With more and more countries choosing a total ban on incandescent lighting what will the future hold for the lighting in our homes and businesses? With the demise of incandescent lights and the environmental problems that disposing of florescent lights poses the future is now looking even brighter for LED lighting technology. LED lighting is now being accepted as the mainstream environmental lighting solution.
“..the mainstream alternative to incandescent lighting is being hailed as LED lighting..”
Incandescent lights are already being gradually phased out in the United States and were banned in Australia back in 2009. The basic technology for incandescent bulbs is 125 years old. Fluorescent bulbs use only 20 percent of the energy that an incandescent bulb uses, meaning household energy costs would be lessened by two-thirds with the new plan. There are, however, serious environmental problems caused by the incorrect disposal of florescent lighting tubes.
Here in the UK the story is the same. EU rules resulted in a phasing out period of incandescent lights which began in 2009. Since then most variants of the incandescent light bulb have already been banned and, just as in other parts of the world, the mainstream alternative to incandescent lighting is being hailed as LED lighting.
“The basic technology for incandescent bulbs is 125 years old.”
Incandescent lights are obsolete. But fluorescent lights contain toxic levels of mercury that pose a serious risk of harm to the environment. The most environmentally friendly and cost-effective lights are LED lights, which use far less electricity than any other type of light. A mass transition to fluorescent lights will only result in an environmental crisis as mercury-laden fluorescent bulbs are dumped in landfills where their mercury can seep into groundwater supplies.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 800 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of every year. It only takes a single gram of mercury to contaminate a two-acre pond and cause potential ecological damage through water pollution. Therefore, 800 million lamps produce enough mercury to contaminate about 20 million acres of water. When the bulbs are recycled, a special hazardous waste company generally carries out the process of collecting the unbroken bulbs, crushing them and capturing both the remaining mercury gas and the spent mercury solids. But most compact fluorescent lights simply end up in landfill and are not recycled at all. That’s because most consumers simply throw them in the bin rather than recycling them. Fluorescent lights also burn out quickly (often in 1,000 hours), whereas LED lights will last 50,000 to 100,000 hours (a lifetime, for many applications).
“..fluorescent lights contain toxic levels of mercury that pose a serious risk of harm to the environment.”
Inefficient lighting consumes enormous amounts of energy that is essentially wasted. LED lights use only 1/10th the energy of incandescent bulbs, even while producing the same amount of light. Reducing CO2 emissions will require every single nation to completely ban incandescent lights and move towards an environmental lighting solution.
“LED lights use only 1/10th the energy of incandescent bulbs, even while producing the same amount of light.”
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