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

Friday, April 4, 2014

Double Dumb IKEA 2016 LED Bulb Policy

short version (11 secs)

full version (1 minute 1 second)

IKEA, as some may know, made a big noise about not selling incandescent light bulbs a while back, pushing fluorescent bulb replacements - ahead of any government ban.

Fluorescent bulbs have come under increasing criticism, with LED bulbs becoming the new rage:
So IKEA then make a big noise about how they are not going to sell either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, only selling LED bulbs from 2016 - again ahead of any government ban.
The above video arises from a commercial currently running in Europe, though the policy was announced in 2012 (LEDs magazine article)

IKEA are of course perfectly free to sell what they want:
But normally stores don't promote sales based on excluding alternatives.
IKEA effectively say that people are too stupid to choose themselves - so IKEA will choose for them!

Unfortunately LED bulbs themselves are increasingly being shown to have several problems,
as per official studies.
Hence the acknowledging of problems in an 11 point rundown in recent weeks, just as the IKEA ad is running...
LEDs Magazine article March 2014, point title extracts quoted below.
LEDs magazine, as linked before, is obviously in favor of LED technology, so the media source is interesting of itself.
As is the author: "James Broderick is the lighting program manager at the US Department of Energy." Of course he believes the problems will be solved, he could hardly keep his job otherwise in the ban-promoting Department...

Lesson 1:....testing requirements necessary to counter exaggerated claims of performance by some manufacturers ...led to high testing costs.

Lesson 2: Despite the promise of long life, there’s no standard way to rate the lifetime and reliability of LED lighting products.

Lesson 3: Although specifiers prefer complete families of products, the rapid evolution of LED technology presents a challenge to manufacturers in creating and maintaining complete product lines.

Lesson 4: The range of color quality available with LED lighting products, and the limitations of existing color metrics, may confuse users.

Lesson 5: The color delivered by some LEDs shifts enough over time to negatively impact adoption in some applications.

Lesson 6: Some LEDs flicker noticeably, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications.

Lesson 7: LEDs can cause glare, which may negatively impact adoption in some applications.

Lesson 8: Achieving high-quality dimming performance with LED lamps is difficult....

Lesson 9: Greater interoperability of lighting control components and more sensible specifications of lighting control systems are required to maximize the energy savings from LED lighting

Lesson 10: Lack of LED lighting product serviceability and interchangeability has created market adoption barriers in certain sectors.

Lesson 11: Existing lighting infrastructure limits the full potential of SSL; more effort is needed to open the doors to new lighting systems and form factors.

That follows on from several other LED issues highlighted,
eg French official Health Agency ANSES that keep complaining that EU have not acted appropriately regarding point source glare, blue light and other possible problems...
"Effets sanitaires des syst√®mes d’√©clairage utilisant des diodes √©lectroluminescentes" arising from a large cross-disciplinary study.

Given the IKEA "green" tone, LED environmental issues should particularly be noted.
Thereby another large cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional study, this time by UC Davis (California USA) and others, showing LED problems from another angle, their great complexity using up rare earth mineral resources, and their toxic mineral content.
As per Scientific American article and references, "The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs""

This is only the beginning, because the life cycle energy use and emissions of LEDs, (beyond the usually only considered assembly stage), includes raw material mining, component manufacture, assembly, recycling (as recommended per studies) and, not least, transport in all stages.
Much CFL/LED manufacture is outsourced to China, so considerable transport in the distributive phase alone - on bunker oil fueled ships. More on these issues via end link below.

So much for "IKEA green policy"

The overall point is of course that all lighting has advantages and disadvantages, also environmentally.

Yes, incandescents use more energy on side-by-side comparisons.
But they also have limited life cycle energy use (also from being patent expired and simple, so more easily made locally by small firms - sustainably!).
The energy use is mainly off peak night time anyway when surplus electricity capacity available and same coal (the main "culprit") usually burned with effectively same emissions regardless of bulb used at such main times, since turning coal plants down and up again to daytime levels is operatively slow and expensive (wear and tear etc) as amply referenced in the 14 point rundown linked at the bottom of this post.

fluorescents have been castigated on well known mercury and radiation issues, but have their useful and far greater energy saving application as long tubes rather than bulbs, in situations where light left on for relatively large areas for long periods (office areas, also some kitchens)

LED technology, while having the environmental and other issues mentioned, is mainly useful as sheets, as originally applied, rather than incandescent-clone-bulbs, that IKEA are now happy to solely promote.

On an IKEA petty pointless ban-happy attitude, presumably they should soon turn to selling candles.
But then candles, apparently, have a relatively high CO2 related index and their own environmental issues, taking in any use of animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax.

IKEA unsurprisingly want good publicity given multiple investigations into cheap labour, child labour, political prisoner labour etc they have apparently used...

The irony of using a green forest in the video:
Given all the wood IKEA uses for furniture and the issues from that, with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Feb 2014 just as the ad is being shown, withdrawing certification for the IKEA forestry company (Swedwood) on grounds of malpractice.
Also earlier alleged illegal logging from Chinese suppliers, as covered in the first labour link above.
Also more on using old forests in Finland and Russia.... etc as per online search.

In fairness, nearly all big multinationals come in for criticism one way or another, as per Nike and other scandals, given the difficulty there may be of following the supply chain and everybody involved.

But trying to score some sort of compensating environmental "brownie points" by jumping on the bulb ban bandwagon can and should backfire on the basis of what is, and is not, relevant and true.

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.

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