Here are few links which contain numbers on savings in
of monetary cost end environmental advantage of modern light
From the environmental point of view, we do live at the era of
transition from the incadescent lighting to more efficent CF light
The environmental cost is not always exactly measured by the
purchasing cost, since some environmental loads do not show in the
For example, CF lights may contain mercury - a heavy metal, which
want to avoid using and throwing out, even if we, as consumers, do
immediately pay for that. But it is a good starting point.
So, as a first aproximation of the impact on environment it is
use the cost, the purchase price. First number we obtain on that is
cost of equipment is small, about 4% of the long term savings, when
switching fron incadescent to CF. Here is one example:
Cost of retrofit
At Western Power, energy savings were 391,600 kWh/year with lighting
levels increasing around 37%. They had a simple payback period of 11.8
months with a cost of $32,000 and energy savingsof $32,400/year:
Similar number come up, when we estimate cost of upgrade to modern
For example, $4,000 a year in lamp replacement costs may add up to
year in electric energy costs. The exact ratio will depend on the
kind of lamps used and energy costs in the area. Example and
calculator toold are here:
The saving apply not only to the light soirces but also to the
To help consumers to get oriented in the complex and confusing world,
US government (EPA and DOE) operate an energy star labeling program.
FACT: ENERGY STAR labeled lighting uses up to 75% less energy
standard lighting. When you save energy, you not only
on utility bills, but you also protect our environment.
For other tips
and ways to change the world, download our 2-page
Brochure for more information on choosing ENERGY STAR
The fall lighting promotion is part of ENERGY STAR's
US Government is not just preaching but also doing that:
and evaluationg the saving and environmental benefits:
Some of those numbers are impressive:
When just one room in every home is brightened by ENERGY STAR
the change will keep over 1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide out of
our air. A typical household spends $90 a year, or 10% of its annual
bill, on lighting. ENERGY STAR labeled lighting costs less than half
as much as traditional models to operate.
Coming back to energy cost of retrofit, here is that same question
posted in a discussion group:
"I'm less sure about the lifetime energy use of a CF relative
to its energy cost to manufacture, mainly because it uses such a small
amount of electricity. I'd still go with the compact fluorescent, in
of the real concern (mentioned by Mark Murray: "... watch all that
and all those resources ... get thrown into the environment ...")
Conclusion seems to be here too, that cost and ecological load to
manufacture is negligeable to saving of energy.
One disadvantage of CFs was lack of dimming and unnnatural colors:
The technology advance eliminated color limitations:
and produced CFs with dimmer
So, in conclusion, it would be possible to obtain breakdown of the
manufacturing cost, but very complex. Cost of mining the ore,
producing the metal, cost of workers driving their cars to
but it seems reasonable to estimate that by price. Not comparing
price of one old bulb to one CF, but comparing total cost of
by CFs to the old way. The new way wins on all fronts:
Electricity savings translates into preventing pollution -
for instance, the 275 million CFLs being used in North America
at the start of 2000 will prevent 3.5 million tons of
carbon and 69000 tons of sulfur emissions this year. CFLs also reduce
energy bills. In Scandinavia, for example, a user can purchase a
high-quality CFL for 1.50 euros (~US$1.50) from the retailer Ikea.
Average residential electricity in Denmark is 0.13euros/kWh
($0.13/kWh), thus the payback on a lamp burning 4 hours per day is
reached in less than six months. Looking at bulb replacement and
electricity savings over the 10000-hour life of the lamp, a CFL has a
net present value of 49 euros (about $49) - 12 times the price of the
and so on
The URL you mentioned gives 404 (not there) but I hope that the
and examples given above will be useful to your argument.
Clarification of Answer by
25 Oct 2002 08:24 PDT
this is a very interesting and important issue.
I usually suspect 'campaigns' but I admit that I have never
before questioned the 'advantages' of CFL. I see now that issue
is more complex than I thougt. In my second search I was looking for
'hard numbers' on the 'extended cost', which includes:
1 direct energy use,
2 selection of materials and equipment that minimise
3 allow for achieving a full useful life through ease of
4 provide an optimum quality of light for the users of the space
5 provide for re-use and recycling at end of life of the entire
6 consider quantity and materials of lamps and light sources
the life of the installation
I think that term 'imbedded energy' is more useful for
materials, particularly materials used in bulk (such as
building materials) than for fixtures, electronics...
I do not see any evidence cost is intentionally hidden.
It just is not easy to evaluate energy used in all hunreds
of parts, chips, plastic boards etc.
This university study says the key to retrofit planning is
'proper disposal' of waste:
(section with header
Fluorescent Lamps has 3 pdf reports).
Here are the US federal rules on disposal of FL tubes:
Both lighting upgrades and routine maintenance entail the removal
of lamps and ballasts from the system. These lamps and ballasts must
disposed of according to state and Federal regulations; if they
then the stricter regulations must be obeyed. Mercury-containing
and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and PCB-containing ballasts
types of potentially hazardous waste.
Cost of disposal:
and here are data on ballast disposal (including PCB issue)
and info from EPA :
In this (commercial) calculation the extended cost is
missing in calculation, but they have an paragraph on the
disposal process improvement (low Hg, etc):
Here are some numbers on mercury, ballast waste and new technology
With such corrections, the cost of retrofit appears to be a good
quantitative measure of environmental costs.
I have find one (software) program which promises to calculate cost
Apparently some companies are beginning to pay attention to cost
of transportation and packaging:
Here are some numers on cost installation:
It is not 'An Inexact Science'
and many aspects are a subject of current research:
Research in EU
and fast changing technology:
Some numbers and references on efficacy can be obtained
from case histories of retrofits and designs of energy efficient
Lighting Makeovers: The Best Is Not Always the Brightest
Kathryn M. Conway is the editor-in-chief at the Lighting
Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New
York. She co-authored The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes
from which this article is adapted.
Here is a case history where cost reported is:
The total average unit cost, including labor, material, permitting
and management was $48.23 per
fixture. They offer more info by e-mail.
Studies of retrofit which promise to evaluate full costs
Case history of a new building striving to reduce the embodied
energy (may contain specific numbers and ideas)
more on the electronic ballasts (DIMMABLE)
This is a complex issue, which indeed requires a professional
of an experienced designer.
I am glad that people like you are analysing
these issues and hope that some of the references shown may
If and when I get answers from some queries I made, I will post
Since time is at premium, I am posting this partial
list of references for your perusal.