" should be taken with that knowledge, that few would go against established governmental and institutional opinion anyway, for fear of not receiving continued funding etc)

The below article post has this source.

About the authors

Henk Tennekes is an aeronautical engineer. From 1965 to 1977 he was a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. He is co-author of A First Course in Turbulence (MIT Press, 1972 – still in print) and author of The Simple Science of Flight, recently (2009) released revised and expanded.

Joost van Kasteren [website] is a senior writer on technology and science in Holland, having also been a science journal editor.
He covers energy, housing, water management, agriculture, food technology, innovation, science policy, and related issues.

Typically straight-talking Dutchmen, they don't spare the rhetoric as they conclude the article...

In 2006, Dutch legislators caved in under the combined lobbying pressure by Philips and Greenpeace. A parliamentary majority in The Hague embraced the idea of banning incandescent bulbs and ordered the Dutch Environment Minister, Jacqueline Cramer, to lobby for an extension of the ban to all states in the European Union.

That task proved simple enough.
Top politicians in Europe, Germany’s Angela Merkel up front, deeply impressed by Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, were only too eager to project an image of strength and will power concerning imagined threats to the planet. ”Save the Earth, ban the bulb” was an effective campaign strategy.

To make a long story short, it took less than one year to issue a binding European Union Edict ordering the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, starting with a ban on bulbs of 100 watts and more effective March 1, 2009, and leading to a complete ban of all incandescent lighting on September 1, 2012.

The spin doctors at Philips headquarters have got it made.
And if this scam backfires on them in consumer protests all over Europe, they can cover their backsides by claiming that politicians and the green movement are responsible, not they.
Backfire it will. There exist no decent alternatives to incandescent light. None.

The history of the EU ban is extensively covered with documentation and communication copies on the Ceolas site, here: http://ceolas.net/#euban.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

And a Critical View from Hong Kong...

Having just considered a South African criticism of what is going on, consider another good article, this time from Hong Kong, again highlighting the problems of fluorescent or LED bulb replacements, as well as the questionable need and legitimacy of the product regulation itself.

It comes from Dr Robert Hanson:
Dr Hanson holds a PhD in the Built Environment from The Bartlett University College London. He worked in the energy industry in England where he was involved in calculating energy prices and setting tariff s under both competitive and nationalized conditions.

From the Capitalism.HK magazine.
Embedded article below: source.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Enlightened View from South Africa

Updated July 27

Regarding the last post here "New study on CFL UV Radiation", an interesting South African article putting it in a greater perspective.

As the article says, South Africa, and indeed all the other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) have recently announced incandescent light bulb bans or "phase-outs", as have many smaller developing countries.
The United Nations (UNEP) switchover policy supported by the World Bank and other big sponsors is playing a part in this, a policy pushed at the recent RIO environmental summit also by General Secretary Ban-Ki Moon himself... I will do a post on this later.
The UNEP en.lighten initiative itself, and how Philips and Osram benefit from offloading otherwise unwanted bulbs, has been covered in an earlier post "Philips, Osram, the UN and the World Bank: How we will en.lighten the World in 2012".

The author Ivo Vegter, as the blurb says, is no stranger to controversy - but hardly controversial what he says here - at least for supporters of this blog!
Embedded Daily Maverick article source here.
His own website: ivo.co.za
Notice the book coming out in September... might rustle a few feathers alright!
My book, which has kept be very occupied in recent months, is at the printers. In September 2012, Zebra Press, an imprint of Random House Struik, will inflict upon an unsuspecting world “Extreme Environment”.
It documents how environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies like South Africa, and I expect it will result in a few entertaining debates...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Study on CFL UV Radiation

Updated July 26 with comparative spectra also for LED replacement bulbs

The team of Stony Brook researchers reviews the findings of their research. Pictured from left to right (standing) are Marcia Simon, Michael Hadjiargyrou, (sitting) Tatsiana Mironava and Miriam Rafailovich. The images displayed on the screen are of keratinocytes via confocal microscopy which show the results of human skin cells with and without exposure to CFL.

From: Stony Brook University News, July 18

As has widely been reported, a recent study highlights the problem of UV radiation from compact fluorescent bulbs, albeit only at close quarters.
It is therefore recommended that the squiggly tubes are enclosed in capsules for such use, as with the pear shaped CFLs that are available.

From the Daily Mail article 20 July   Edited extracts, highlights

Energy-saving light bulbs can fry your skin, study claims

Energy-saving light bulbs can fry your skin, a new study claims.
Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York State examined the impact of the compact fluorescent bulbs - or CFL bulbs - on human skin cells prompted by a similar study undertaken in Europe.
They discovered that healthy skin exposed to light from the CFLs experienced damage found with ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

'Consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs... our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover' Stony Brook University Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Miriam Rafailovich said.

The scientists tested a number of CFL bulbs from across New York State to determine their UV emissions and the integrity of each bulb’s phosphor coatings.
Results revealed significant levels of UV, which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings that were present in all CFL bulbs studied.

They also tested the impact on collagen-producing skin cells and the epidermal cell that generated keratin from the light.
Comparing skin cells exposed to the CFLs with those exposed to incandescent light bulbs, they discovered that only the CFLs damaged skin, the same trauma as sun burnt skin, they found. Incandescent light of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells at all.

The study itself:

The Effects of UV Emission from Compact Fluorescent Light Exposure on
Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes

Tatsiana Mironava, Michael Hadjiargyrou, Marcia Simon, Miriam H. Rafailovich
Article first published online: 20 jul 2012

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can provide the same amount of lumens as incandescent light bulbs, using one quarter of the energy.
Recently, CFL exposure was found to exacerbate existing skin conditions; however, the effects of CFL exposure on healthy skin tissue have not been thoroughly investigated.

In this study, we studied the effects of exposure to CFL illumination on healthy human skin tissue cells (fibroblasts and keratinocytes).
Cells exposed to CFLs exhibited a decrease in the proliferation rate, a significant increase in the production of reactive oxygen species, and a decrease in their ability to contract collagen.
Measurements of UV emissions from these bulbs found significant levels of UVC and UVA (mercury [Hg]
emission lines), which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings, present in all bulbs studied.

The response of the cells to the CFLs was consistent with damage from UV radiation, which was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), normally used for UV absorption, were added prior to exposure.
No effect on cells, with or without TiO2 NPs, was observed when they were exposed to incandescent light of the same intensity.

Scotland based lighting designer Kevan Shaw of Savethebulb.org has a particular interest on the effects of CFLs on people with light sensitivity disorders, as he points out in the introduction to his post on this research, extracts:

Frying tonight?

As previously blogged I am assisting the Spectrum Alliance with their campaign to retain incandescent lamps for people with specific photosensitive disorders.
In the course of this I have learned a lot about skin problems caused by CFLs. It seems that such problems are not just confined to specifically photosensitive people. The Daily Mail ran an article on 20 July this year following up on recently published research in the USA. It seems that the light from CFLs has a significantly greater damaging effect on skin than incandescent lamps.

As previously experienced, CFLs do emit UV despite the claims of manufacturers.
Double envelope CFLs do reduce UV emissions considerably and should be used in any situation where lamps are at all close to people like task lighting, table lamps and bedside lights, particularly for the very young and very old whose skin tends to be more sensitive.

Kevan Shaw July 20 , 2012


Some comments elsewhere are taking this quite lightly, even welcoming a bit of sunburn and vitamin D formation.
However, an important point not mentioned is that UVC, one of the UV types emitted, is the most damaging UV source and happens to be blocked by the atmosphere ozone layer when coming from the sun.

An interesting runthrough of UV light can be seen on Digplanet.com, here.

The same source on Fluorescent lamp UV radiation

Fluorescent lamps

Fluorescent lamps produce UV radiation by ionising low-pressure mercury vapour. A phosphorescent coating on the inside of the tubes absorbs the UV and converts it to visible light.

The main mercury emission wavelength is in the UVC range. Unshielded exposure of the skin or eyes to mercury arc lamps that do not have a conversion phosphor is quite dangerous.

The light from a mercury lamp is predominantly at discrete wavelengths. Other practical UV sources with more continuous emission spectra include xenon arc lamps (commonly used as sunlight simulators), deuterium arc lamps, mercury-xenon arc lamps, metal-halide arc lamps, and tungsten-halogen incandescent lamps.

Incandescents have a red shift and relatively low UV output

Incandescent Spectrum
unknown source

CFL lamp spectrum

CFL spectrum

A comparison between light sources
(a CFL is of course a type of mercury vapor lamp)


The sourced Olympusmicro.com site for the last diagram has a good account of lamp technologies and spectra.

Notice how the today's much-hyped LED replacement bulbs ("white LEDs") also have light quality issues, irregular spectrum with blue peaking.. (from http://www.luminousdiy.com/):

LED spectrum

As do the alternative modular Red Green Blue LED bulbs, as seen from the excellent lighting comparative study diagrams on Gluehbirne.ist.org/

As for the issue at hand here,
there is more coverage of UV radiation and other health concerns, with research references and information on related skin and other disorders, on http://ceolas.net/#li18rx

Note that the double envelope CFL recommendation dates back several years from other studies...

BBC article extract, 9 October 2008:

UV light fear over 'green' bulbs

Being too close to energy-saving light bulbs could cause skin reddening because of ultraviolet light emissions, health experts have warned.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) cautions against being closer than 30cm (1ft) to some compact fluorescent (cfl) bulbs for long.

As a result of testing which revealed the potentially high levels of UV light, the HPA has issued guidelines against people using unencapsulated light bulbs - where the light coil is visible - closer than 30cms to the body for more than one hour a day.

Professor Harry Moseley, Consultant Clinical Scientist at the University of Dundee, said: "We are concerned about risks to patients who have severe light-sensitive skin disorders.
"The small levels of ultra-violet emitted by some low energy light bulbs could be harmful to these patients. I recommend use of lights with a protective shield to absorb the UV."
Experts stress that healthy people are at no risk providing the HPAs advice (above) is followed.

Also a similar EU Commission study 2008, albeit a typically poorly written EU report, seemingly drawing on other studies, and full of conclusions without presenting underlying data evidence (surprise, not).

In December 2009 The Canadian Federal Government Health Department finished a review of CFLs, again mainly relating to UV radiation, but other electromagnetic radiation was also studied.
The report mirrored the UK HPA findings:
"It is recommended that single envelope CFLs [classic tubular type lights] not be used at distances less than 30 cm to avoid any long-term health effects in the general population"

Note a certain irony here...
Double envelope CFLs protecting from UV light also means reducing their ordinary light output still more
There is other irony about CFLs already, eg leave them on, waste energy, switch them on-off, shorten their life...

Basically, bulbs are the wrong format for fluorescent lighting technology, best in long tube form, just like LEDs have natural lighting advantages in sheet form.
The CFL and LED natural advantages are compromised in offering politically pushed incandescent-copying lighting.

Flower Power

Some "light" relief....

A lot of power going into this flower
Be careful when picking it.. and don't drop it ;-)

CFL Flower

by Laura McNutt and Tracey Trumbull.
Source   http://timesfreepress.com/photos/2011/apr/19/43467/

Apropos Flower Power...
An English band with arguably the best Californian 60's vocal harmony song!


Monday, July 16, 2012

BULB Fiction

Updates 17 July, 18 July, 8 August, 9 August.
Also updated 2014 regarding DVD and online availability.

The documentary portrays the power and machinations of the light bulb industry, as well as the resistance against the "Directive for the regulation of lighting products in private households." It's about the profit greed of the industry and their lobbies, the entanglement of politics, the environmental hypocrisy, and about deliberate misinformation.

It is also about the fundamental question of whether the quality of the visual environment, and thus our quality of life, is subordinate to other concerns. The quality of surrounding light represents a value not to be underestimated, a value that one should not rashly sacrifice at the altar of a feel-good environmental conscience.
A fuller description can be seen towards the end of the post.

Having covered one online video light bulb documentary as originally in German, "The Lightbulb Conspiracy" by Cosima Dannoritzer (note: updated July 23), and indeed the recent Spring 2012 45 min 3Sat TV documentary Ausgebrannt - Vom Ende der Glühbirne (Burned Out - The End of the Incandescent), another one, which covers more issues, is "Bulb Fiction", made in Austria by director Christoph Mayr and by cameraman Moritz Gieselmann, who had the original idea.

Official film website Bulbfiction-derfilm.com, Google translation.
Fuller description of the film, in German, Google translation.

Alternative AustrianFilm site
Full press material in German .pdf format with pictures (alt link).
Similar, in sparser .doc format (alt link), Google translation.
Videotrailers "Trailer & Videomaterial" 14 videotrailers, listed by subject, .mov format
Audio clips "Soundbites", by the film director etc, .mp3 format
Photos "Bildmaterial", 53 photos from the film.

I originally heard of the Bulb Fiction film via Peter Stenzel in Vienna, Gluehbirne.ist.org website, which has good information and updates, including other trailers related to the film listed according to subject matter treated: in German, or with Google text translation.

This first video nicely introduces and summarizes the film.

Thanks to Howard Brandston for the tip about it, while Kevan Shaw of Savethebulb.org makes a distinguished appearance in the film itself, and indeed already in the trailer where he sees how bulbs are dealt with (not) at a supposed collection site!

The full 1 1/2 hour video below.

While of limited interest to English only speakers, it does contain some English language interviews and much graphical and other obvious information.
There is a DVD version via Amazon here. I am not aware of any English dubbed or subtitled version.

The original website (http://www.bulbfiction-derfilm.com/) has been abandoned and film-maker Moritz is linking to an online version, doing same below - it can also be seen via Vimeo here

Listing of the participants (bulbfiction-derfilm.com/protagonisten)
[or see Google translated English page version]

My translation of the film synopsis adding some own comments within the [ ] parenthesis:

2007 sees Greenpeace destroy 10 000 light bulbs in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with a road roller.
The same destruction would not have been possible with "energy saving" bulbs: The mercury contained in 10,000 CFLs is enough to contaminate 50 million liters of drinking water - apart from the acute health hazard for activists and bystanders.

Why Greenpeace together with the lamp industry in Brussels exerted considerable pressure to ban the bulb, is one of the questions pursued in BULB FICTION, the investigative documentary by Christoph Mayr.
[In the film, and in part 2 of this trailer (.mov), Dr Klaus Stanjek, researcher and filmmaker (Cinetarium.de, bilingual site) tells how he was commissioned by Greenpeace Hamburg to investigate the Fluorescent bulbs, but he found them to be energy wasting rather than saving. The study in German, functional English version (link credits, Peter Stenzel, Kevan Shaw). Not exactly what was "required"!]

From September 2009, incandescent lamps of 100W bulbs or more, are banned - like all frosted incandescent bulbs regardless of wattage.
From September 2011 the 60W lamp types disappear, and from September 2012 other regular incandescent types.
Mains-voltage halogen lamps have a grace period and are then banned from autumn 2016.
[EU regulations in more detail, Ceolas.net/#li01inx]

How did we get here?
The industry needs sales, NGOs must prove to their donors that they can put their concerns into visible action, while the majority of politicians just look at which way the wind is blowing, for them there is rarely such a good opportunity to be feted as climate change protectors, as otherwise they would be interfering with powerful industries or such lobby interests.

Almost all who deal with the subject of intense light and its effect on people, health professionals, lighting designers, biologists are against the ban on incandescent lamps. But since they don't belong to any of the big lobbies, their protests go unheeded.
In BULB FICTION they have their say.

Already in 2007, the cameraman and lighting designer Moritz Gieselmann heard by chance that incandescent bulbs would be banned from an employee of the lamp manufacturer Osram, but he thought it to be just a bizarre rumor - who could come up with the idea to ban such a well-established and popular product, the simplicity and elegance of the bulb is unsurpassed to this day: A metal mounting of a glowing tungsten wire in a glass bulb filled with inert gas or vacuum - that's it.
[Moritz Gieselmann: Adieu, gute alte Glühbirne, Adieu, good old light bulb]

Then in 2008, with the impending ban on incandescent bulbs becoming news in all media, Gieselmann begins researching, and what he finds gives rise to a growing skepticism about the compact fluorescent lamp. The information in the media is incomplete, and so comes about the idea of making a feature documentary on the subject. The writer and director Christopher Mayr, at first skeptical about whether the topic isn't too dry, is soon enthusiastic, and with Thomas Bogner, there is a dedicated producer, so in the fall of 2011, as the disappearance of the 60W incandescent lamp becomes a reality, Bulb Fiction hits the cinemas.
[Christoph Mayr about the making of the film: in German, Google translation]

By Regulation (EC) 244/2009 of the EU, the ban on incandescent bulbs and therefore the practical necessity of buying fluorescent lamps became official. Christoph Mayr wanted to talk at the time with the relevant EU energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. He refuses, pointing out he is no longer in charge of the department of energy. Günter Oettinger, his successor, also refuses, on the basis that he only came into office after the ban [so it had nothing to do with him].
The relevant top official of the EU, Andras Toth, was stopped by his Commission superiors from stepping in front of the camera.
Only Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for the EU Energy Commission, was allowed to answer the questions by Christoph Mayr. Because she is not very informed about the topic, she brings Andras Toth as an advisory prompter to help answer the questions - but he must not be filmed!

[So much for EU "openness, transparency and willingness to engage in dialogue"... the film also mentions how Osram, Philips, the EU commissioned VITO research organization, and the ELC light manufacturer cooperative (lobby) organization refused interviews]

That CFLs contain mercury, the EU knows full well. The fact that mercury is toxic, they know too, not for nothing were mercury thermometers banned, and indeed in the fall of 2008 in Austria and Germany, mercury thermometers were exchanged with alternatives for free.

The mercury in bulbs can be extremely toxic, is shown in BULB FICTION by the case of the four-year-old Max from Linden, an idyllic village in Upper Bavaria. After Max one night inhaled the gaseous mercury from the operation of a broken bulb, he gradually loses all his hair, even eyelashes and eyebrows, followed by tremor episodes and depression. Dr. Mutter from Constance, a specialist in mercury exposure, diagnosed mercury contamination, responsible in combination with other stress for these symptoms.
[UBA official German testing, on high mercury values from broken lamps, and other problems "DasErste, Plusminus: Glühlampen Verbot - Der Widerstand wächst", 2011 TV-report video in German]

Gary Zörner from Lafu Institute, who has long dealt with environmental toxins, sums it up: "Every tiny bit of mercury makes for a little bit more mental loss" - because it accumulates in the brain and nerve cells are destroyed, even if no limit is exceeded."

The limit of mercury in CFLs is a chapter in itself: it indeed exists, 5mg per lamp, but it isn't monitored. Christoph Seidel, spokesman of Megaman, which claims to be Europe's largest manufacturer of bulbs, says that one must trust the manufacturers, a control based on mutual trust...

VITO, the Belgian institute that has evaluated the lamps on behalf of the EU, reviewed the mercury content of a sample of just 5 (five) items. Here too no one wants to talk with Christoph Mayr.
[The VITO report: one of the five bulbs is seen to be over the limit at 6.4 mg, while some are only 1-2mg]

Dr. Georg Steinhauser, radiation physicist at the Technical University of Vienna, such a sample size is laughable and simply not serious. He determined to BULB FICTION the mercury content of a compact fluorescent lamp and criticized the official measurement method of the EU, which measures only the mercury adhering to the glass, but not the gaseous form, which escapes when the lamp is stripped down [for testing]: "It's as if to determine the amount of helium in a balloon I were to judge it on the basis of what adheres to the skin of the balloon."

VITO, which otherwise produced very optimistic results for the proponents of the ban on incandescent bulbs, estimates that 80% of the mercury from spent bulbs ends up in the environment.
[The film show that the EU Commission knew this from the VITO material presented to them, before a decision was made.
VITO "optimism" was surpassed by the Commission's own researcher Paolo Bertoldi in his final report, emphasising the "great savings" from directly pushing CFL replacements, more: Ceolas.net/#euban]

Once Europe is covered with compact fluorescent lamps, at least a million of these little poison containers must be disposed of every day. Multiplied by 5mg for each lamp, that means 146 tons of mercury spread everywhere in Europe.

But even the fifth of the burned-out bulbs which arrive intact at recycling plants, can do damage: Christoph Mayr does some film recording at the "Electrical Waste Recycling Group" in Huddersfield, England. The company was in June 2010 sentenced to a fine of 145,000 pounds, because of the mercury contamination of 20 employees, including a pregnant woman, from a long period of ventilation exposure of mercury. A former employee of the company says in the film that he one year afterwards still suffers from poor concentration, memory problems and depression.
[On Mercury clean-up and disposal procedures, Gad Giladi, former president of the Professional Lighting Designers Association is interviewed. He has a good paper covering this and other issues "Phasing-out” the Incandescents – Is the Public Misinformed or Disinformed?"]

Christoph Mayr does not let up.
Bulb FICTION leaves no question about saving light bulb and lamp unanswered.
In Berlin, he speaks with Helmut Höge of TAZ, who for a long time has extensively investigated Phoebus, the light bulbs cartel, founded in the 1920s. Phoebus was the first global cartel. It not only ensured the participating companies, including Osram, Philips and General Electric, profit margins and market share, it also ensured that the service life of incandescent lamps, 1500 hours during Thomas Edisons time at the end of the 19th Century, [2500 hours by 1924, 5000 hours in later examples] was comprehensively reduced to 1000 hours by 1935 [and has remained a 1000 hour standard] For member companies whose bulbs lasted too long there was an elaborate system of fines.

[Also in the film, interviews about the Phoebus (Phöbus) cartel with researcher Markus Krajewski - more about the Phoebus cartel and the continued manufacturer cooperation leading up to the incandescent ban in the USA as well as the EU, see http://ceolas.net/#phoebuspol]

In the early 1990s, Dieter Binninger, inventor and industrialist from Berlin, developed a light bulb that held the same performance as the conventional 1000-hour lamp, yet lasted for 150,000 hours. Just days after he has submitted a bid via a Trust for a former East German lamp factory, he died 1991 in a plane crash. The cartel researcher Rudolf Mirow wrote in 1992 to Birgit Breuel, the head of the Trust: "There is reason to believe that the same cartel members have now carved up the market of the new German federal states between them ..." In 1993, Mirow died in a car accident in Indonesia.

[The Binninger bulb sounds too good to be true, and this seems so.
The patent referred to in the film is DE 3001755C2. Can be looked up on Depatisnet, http://depatisnet.dpma.de, German Patent Bureau, Text of patent Verfahren zur Verlängerung der Lebensdauer von Allgebrauchsglühlampen
A comment on the patent, as from Rudiger Appel, 3Quarks.com Hamburg, here, and other sources:
Basically, the criticism is that the life increase is by lowering the voltage, but power consumption (and presumably the current) rises to maintain the same brightness, so the cost increases too. To replace a standard 100W incandescent light bulb with a Binninger bulb of the same luminosity, supposedly needs 150 W of electrical power. an increased consumption of 50 kWh, at a price of 0.20 € / kWh that is 10 € for the 1000 hrs of a normal bulb....
Interestingly, the opposite of raising operating voltage and lowering current for given wattage also increases lifespan while reducing the light output, eg some "rough service" type bulbs.
Also, US 110 volt mains operated 100W standard bulbs are brighter than European 220 volt mains ones, being closer to 150W European, but have 750 hr standard life compared to 1000 European (pre-ban), though of course other production factors like filament thickness etc may enter into it.
However, as the film says, long-lasting incandescent bulbs of all kinds have been kept from ordinary consumers, and recent incandescent energy saving inventions have not been pursued by major manufacturers either, given the more profitable switchover lighting alternatives]

BULB FICTION also discusses the biological and medical aspects of light, there are significant differences in the quality of light from regular incandescent light bulbs and that of fluorescent lamps.
Incandescent light bulbs are known as thermal radiators: A tungsten filament is heated until it emits light, analogous to the sun and fire. And as with the natural sources the light and heat are inextricably linked, so it is with the bulb. But when the lighting industry in the 1930s was looking for a technical-physical definition of light, it reduced the term "light" to the visually perceptible fraction of the sun's radiation. That infrared light, the invisible part of this radiation, has an effect on our organism is not disputed. What side effects the absence of infrared light can have, is still largely unexplored. Professor Richard Funk [website] is on the board of the Anatomical Institute of the University of Dresden. In 2009 he published a study in which he puts forward the hypothesis that blue components in light from new lighting sources, which are unaccompanied by infrared, can contribute to the emergence of macular degeneration in the eye. In experiments, he demonstrates that blue light can damage retinal cells, however, infrared stimulates cells to repair themselves.

[Funk, Wunsch, Lachenmayr Makuladegeneration & Energiesparlampen, Macular Degeneration & Energy Saving Bulbs The fact that fluorescents, as in the film, demonstrably lacks infrared radiation is typically commented "hey, look, no heat waste from them!" - as for example in this German ARD TV program "Kopfball" video (second half) - forgetting that the CFL heat output (80% v 95% incandescent) is internalized in the ballast, giving the greater unpredictable fire risk from the bulbs http://ceolas.net/#li18eax.
Moritz Gieselmann adds on his website "There is also a psychological factor: Since in the spectrum of light bulbs, the red components are underrepresented, the person perceives his environment as cool - and turns the heating up."
As Halogenica comments on the subject, this may also be a factor why resistance to the ban is greater in Northern Europe, the incandescent reddish warm light spectrum not desired in warmer climates, where people anyway spend less time indoors in smaller living areas and have less dark winters etc, http://ceolas.net/#li11x - frosted incandescent light bulbs, the first to be banned, are also much more popular in Northern than in Southern Europe, as I was informed by Osram and Philips sales departments]

The light of fluorescent lamps is missing not only in the infrared region, they have 3 or 5-energy peaks in the visible spectrum range, with darkness in between, as the physician, Dr. Alexander Wunsch, who has extensively looked at the health aspects of light, demonstrates.
The result is also poor color rendition - because objects can only reflect the light with which they are illuminated in the first place. From the lack of certain colors in the light, surfaces in these colors appear pale and washed out.
[More: Alexander Wunsch, Ja zur Glühlampe Google translation, from his Lichtbiologie (Light Biology) website]

Wolfgang Maes, building biologist from Neuss, tests the CFL on behalf of Ökotest, with startling results: The value ​​of the electromagnetic pollution is up to 15 times higher than allowed by the TCO standard for screen displays.

[Wolfgang Maes also demonstrates that CFL flimmering and flickering has not disappeared with the electronic ballasts as supposed, it is just not visible to the naked eye.
His paper Die dunklen Seiten der Energiesparlampen, summarized as a newspaper article, good run-through of CFL issues, the pdf document texts can be copy-pasted into Google etc translation services.
CFL brightness: Mr Maes measurements, like others, show the common CFL to incandescent 1:5 wattage assumption (eg 15W CFL supposed to be as bright as a 75W bulb) is more like 1:3 or generously 1:4
The film also points out that CFLs lose brightness with use, and interestingly, how old people's yellowing eye lenses absorbing blue light means the CFL's appear still dimmer to them]

In Brussels, Christoph Mayr speaks with Holger Krahmer [Holger-Krahmer.de, translated], a German MEP from Leipzig, who spoke out as the first European politician against the ban on the incandescent light bulbs. For him it is incomprehensible as being part of democratic politics, that it is politically decided which products may be used by citizens and which may not. The ban reminds him of the dictatorial planned economy of the GDR that he experienced [Leipzig is in the former East Germany]. Also a lot seen on a specific trailer (.mov) of his contribution.

Max Otte, financial journalist and professor of economics: "This Europe is a Europe of big business, that long since took over the reins of power!"

In the meantime, Sigmar Gabriel, German Environment Minister, allegedly one of the driving forces behind the ban on incandescent bulbs, handed out thousands of compact fluorescent lamps from Osram in the last federal election campaign.

Unswervingly Christoph Mayr pursues the investigative leads, meticulously all the details on the subject are edited together.

How to find the nearest collection point for electronic waste?
Not always as easy as one might imagine. Is really everything done to avoid the toxic mercury escaping into the environment?
(Kevan Shaw goes with a neatly packed fluorescent bulb to a disposal site... no prize for guessing what happens]

Do the high values given to the life expectancy of CFLs really hold up?
[No, as Kevan Shaw also points out... the reasons include that on-off switching in real life exceeds the 3 hour lab test cycles, and that brightness decreases with use, shortening effective lifespan]

Is the so-called quicksilver paradox true, that mercury-free incandescent bulbs are actually responsible for more mercury release into the environment via coal power plants than the mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps are responsible for?
[No, and never was, for many reasons, Ceolas.net/#li198x, Kevan for example pointing out how some coal mercury remains fixed in the burned ash and chimney (flue) wall]

What is the Heat Replacement Effect?
[The replacement by incandescent heat of room heat generated from other sources, the film mentions UK research (more on the topic http://ceolas.net/#li6x) and also how the effect increases with modern buildings... ironically all todays "energy saving insulation" as in ceilings and attics, increases such energy saving heat benefit, while use with air conditioning cooling of course is optional and might be preferred anyway for light quality etc reasons]

And what effect will the mercury lamps have for people in developing countries?
[The film illustrates with the situation in India, Christoph interviews Ravi Agarwal, founder of Toxics Link, amongst others who themselves report that Indian CFL industry puts consumers at great risk, average content per CFL found to be 21.2 mg, much higher than international standards... the film also shows how CFLs are openly dumped]

At the end of BULB FICTION the makers of Heatball [Heatball.de, smaller English version] present their campaign, turning the argument on its head that light bulbs give off 95% of the energy as heat radiation, in order to sell bulbs as small heaters that just happen to give off some light:
"Heat Ball is also a resistance against the disproportionality of measures to protect our environment. How can you seriously believe that we help save the planet's climate by using energy saving light bulbs, while allowing rain forests to wait in vain for decades for any real protection?"
The European-German bureaucracy are out of their depth in adequately trying to deal with these engaged citizens and their performance art, resorting to public order mandates, financial penalties, and seizure of the Heat balls.

Bulb Fiction,
is a film for engaged citizens who are not satisfied just to be angry about what is happening, but want to be better informed, helping them reach a more educated opinion of what this is all about.

Film Director Christoph Mayr sums up the experience...
end of his statement, my translation.

Having intensively pursued the subject, I am convinced that [EU] industry representatives, in our case the light bulb manufacturers, carefully plan what they do and are aware of the dangers of compact fluorescent lamps. I am equally convinced that the manufacturers try on the one hand to hide these dangers, and on the other hand to downplay them, should they become public.
The findings from my research are applicable in other areas. The topic "Energy saving light bulbs" is a great way to show the methods and the cold-bloodedness of major industries.

Is Bulb Fiction therefore a film about lamps? No, Bulb Fiction is a film about power and the abuse of power, about people who oppose large, powerful institutions, big corporations, and big government. Bulb Fiction is a film about moral courage and mature conduct. The film wants to be a dissenting voice to the already well underway mighty million costing advertising campaigns of the lamp industry, a voice of enlightenment, if you will.

Bulb Fiction tries nothing less than to bring light to the truth.

Christoph Mayr, September 2011

The Heat Ball campaign mentioned has been covered in several posts here,
the main ones being the last one here, and this here, "We want to shed more heat than light!", from which also the following...

"All the lads" behind the two ventures

Rudolf Hannot (Heatball), Christoph Mayr (Bulb Fiction), Siegfried Rotthäuser (Heatball),
and Moritz Gieselmann (Bulb Fiction)

How Regulations are Wrongly Justified
14 points, referenced:
Includes why the overall society savings aren't there, and even if they were, why alternative policies are better, including alternative policies that target light bulbs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

CFLs "All Fail" Study


As mentioned in the last post here, the Savethebulb.org blog has interesting recent research information, with the seemingly low savings from banning simple incandescents, as a UK Dept of Environment (DEFRA) study seems to confirm.
The study even suggested that households with CFLs use more electricity, albeit that it also highlights the need for further study.
Overall, much else is seen as relevant in lowering household energy use, apart from switching light bulbs.

Worthy of note is the other research mentioned on Savethebulb,
into the quality of CFLs on the UK market (and likely applicable in USA and elsewhere too).
This was also covered on the companion blog Send Your Light Bulbs to Washington (a blog being redeveloped via sylbtw.org, with better design options).

Quoting from the original SaveTheBulb blog post, added highlighting:

Much has been said about the quality, or lack thereof, of Compact Fluorescent Energy Saving lamps.
The EcoDesign [EU standard setting office] regulations made some effort to include quality criteria to answer criticisms by user groups. Each European country is supposed to undertake necessary market surveillance to ensure that the products placed on the market meet these quality criteria.
In the UK a new QUANGO , the National Measurement Office, (NMO) was set up to deal with this across all of the EcoDesign regulations. There was some discussion before it was set up as to what it would be doing in respect of the lighting regulations. So far it has undertaken one study on domestic lighting and the results were published here.

It was always acknowledged that there would not be sufficient funding to realistically tackle the vast number of lamps imported and sold each year, however this report really does show that quality standards are not being met and that NMO are taking a softly softly approach with suppliers rather than a strict an punitive approach. During the MTP consultation we were told that these studies on lamps would be annual however I had a conversation with a spokesman for NMO who absolutely refused to say if or when another study on domestic lamps would be taking place.

As things stand and from the meager evidence available I would say that, certainly as far as domestic lighting is concerned EcoDesign regulations are neither delivering the promised energy savings nor the guarantee of reasonable quality of lamps to the domestic market in the EU.

Kevan Shaw July 4, 2012

Looking then at the study by the National Measurement Office as mentioned

All bulb models tested were CFLs, 20 each, of 15 models...

"At the start of the project, fifteen models of lamp were identified according to risk, purchased in a batch of twenty and secured into evidence by the NMO. Once photographed and given individual codes the
lamps were transported to the Lighting Association for accredited testing.

The results of the tests showed excessive failures and high levels of risk within the domestic lighting industry. All fifteen of the lamps showed some area of failure, ranging from information displayed incorrectly on the free access website to an 85% failure on a switching cycle test."

[images here are not from the test report, but base burn is one failure cause]


While the National Measurement Office research, in its conclusions, therefore notes...

The project had successes.... with thousands
of lamps that did not meet current requirements being withdrawn from the marketplace

It does however overall play down the failures...

Further investigation into the areas of potential high risk highlighted by the testing process showed that most of the problems were minor with simple corrections and any other issues were addressed by working with industry towards a suitable and proportionate conclusion. None of the ‘failures’ originally detected were serious enough to justify being progressed to a legal outcome, and as demonstrated in Annex One the businesses within the lighting industry were willing to work with the NMO to ensure their lamps met with the requirements.

The "friendly face" National Measurement Office then becomes somewhat less friendly...

With many stages to the regulations for domestic lighting being implemented over the coming years, clearly there needs to be close market surveillance of the area. The results and signs from this project indicate that industry is managing changes, but that the NMO needs to closely monitor businesses choosing to stockpile their lamps. Whilst this may not be legislatively incorrect, it does not guarantee a fair market and negates the intentions of the Regulation. If stockpiling can be avoided, the NMO can continue its position providing a supporting role to businesses to ensure compliance across the market....

Now, on the one hand, lighting sales businesses should indeed not be stockpiling unsafe or "inferior" fluorescent lighting that does not meet stated specifications.
On the other hand, since new standards are also related to energy usage, it reflects
businesses also being prevented from selling such lighting, that they believe there is a demand for.

While this blog focuses on incandescent ban, there are plenty of other energy usage based bans on other lighting, notably on fluorescent T12 tube lighting, a popular thicker tube type not meeting new standards...but as always with certain advantages, or they would not be popular, and "need" banning.

The NMO report notwithstanding,
there is a certain worrying aspect to "quality" being judged by Government inspectors, rather than by Consumers on free markets that reward quality by increased voluntary purchases...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Politics, Science, and the Effect of Bans

Updated July 10, July 11

From Savethebulb.org
Some sections of the "Ecodesign Regulation Failure?" post (some added highlighting, as also with other quotes below).

We are now 3 years into the European ban on incandescent lamps. Has it achieved the promised goals of energy savings? By this time we would have expected there to be some evidence that energy savings would be apparent. Working with Catherine Hessett, Coordinator of the Spectrum Alliance and a professional statistician we took a look at the published electricity supply figures for the UK between 2009 , before the ban and December 2011 looking for some significant and identifiable energy savings. Well there was a reduction in energy use however this was more commensurate with the reduction in economic activity brought about by the economic recession so we concluded, if there was a reduction in domestic energy use then it was so slight as to have been negligible and certainly not as significant as the legislation promised.

Thanks to the assistance of David Martin, MEP we placed a written question to the European Parliament on this issue...

1. What monitoring has taken place to measure the effectiveness of this regulation in achieving its objectives?
2. What proof is there that the expected reduction in energy use attributable to this regulation is now being achieved?

We have now received the answer:

Answer given by M. Oettinger
on behalf of the Commission

"It is still premature to draw conclusions as regards the effectiveness of the Regulation on household lamps 244/20091 as major categories of incandescent bulbs are only phased out in September 2011 (60W) and in September 2012 (40W and below), with retailers allowed to sell their remaining stocks even beyond those dates.
The Regulation will – like other regulations in the frame of the ecodesign process – be subject to a review in the light of technical progress, at the latest five years after its entry into force (2014). During this review, the Commission will collect data in a systematic way that will allow to judge the effectiveness of the regulation.

Apart from the fact this does not answer either of our direct questions this seems to show that there has either been no work so far on this topic or the results are similar to those that we found in the UK, i.e. there is no discernible energy saving being generated by the ban. As the legislation has to be reviewed next year if the work is not being done now the results will not be available next year to consider in the required review.

One interesting and useful piece of research that has recently been published is the Household Energy Use Study commissioned by DEFRA [Note, DEFRA is the UK Governmental Environment Department,
the pdf seems slow to download, Kevan has kindly made this easier loading alternative available]. This studied energy use in 251 owner occupier households between April 2010 and April 2011. It makes fascinating reading and when the full data is made available as is promised will allow some further interesting analysis. Meantime there are some interesting points that can be gleaned from the report.

As has been shown in previous studies the amount of lighting energy used in households is far more dependent on behaviour than the type of lighting equipment used. Ultimately the length of time a light is left switched on has significantly more influence on total energy used than the wattage of the lamp. Another interesting point is that the proportion of electricity used in households for lighting is now being overtaken by that used for Audio Visual and Computers in the home. Despite this no one so far is proposing that plasma large screen tellys are banned in favour of LED types that use a fraction of the electricity!

UK Dept of Environment (DEFRA) Household Energy Usage Survey   [ref Save The Bulb]

Page 423, Conclusion

Conclusions and Recommendations

This project is one of the biggest measurement campaigns ever made in Europe to assess the energy saving potential of domestic appliances. The high number of households monitored and analysed gives an accurate overview of the electrical consumption and, more importantly, allows the calculation of potential savings:
• in England, the total potential annual electricity saving per household ranges from 491 kWh to 677 kWh depending on the type of household;
• this total potential electricity saving is a minimum value because lighting savings are underestimated;
• the priority actions that should be carried out for demand side management (DSM) concern cold appliances, lighting, audiovisual sites and computer sites:
− replacing the inefficient cold appliances with the most efficient models could save up to 358 kWh/year per household;
− choosing a laptop instead of a desktop and reducing standby consumption could save up to 128 kWh/year for the computer site;
− using only audiovisual appliances with a standby power of less than 0.5 W could reduce this consumption of this type of appliance by 111 kWh/year.
Therefore it is important to:
• Enforce the regulation that bans putting appliances on the market with a standby power above 1 W or even 0.5 W.
• Implement standby power management procedures for computer appliances using power managers such as ENERGY STAR®.
• Implement a national programme to address standby power in appliances that are already installed. The objective is to remove this standby power consumption by simply cutting the electrical supply of the appliances by using manual switches or standby power managers, which are generally very cheap devices.
• Intensify and accelerate the setting of stricter consumption norms, and energy label class A+ or A++ appliances should, in a very short period, become the standard, particularly for cold appliances and clothes dryers.


Good Savethebulb point about follow-up after the ban.

To begin with, regardless of savings - why continue a ban in a couple of years time, when the "switchover objective" has been achieved:
The ban proponents themselves keep saying "people only buy cheap bulbs out of habit, they will be happy to see the savings, they will like the new bulbs once they get used to them", etc etc.
Then new purchases of old style incandescents are supposedly few, and allowable.
"Energy guzzling" vacuum tubes were not banned just because transistors came along, and still have appreciated uses.

While a 2014 EU review is promised (much the same as the USA, for that matter) the desire for an unbiased review of actual savings seems in doubt, from the above blog post.
Perhaps not surprising.
In general policy making, politicans, their hangaround cronies and their expensive hired-in consultants rarely if ever seem to follow up on what their grand promises might achieve... what politician wants to be proved wrong?
If challenged, they mumble about checking it in future, i.e. when they are out of office, so someone else can carry the can.

It is interesting to compare Politics and Science regarding fact based evidence for action, and indeed the greater scientific emphasis on follow-up evidence of supposed results...

Relevant here is the Cambridge Network and their Scientific Alliance advisory forum mission

“Scientific advances have provided, and will continue to provide, solutions to many environmental problems.
While differences of opinion are welcome and, indeed, play a vital role in the development of both science and society, the Scientific Alliance is concerned about the many ways in which science is misinterpreted and at times misrepresented.
If optimal use is to be made of currently available resources, policies must be based upon sound and reliable information. The Scientific Alliance provides a forum for addressing environmental problems based on sound science.”

The line-up as seen includes a whole range of scientists.
Unfortunately, as recently highlighted by the BBC relating to the Higgs boson discovery,
few scientists get politically involved, hence the unscientific bandying about of big bulb ban savings figures without regard for overall facts...
Even when they are involved - who listens?
Sir Alec Broers runs the Cambridge Network, "Alec Broers (1992 Head of Cambridge University Engineering Department, 1998 Knighted for services to education, 2001 President of The Royal Academy of Engineering, 2004 Becomes Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, 2008 becomes Chairman of Diamond Light Source Ltd., United Kingdom’s largest new scientific facility for 30 years)".
Note, "Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee".

The token nature of the light bulb ban in terms of energy savings was pointed out by the Network in their September 3, 2009 newsletter, extracts:

" A study by VITO consultants showed the following breakdown of lamp use in European homes in 2007:
• 54% incandescent (down from 85% in 1995 and still decreasing)
• 18% low-voltage halogen (and increasing)
• 5% mains-voltage halogen (and growing)
• 8% linear fluorescent
• 15% CFL
So, if we assume that all remaining filament bulbs are replaced by CFL at some point in the future,
that these bulbs are used to the same extent as those they replace,
and that the energy reduction per bulb is 80%,
the total reduction in EU energy use would be
0.54 x 0.8 x 0.76% = 0.33%.
This figure is almost certainly an overestimate, particularly as the inefficiency of conventional bulbs generates heat which supplements other forms of heating in winter.

Which begs the question: is it really worth it?
The problem is that legislators are unable to tackle the big issues of energy use effectively, so go for the soft target of a high profile domestic use of energy... this is gesture politics

LEDs might be substituted for CFLs in some respects, but the principle still holds.
Interestingly, the DEFRA study is largely similar to the VITO findings (with similar mis-labelling, since "Halogens" are of course "Incandescents" too), with some more halogens replacing simple incandescents, as was predicted, and with marginal LED usage, figure 452 page 327.
In the EU, seemingly for political reasons, the original VITO study was discounted in favor of a Bertoldi study which showed a higher usage of regular incandescents, that "just happened" to deliver "big savings from a ban"...

Neither way actually justifies a ban:
A decreased use of incandescents = lowered energy savings from a ban,
while maintained use of incandescents, like temporary allowed halogens = what people want to use....

Again, regarding the Savethebulb blog post stating that lights left on waste more energy than the choice of lights, the DEFRA study page referenced has some confirmation:

A high lighting consumption can be the result of a household having a high installed wattage, for example having a lot of halogen or incandescent bulbs, or as a result of long periods of lighting use...
What can be seen is that the households with the highest lighting consumptions are not the ones with the highest installed lighting wattage
[And yet] households who have [the lower wattage] CFL light bulbs may also be more concerned about saving energy than those households that have fewer or no CFL bulbs, and they may be more careful about how many lights they switch on and the length of time they are used for...[a point of irony in that case, since switching CFLs on and off shortens their lifespan, and they also have a power on surge]

DEFRA actually finds that households with several CFLs are the ones using up most electricity.... seemingly more than pure incandescent or CFL households.
Perhaps not surprising:
The well known rebound effect of using products more if usage is cheaper may be playing a role
(as researched, http://ceolas.net/#cc214x).
Committed environmentalist households that even use CFLs in say bathrooms might be more conscious about overall energy use.

Apart from actual energy use, there is the additional moral aspect of what "waste" actually is:
Unnecessarily leaving lights on = a "waste" of energy
The personal paid for choice of what product to use = not a "waste" of energy

Also, as Kevan says in his blog post, and as the DEFRA and other studies also point out, there is plenty of other household electricity use that is more wasteful, whether heating, cooling, or "stand-by use" of electronic equipment, or the other product usage mentioned (see Table 36, page 422 in DEFRA study).

More succintly, ignored by DEFRA but supported by their time data, environmentally relevant energy use actually caused by lighting is negligible:
Off-peak power plant energy is "wasted" regardless of what light bulb you use, especially coal, the main relevant source that is supposed to be saved...
Again referring to the DEFRA study:
The lighting usage graphs show that most lighting use is after 7pm,
and "the main peak was always between 21:00 and 23:00"... hardly surprising perhaps, but comes back to the issue of night time coal power plants for operational reasons burning off surplus fuel no-one in effect uses, as covered more on a separate blog page and more still on http://ceolas.net/#li172x.
Again, towards the end of the DEFRA study, it shows that main household electricity consumption is around 5pm - and always much more before 7pm than after it.
This confirms the radical disjoint between main lighting consumption times, and overall main consumption times - and therefore how base loading power plants (like coal) burn much the same energy during lighting times, regardless of the lights being on or off.
Also, as peak time is 5-7pm when quicker firing gas and hydro turbines typically supplement base loading power, they again are hardly wasted by the mostly later lighting use, and in any case are of less environmental concern than coal.

So, as overall switchover energy savings are small anyway, and there is no future shortage of low emission and renewable electricity sources, it is all simply about unnecessarily forcing citizens to make choices they would not voluntarily make (or the regulations would not be "necessary" in the first place), "feel good" savings that certainly "feels good" for light bulb manufacturers hawking patented expensive alternatives.

Of course, if "saving electricity" really was such a big deal, then the price of it (or say coal) could be shoved up, or electricity rationed
- still allowing people to make their own choices about how to use it in their own homes.

The retort "It's just about light bulbs" can be turned into "They start by banning light bulbs"
given all the other planned legislation.... which, regarding the above blog post, in the EU includes plans concerning those plasma screens too, though not seen any updates to the initial announcement (2009 Telegraph article).
As always, banned products have their own usage advantages, with plasma screens in contrast, wide angle viewing, and less motion blur compared with similar size LED screens for their price.

"They impose what seems efficient, and forget what is effective"

Rather than politicians taking scientific advice,
scientists are instead themselves adviced to find "suitable replacements",
when the "best" replacement might be "no" replacement.
The natural Fluorescent and LED advantages, as Tube and Sheet respectively,
are largely sacrificed in pursuing their use as Bulbs to replace incandescents.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Light Bulb Hell and Heaven... or vice versa...

Took down the direct view flash program because of background music that could not be stopped, and might be conceived as arising from this blog!

From partnering blog Send Your Light Bulbs to Washington

Why roast in Incandescent Hell when you can go to the Fluorescent Heaven?

See the “Unscrew America” flash movie

Nicely done… pity about “wasting so much energy” doing it!

The supposed switchover benefits in that flash application are repudiated here, with institutional links:
Freedom Light Bulb, the Switchover Deception
The small switchover energy savings are specifically referenced here

Having no doubt had fun with blasting the incandescents,
some more fun finding them in hot hell... until you change the bulb to a beautiful squiggly job, and go to bulb-heaven.... where you can educate yourself about the good deed you have just done.
As mentioned, quite entertainingly put together, if somehow going the wrong way!

Flash application seen directly here - alternatively their homepage unscrewamerica.org has that flash application up front.
Click on the movie and then click on your spacebar for quicker navigation options.