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By Russ Finley on Jun 14, 2015 with 42 responses

The Death of the Florescent Shop Light


I’ve recently discovered the reasonably priced LED shop light. “Big whoop” you may be thinking. It’s a bigger whoop than many realize, especially for me. Just for the fun of it, I measured the current draw of one of my old shop lights and one of the new LED versions. The LED lights use 66% less energy. This won’t make a meaningful, or possibly even a measurable difference in my electric bill but to put this into perspective, if you could achieve that level of efficiency improvement for all lighting in the country, from a CO2 emission perspective, it would be roughly equivalent to replacing about 7% of our fossil fuel power plants with renewable green lower CO2 emitting electrical energy sources, without having to build a single nuclear, wind, hydro, or solar power plant. That’s more than today’s total for wind and solar combined. Put yet another way, that is equivalent to about 1,000 utility scale wind projects (48,000 wind turbines), or about 36 nuclear power plants. But before you toss back that shot of whiskey in celebration, understand that the 66% reduction I achieved with my shop lights would not apply to all lighting across the country.

Just last year the Nobel Prize was awarded to the three Japanese scientists responsible for creating the version of diodes that is used for lighting today.

The only downsides of note I found (and I’m sure there are more) are the fact that insects are more attracted to diode lights and that they don’t generate enough heat to melt the snow when used as traffic lights (easily resolved by not using diodes). The insect problem appears to be potentially serious because insects are the key to nature’s food webs and I would hope that laws could be made to minimize their use outdoors where that is a concern.

Sigh …always the downsides. I recently read a book written by a retired Everglades wildlife ranger. Towards the end of the book he noted how much has changed. He recalled how the proprietors of the fishing camps had to use push brooms to clean the piles of insects off the sidewalks under the porch lights every morning. Now, you may see a single moth or two flittering around those lights (mosquitoes are not attracted to lights). I recall as a child, the big outdoor light at my uncle’s farm attracting a riot of insects and bats every summer night. The Luna moths were my favorite. That farm, and the area around it, has since become a well-groomed, insect free, grassy place filled with second homes.


Luna Moth Photo courtesy of jayhuggins via Flickr Creative Commons

The shop light story begins in my man-cave (these used to be called workshops, or garages). A typical man-cave is unfinished, unheated (or barely heated), poorly lighted, with a concrete floor, oh, and with lots of spiders around …all necessary evils to limit female encroachment. It takes twenty four, four-foot long, 40-watt fluorescent tubes to light this space. At any given time, a third of them were either dark, or flickering. In a corner sat dozens of burned out bulbs waiting to be taken to a hazardous waste disposal site. I have managed to break these bulbs uncounted times with an errant  2 x 4 or whatever, having the glass and mercury sprinkle down on my head. I hated these lights but could never come up with a better alternative until about a month ago.



A few times a year I would do a Google search for reasonably priced LED alternatives, but always came up short. On my latest attempt I discovered these lights for $59.99 at Home Depot and immediately bought twelve of them. The price, of course, has since dropped to $49.99. Always watch for when I buy a new piece of technology, be it a digital camera, an electric car, or LED shop lights because very shortly afterwards, the prices of those objects will plummet.

I looked up an equivalent conventional shop light at Home Depot that goes for $19.99 without bulbs. Screw the cost difference. I won’t have to replace a fluorescent tube, or any shop light for the rest of my life. And if I put a price on my labor and cuss words, these LEDs are a financial bargain as well.


The standard shop light design has been around for many decades and consists of a relatively heavy sheet metal (steel) reflector with the heavy ballast also contained in a sheet metal enclosure, all hanging by chains and hooks. The design I chose is made entirely of plastic and weighs about as much as my coffee cup. Instead of chains, it comes with a cable that connects neatly to the light in a slot, with a loop on the other end for a hook on the rafters. It can also be mounted flush to the rafters without any cables or chains. I’m impressed that some creative engineer finally got around to improving the shop light. Now for the mousetrap.

The death of the curly bulb (CFL compact florescent light)


As a home owner, I’ve always also cursed the incandescent light bulb. It seemed like I was on a ladder or chair every other week or so, replacing another damned bulb. Many years ago, Seattle distributed free of charge, those newfangled curly bulbs to try out. The idea was to reduce energy use to avoid building more power plants. I threw mine away after trying it for a few weeks. It started out very dim, took too long to warm up, and had a strange color. The government effort to accelerate acceptance of this new technology backfired. I was soured on those bulbs for longer than I should have been. Eventually, you could buy any number of white color variations and the warm up period was greatly reduced. Once I discovered that, I quickly replaced all of my incandescent bulbs simply because the curly bulbs lasted far longer. As with my shop lights, saving money or the planet had little to do with it.


Phillips LED $3.97

 Lo and behold, earlier this year Seattle sent me, free of charge, an LED bulb to try out. I was skeptical but replaced the next burnt out curly bulb with it and have been very pleased with the results. I’m done buying, and most importantly, replacing curly bulbs, or any bulb for that matter.  I’m certainly not an expert on LED lighting, and I’m sure there are better products out there than these few I’ve recently stumbled on. I’m just very pleased with my new shop lights and wanted to share. It’s a glorious new age ; )

To transform global energy generation away from fossil fuels, we will need many more technological + economical leaps like LED lighting. The LED is an example of what the Google engineering team meant when it concluded that we need better technology; today’s renewable and nuclear technologies combined won’t cut the mustard. I used the data from the 2015 BP Statistical Review to create the following charts in an attempt to put the scale of the challenge into perspective.


 The top curve represents total global energy consumption and the two lower curves represent total global solar and wind energy consumption over the last 50 years.


The top curve represents the sum of the four main low carbon sources of global electricity as a percent of total electricity consumption. Note that the sum of those four low carbon sources is less today than it was thirty years ago. No progress has been made. In fact, we’ve been losing ground for the last twenty years. Can you spot the reason why?


  1. By Forrest on June 15, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Sad, and the 2rd indication that typical Left Environmentalist do not believe Global warming is a threat, fore if they truly did they wouldn’t be so choosy upon powerful solutions. No, they only desire their Utopian solutions and the need to completely control economic activity from central control. The 1st indication, a few years ago, when controlling reigns of government when they chose to blow past transformable Global warming solutions to long held desires to centralize control of health care. Actions speak louder than words and I’ve noticed that before public started to wholeheartedly accept biofuels per cost, benefit, and steadily improving technology they spun around, attacked, and aided petrol in demonizing the fuel. What the heck? Whats up with that? Answer- they don’t truly believe the global warming hype themselves and only promote GW concerns to improve their political power and solution desires.
    LOL, “the two lower curves represent total global solar and wind energy consumption over the last 50 years”.

    • By Riggald Eux on September 16, 2015 at 3:55 am

      In the UK, we have long had centralised control of health care. This was because we thought it only right and proper that veterans returning from war would return to a society where they and their loved ones would be looked after if they were sick, without worrying about price at moment of need.

      The result – the entire population covered for the same price/person as the US spends on Medicare/Medicaid and longer life expectancy in the UK than in the USA.

      So – we solved that problem decades ago, and have no need to, as you put it, “blow past transformable Global warming solutions to long held desires to centralize control of health care”.

      And yet, UK climate scientists still have thermometers which are showing higher average temperatures now than 100 years ago, with frequent record high annual average temperatures in recent years.

      • By Forrest on September 16, 2015 at 7:38 am

        Good for you. I didn’t know U.K. solved health care costs by central control. That would be good news to those whom are attracted to socialized solutions as history is replete with just the opposite. Most of us have the experience of losing control, quality, and not respected as a customer when the bill is paid by some nebulus unlimited wealth entity. Consumers of such services care not to control expenses and demand most expensive solutions. Workforce usually Unionizes and become loyal and beholding to union organizers, politics, shenanigans, corruption, work slowdowns, walkouts, work stoppage, and strikes as they benefit from unlimited wealth of taxpayers. They benefit from slowing down and hiring ever more union employees. They lose incentive to improve or offer cost efficiency, better service, and training. The workforce is in battle to hold up citizens for ever more wealth. Central control has terrible management skills and again not concerned of expenses as they are not paying the bill, not part of the system they initially created, do not share in performance of an improving system. The system is managed by politics upon committee all of which is a harbinger of inferior decision making. Cost may decrease, but at a greatly decreased level of service and quality. But, even at that the cost will soon surpass open market solution’s as within open markets the customer is always right. Meaning if business leadership can provide a better cost and service they win market share.
        In U.S. we had full Democratic control of federal government upon populous movement of “Yes we Can” campaign. As you know, the Left continuously spouts the most concerning and threatening challenge we have is GW. But, what did they attempt upon full control of government? Centralized health care and accomplished the task on full partisan ranker. They shoved the unwanted solution down the throats of roughly half the population that hated such solution. They wasted all of the political power upon the endeavor and accomplished little else of significance. The legislation and laws had to be reinvented many times to make the solution workable. Actual costs haven’t been near to anything close to political rhetoric promises. The program is suffering huge drop in approval. Medical doctors are leaving the profession or going to practices not controlled by gov’t regulation. Regulations costs driven ever higher by another bureaucratic layer. The “free” health care insurance solution is already headed directly to path of bankruptcy. I guess the U.S. needs to double down and go to complete socialism to realize the expectations of “free” healthcare. Is that when the Harry Potter like magic kicks in?

        • By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm

          Some things are better centralized, some are not.

          Health care is better centralized. So are railroads. So are roads. So are water supplies.

          Some things are better distributed, not centralized. Agriculture is one example. Electricity is another.

  2. By rlhailssrpe on June 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Forget lighting technology. What is absolutely needed today, is for Seattle to mail me a check. Free. I prefer a wire transfer. Going to the bank is so yesterday. They should pay for it by levying a city tax. (I do not live in Seattle.)

    LEDs are more efficient at first but they degrade with time, get dim, turn brown, perfect for a man cave. (This was true ten years ago, when I assessed them, smart engineers may have improved the technology.) And if you pay for them, watch the cost.

    Cost dictates the global energy usage. Carbon combustion generally is cheaper (Uranium fission has limited applications.) Solar and wind would not exist for base loaded supply without government giveaways. They must drop the cost to compete.

    (Please add titles to the curves. Is that thirty years ago, or thirty years from now? And what does Series1 mean? I am so yesterday.)

    • By Dixie_Pixie on June 15, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Series 1 is coal / oil / gas generated power.
      In short carbon based power generation which the Environmentalists are trying to demonize out of existence.

      • By rlhailssrpe on June 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

        Thank you.

        You are correct, the graphs clearly show that if carbon combustion is cut back, mankind will suffer the loss of juice, because low cost energy will vanish. This reality is ignored in the climate change debate.

        • By Dixie_Pixie on June 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm

          Your wlcome Rlhailssrpe.

          The entire Global Warming / Climate Change debate is a propaganda scam to enrich the Environmentalists by putting them in control of Energy Production using quasi-religious justifications.
          It is a “Social Cause” that combines Crazy, Greedy and Self-Delusion in one package.

          What the Environmentalists ignore is our current civilization thus population is sustained by carbon-based energy sources.
          Any diminishment of such energy sources indirectly diminish our civilization thus harming the general population.
          A classic case of the few enriching themselves at the expense of the “People” using outright propaganda.

          What they are attempting is generally called “Evil” for good reasons hence the Environmentalists major efforts to delude themselves and the public.

          • By Carney3 on July 22, 2015 at 10:30 am

            It’s paranoia to seriously think that every major scientific body, every major peer reviewed publication, every major research university, and the near unanimous crushing majority of every accredited working climatologists, not only in America but in every nation around the world, are all part of a multi generational mult lingual inter continental conspiracy to trick American taxpayers out of more money than we would otherwise pay. That thousands upon thousands upon thousands of scientists, the MAJORITY of scientists in influential positions, get up in the morning with the deliberate intention of betraying science and basic decency as part the biggest hoax in human history.

            It may be the case that efforts to mitigate or reverse global warming will be expensive or require more government intervention in the economy than American free marketeers like. It may be the case that fossil fuels are cheap and convenient in the short term and in the narrow picture.

            But to claim scam and conspiracy is just nuts.

            • By Dixie_Pixie on July 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm

              Greetings Carney3
              Did I hit a nerve ?

              It is not paranoia when “they” are out to loot your wallet.
              It is a survival instinct.

              Yes “Environmentalism” is a scam and a world-wide conspiracy.
              That has been well documented in the open literature.

              Its a on-going fraud that exists because Western style Governments found it to be profitable as a means of economic control and exploitation.
              Enjoy…TANJ !

            • By Carney3 on July 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

              Who are “they”? Tenured university researchers? Civil servants? Their jobs and salaries are by definition secure and unaffected regardless of what they report the data to be (warming, not warming). So the incentive to engage in such serious and blatant dishonesty is lacking, even if the dishonesty needed do it was as widespread as would be necessary. In fact, since the scientific consensus is so overwhelming, the incentives are all the other way, with whoever can CREDIBLY demonstrate that somehow the MANY MANY lines of evidence proving global warming are ALL false – that man would be a worldwide celebrity and wealthy from book sales, interview rights, lecture appearances, and, of course, a sinecure from the fossil fuel industry. Oh, THERE’s a group whose financial future is directly affected by the outcome of this debate. A tenured scientist or civil servant will get his paycheck and pension no matter what the data says, but an coal company executive won’t! So the coal executive has a huge incentive to fund fake studies and fringe groups pretending to be legitimate (the way quacks peddling snake oil cure-alls set up legitimate sounding medical institutions and journals).

              Not to mention, the risk. How can you get a lying paper cleared in anonymous peer review in a legitimate scientific journal, a paper that blatantly contradicts physical reality? And how can you find collaborators? If you’re a cheat and a liar at heart, whom do you approach with such a mad scheme without worrying that he’ll report you?

              Of course, I’m making the huge error of trying to reason with a paranoid crackpot.

            • By Riggald Eux on September 16, 2015 at 3:44 am

              What has been even better documented in the open literature is:
              1) that green-house gasses (GHGs) exist (discovered in the 19th century)
              2) how much GHG effect different gasses have (e.g. methane is ~60 times as powerful as CO2)
              3) how much GHG emissions from human sources there have been in recent centuries, and the changing concentrations in the atmosphere
              4) how much human-produced GHGs have been released compared to natural sources
              and crucially
              5) changes in average temperature over the past century+, whether you listen to the UK’s Met Office, or the US NOAA, or US’s NASA, or Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, or many other temperature-logging organisations.

              Please note, many of the organisations (or their precursors) were logging temperature prior to the last century’s sudden, sharp, continuous average temperature rise, and therefore get paid whether temperature goes up, down or stays the same.

            • By steve on November 14, 2015 at 10:52 am

              Then explain why any scientist or study that shows man made climate change is not real is de-funded. why is that?? could have something to do with the scientific communities findings don’t you think? The government defunding of any study that disproves man made climate change was not hid it was openly stated by our government. very nice then for 2 reasons the only financing of the non man made climate change studies are now funded by large companies that can be painted as biased. and all scientist that need funding from the unbiased (really??) government “prove” man made change or no money is the outcome really in doubt in that situation, and is it real? why not fund all studies and get to the real finding.

          • By Gino on September 28, 2015 at 12:33 am

            Yes, those filthy “Environmentalists” are the ones who are “greedy”. Yes, that’s their motivation. Not keeping the oceans from dying and other such lies. I’m with you.
            I am placing MY trust in Exxon and the Republican party. Every scientist on earth is just a greedy liar.

        • By Gino on September 28, 2015 at 12:30 am

          Low cost carbon based energy is disappearing anyway. All the cheap, easy to get to gas and oil has been harvested. So don’t imply that the choice is between expensive renewable energy and fossil fuels, which you assume will always be as cheap as they were at their cheapest. The “reality” is that wind and solar get cheaper every year, and will continue to do so, while fossil fuels will get more and more expensive to extract, as we have to work harder and harder to extract them.
          The other “reality” is that fossil fuels are wreaking havoc on the planet. You don’t have to be a flower child to be concerned about this. This reality you don’t mention.

          • By rlhailssrpe on September 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm

            At the present rates of consumption, with expected increases in the use of carbon fuels, the US has centuries of resources at commercially recoverable extraction prices. There is no looming scarcities.

            From the German experience, the first nation to aggressively push green energy, their electrical costs have skyrocketed. They are the highest in Europe and would be even higher if they stop importing US coal. There are fundamental technical limitations in every green energy which results in very high cost for base loaded supply. For most advanced societies, only carbon combustion and to a limited extent, uranium fission, can meet this need at sustainable prices.

            Our terminal issue is the danger of CO2 to the climate. If it is real, there is no answer. Billions will die. The source emitters are in Asia. America will become increasingly irrelevant as an emitter.

            I engineered a score of US nukes and two score fossil fuel power plants and spent decades assessing advanced technologies.

            • By Gino on September 29, 2015 at 2:09 am

              I would love to have the opportunity to have a much more in depth discussion with you on this subject. We view this subject so differently, that it is surprising to me that two educated people could reach such different conclusions. I do have some substantial criticism of your response to me.

              First, I think your conclusion that the world could not be powered by renewable energy is simply wrong. Maybe it won’t be. But you don’t just get to wave your hand and say “I’ve checked it out, it’s not possible.” Now whether the world will get together on the idea is a separate matter. Politically, it may be impossible, no matter how great the need to do it.

              But lets look at some of your conclusions and pronouncements.

              1. The US has centuries of resources at commercially recoverable extraction prices. A. No we don’t. I mean centuries? The very idea is preposterous. Do you know how much oil we have pulled out of the ground in the USA in the last 100 or so years? Do you know how much is left, and how difficult and expensive it is to get? B. Are you assuming that the price of renewables will not continue to drop every year as scientific advances continue, unabated? How far has the price of solar, as just one example, come down in the 40 years since the technology to do it was first created? 100 fold. Although it won’t drop as rapidly from this point on, the increases in effeciency, from everything that’s being written, will continue, and be substantial. The people I’ve read with your point of view treat renewables as if they know that the price will pretty nearly remain where it is. This is not true. It will get cheaper and and cheaper. In many places, even in the US, it is cheaper to than fossil fuels NOW. And when they pick the lock on battery storage, there will be no stopping it. It will be like a giant wave. The whole thing reminds me of two people standing beside a dirt road, looking at the first motorcars going by and saying “Yeah, but those ridiculous contraptions could NEVER replace the horse.” Well my friend, fossil fuels are the horse.

              2. In your second paragraph, you say that only fossil fuels and fission can meet this need at sustainable prices. Maybe today, but not tomorrow. Germany is doing so much with wind and solar while having wind and sun exposure that is inferior to almost every major economy on earth, they are paying more, but they value the benefits clean energy provides. You talk about it like it is some sort of failure when it is a success story.

              You probably already know, that in some places, like Hawaii and Australia, (I understand that these places are atypical) the only thing keeping those places from being almost completely solar powered for 100% of residential and a portion of commercial electircity is government policy. The Conservative government led by recently deposed Tony Abbott was completely hostile to solar in an environment where the population would better and more cheaply served than with fossil fuels. In Hawaii, 100% of residential electricity could easily and more cheaply be handled by solar. I’m thinking that you must be aware of these, examples.

              3. You say “if” CO2 is a danger. Well, why if? Don’t we both know that it is? And if it is, you say, basicvally “OK, game over, next subject.” Hold on just a minute, there. If CO2 is a threat to the existence of mankind, and we both know that it is, it is our job to fight against the ending of mankind, even if we expect to lose. Myself, I expect that it is probably too late, and that mankind won’t get it’s act together in time to fix it, but one can’t just give up. We should all fight to save the species.

              4. You talk about being an engineer and working on fossil fuel power plants and nuclear power plants, then you suggest that the indespensible technologies are…….. wait for it……..fossil fuel power plants and nuclear power plants

            • By Forrest on September 29, 2015 at 7:12 am

              Gino, we really are just guessing. No one knows the future as they are just to many variables. You have your favorites and push regulations and tax payer money to support such ideals, but given we know not the ultimate environmental and low cost solution your influence and propaganda may do more harm than good as you are not an expert. It should not be a democratic decision process per naivety of the majority. There are a ton of factors and all different per geography, infrastructure, market, etc. I do believe no one power source will dominate, but it’s just a guess. Fun to pontificate, but we need to safe guard against against uninformed populous movements that scarcely have good decision making. I will say the same on politics and politicians attempting to do the same. Government agencies such as the EPA are adept and ruled by politics of the government employees. Their is an unholy alliance of politics and these employee unions that contaminate the decision making process. These agencies are self contained, self regulated, unchallenged authority, will bloat with bureaucracy, cost, control power, and man power. This un-elected governing body is basically unconstitutional. In gross economic terms, the best decision making apparatus ever invented, is the natural process of producers and consumers voting with money in hand. The gov’t agency should empower this market force with good consumer info and allow the market maximum breath and width. It’s not a Wild West adventure often depicted by Left, but the most intelligence and low risk process. Sure, good to offset some startup costs of R&D, infrastructure, and purchase cost of potential promising technology, but do so on a scale of not stomping on the intelligent market decision process. I’ve read battery technology may not develop as you say. Think of the excitement and advance of super conductivity expectations. Hydrogen fuel cell is slowing advancing as nuclear. Wind and solar may never achieve a majority power production status, coal technology may progress to maintain status, methane crystal harvest upon ocean floor may become competitive per robot technology, biofuels may steady advance, we may process advance CO2 out of harms way. Autonomous Ultra light vehicles may rule personal transportation.

            • By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:33 pm

              We’re not guessing and I am an expert. The future is solar power.

              And it’s going to be totally decentralized — people like having solar power on their own homes, even though that’s more expensive than utility-scale solar.

            • By rlhailssrpe on September 30, 2015 at 10:28 am

              I stay in my lane, engineering. Engineers are not scientists, and visa versa. Scientist are ignorant of cost and schedule, if they become smart, they cease to be good scientists. The problem with green energy is cost, it is too expensive for mass supply. The sole rebuttal is to drop the cost (not shift it to the taxpayer via giveaways). Germany is led by environmentalists who have driven the cost of electricity to be the highest in Europe and are at the low end of the cost curve. It is breaking their economy.

              I leave the cost estimates of recoverable carbon fuel to carbon geologists.

              It is impossible to economically remove the prime reactant of carbon combustion, CO2. It has never been done commercially, e.g in a cost effective manner. Carbon combustion is the principle source of global electricity. Asian emitters of coal combustion far exceed US sources.

              The elephant in the room is green energy cost. It is a survival issue but is wholly absent from our political debate (with the sole exception of Sarah Palin, an expert in Alaska’s fuel sources). I see no answer if CO2 is a real threat to human life. History teaches that the struggle will result in war. I go to church.

            • By Gino on September 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

              We agree that this will probably end in war.

    • By Russ Finley on June 16, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      LEDs are more efficient at first but they degrade with time, get dim, turn brown, perfect for a man cave.

      …turn brown? ; ) I’m pretty sure the technology has advanced since you last looked. While researching the topic (briefly) for this article I learned that the usual failure mode for diodes (not necessarily their circuit board) is a very gradual dimming over time. Other bulbs simply quit working one day. A life of 30 years would indicate having dimmed maybe 70 percent (or whatever) over that time. You may or may not notice that it dimmed, especially if it is still providing adequate light for your given application at 70%.

      Forget lighting technology. What is absolutely needed today, is for Seattle to mail me a check. Free. I prefer a wire transfer. Going to the bank is so yesterday. They should pay for it by levying a city tax. (I do not live in Seattle.)

      …my bad on that. It was Seattle City Light that gave me those
      bulbs, which is regulated by Seattle. Seattle mandates that they spend some money to reduce demand rather than simply spend money meeting demand. They also paid me to replace my old refrigerator with a more efficient one. Analogously, our water utility will give us a $35 certificate to install a low flow toilet. Life is good.

      (Please add titles to the curves. Is that thirty years ago, or thirty years from now? And what does Series1 mean? I am so yesterday.)

      Apologies for the suboptimal graphics. I tried to compensate with a long explanation under each.

      Under the first set of curves:

      The top curve represents total global energy consumption and the two lower curves represent total global solar and wind energy consumption over the last 50 years.

      Under the last set of curves:

      The top curve represents the sum of the four main low carbon sources of global electricity as a percent of total electricity consumption. Note that the sum of those four low carbon sources is less today than it was thirty years ago


      • By rlhailssrpe on June 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        Thank you.

        MY LED info is about ten years old. IMHO they are a killer app, much more efficient, A revolution in area lighting with LEDs in ongoing. But they do fade, which should be considered in any application in which relamping is an issue.

        The curves are meaningful. The carbon reduction/ Kwe in the US which began circa 1990 is due to two large influences. Combustion turbines, in massive scale, e.g. 200 + MWe came into the market (vs perhaps 20 MWe for an airliner). They have two characteristics. They can fire up and come on line in minutes vs ten plus hours for large coal plants, thus reducing the hot stand by need, perhaps 3- 5%. And they burn Nat. Gas which emits roughly half the CO2/ KWe as coal. With the bonanza of fracking, cheap Nat Gas is changing America. What once cost $14/ MBTU, now costs $3/ MBTU. (Jimmy Carter forbade its use in power plants so as to let it be cheap for home use.)

        I do not accept that government gives away anything of value. By definition they can only transfer cost from one population to another, at the injury of added government control over our lives. I am wary of politicians who gain power.

  3. By FA Miniter on June 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    The article is wrong. The fluorescent light will be with us for some time to come.

    1. The 4 foot long, 40 watt fluorescent light provides 2,325 lumens when new and has a life span of about 22 years at a color temperature of 6500 K (daylight). By comparison, the 10.5 watt Philips LED pictured in the article provides only 800 lumens, with a life span of 23 years at a color temperature of 2700 K (yellow). So, you would need three of them to give the light of the single fluorescent, thus minimizing the cost differential, while not obtaining daylight light.

    2. While the fluorescent light and the single LED light may cost the same, to get the same lumens, you have to buy three LED lights, thus tripling the cost of the light source.

    3. The fluorescent light fixtures are already in place. Retrofitting would require removal of the fixture, patching or other repair of the ceiling, and installing a new fixture, adding time and further cost to the process.

    While LEDs spell the end of the incandescent era, they have not yet reached a point where they will replace the overhead fluorescents.

    • By Russ Finley on June 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      The 4 foot long, 40 watt fluorescent light provides 2,325 lumens when new and has a life span of about 22 years…

      22 years …I don’t know what kind of florescent lights you’re talking about, but the ones in my shop only lasted a few years. I was so tired of replacing these things I would write the replacement date on them with a marker to see how long they were lasting.

      So, you would need three of them to give the light of the single fluorescent, thus minimizing the cost differential …By comparison, the 10.5 watt Philips LED pictured in the article provides only 800 lumens…

      It’s a moot point in my case because, assuming for the sake of argument that the florescents were putting out more light, they were putting out more than I needed because these LEDs are definitely putting out all the light I need and without a meter to tell me the difference, they seem much brighter than the old lights (and probably are).

      To have these LEDs last 23 years as you suggest, is well beyond my expectations. I’ve never owned a light bulb that lasted more than a few years.

      For what its worth, the box says 45 years or 50,000 hours.

      The fluorescent light fixtures are already in place. Retrofitting would require removal of the fixture, patching or other repair of the ceiling, and installing a new fixture, adding time and further cost to the process.

      It only took a few hours to unplug the twelve old fixtures and hang the new ones in their place. We are talking shop lights that hang from the rafters.

      • By FA Miniter on June 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm

        My information about the lights came directly from Philips webpages for each light. I have fluorescent lights that have lasted over 20 years. Not sure what you are doing wrong.

        • By Russ Finley on June 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

          Turning them on? ; )

          • By Roddy Creswell on October 7, 2015 at 6:18 pm

            A 4 foot LED replacement tube is rated @ 23w and 2300 lumens 80cri. A F32T8/ADV830/25W is rated @ 25w and 2500 lumens 85cri. A F32T8/ADV830 is rated @ 32w and 2900 lumens 85cri. A F40T12/ADV830 is rated @ 40w and 3600 lumens 85cri. Any body can make less light using less electricity. The F32T8′s are available in long life versions which have a rated life 80’000 hours. 50,000 hours for the LED. Oh yea, when the LED fails plan on replacing the entire fixture. How green is that?

            • By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:41 pm

              LEDs don’t tend to fail. They eventually get too dim, then you replace them. Minimum lifetime is 5 years, and you CAN turn them on and off.

            • By Roddy creswell on May 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm

              Dimming out is a form of failure. Programmed start ballast preheat the cathodes first so the effects frequent switching is diminished. The 25 year claimed life of a LED is smoke & mirrors. The technology hasn’t been around that long. I have been less than impressed with the life span of this so called fail proof technology.

        • By Riggald Eux on September 16, 2015 at 4:01 am

          Fluorescents have a life span determined by the number of start/stop cycles, not by the hours of use.

          The 22 years figure will be calculated based on assumptions about how often they are turned on and off.

          If the use is intermittent rather than continuous, the “22 years” figure would be optimistic, I would guess.

    • By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      The lumens aren’t comparable. Flourescent and incandescent lights produce lumens in the non-visible range. LED’s don’t.

      In *visible light*, 800 lumens LED is equivalent to roughly 1200 lumens flourescent or incandescent.

      • By Roddy Creswell on July 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

        So according to you LED doesn’t have to make as much light as any other light source to be as efficient. Last time I checked lumen ratings are only made in the frequencies visible to humans. I think your trying to say what any other LED salesman says. LED doesn’t produce wasted light since it is directional. LED is a great replacement for PAR or R lamps but not so good for a table lamp.

        • By Russ Finley on July 6, 2016 at 12:31 am

          I could not be happier with these LEDs in my man cave. I have not had to replace a bulb since I installed them. The area reserved for burned out florescence bulbs is now used for other things. They are a technological miracle.

          • By Forrest on July 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

            Your post makes it clear that LEDs won’t replace all lights. Each light source has their advantages and disadvantages. As you post the common traffic light does need heat for northern winter operation. They use incandescent, but with lower voltage for extremely long life. The longest operating light record is held by an incandescent in a fire house that has not purposely been shut off since the light was first invented. Of course the record is the oldest technology, but given how circuit boards and electronics don’t age well, I think the incandescent will still do well in applications requiring heat. The infrared heat of a commercial or home Flavor Wave oven is very attractive alternative to micro oven. That’s halogen, but utilized as heat and cooking source power. Small pump houses have been heated safely and cheaply to prevent freezing with incandescent bulb and popular even to this day. Upscale homes and restaurants utilize the Edison light bulb for warmth and interests. Its modeled after the original bulb. If you are utilizing electric heat the incandescent is very efficient. Appliances and other restricted access light locations utilize the myriad size choices and all of the choices are low cost. Winter light source choice will sometimes award incandescent per the warm of light quality. Led’s are affecting sleep patterns. Display and photo gallery utilize a variety of light sources depending on light quality requirements. Fluorescent fixtures and bulbs don’t travel well, but exhibit good contrast for detail work. Common wood fire light exhibits the most romantic and warmth. Daylight can’t be beat for detail work and cost of operation. Don’t get me wrong I to love the LED and think all the CFL bulbs were a waste of money, hype, and regulations. The consumer is no fool and will make good choices with out D.C. elites running in front of the marching band to take credit for invention. For example the common man nowadays thinks our magnanimous Washington politicians (with other peoples money) invented the auto air bag. They keep track of auto regulations and lives saved. This technology would have naturally migrated to it’s rightful pace of implementation with out gov’t interference and with less overall cost and at a safer rate of implementation. Also, since regulations are a crude way to manage the overall benefit to society probably higher without gov’t regs given the poor could have afforded better quality cars without the expense or minor traffic accidents wouldn’t have been as costly to this class of car ownership. Sure, good to offset some R&D cost to those inventions deemed helpful to society, but forget the strong arm gov’t demands at gun barrel enforcement.

  4. By Dixie_Pixie on June 16, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Note “Green Power” has not taken up the slack from decreased power generation from Nuclear, Hydro or carbon based power sources.
    The reason is simple, “Green Power” depends on the most unreliable conditions humanity has to deal with…The Weather.

    With fixed costs per month (bills, rent, food, whatever) and job function dependent on a unreliable energy source there will come a time when a person can not get payed because there is no usable energy to work with.
    Try telling the kids they can not eat today because mommy did not get payed because “Green Energy” failed due to weather conditions.

    There was a reason Wind and Solar power was abandoned centuries ago as a primary power source.
    Solar is too diffuse, unreliable and has a fixed limit on power throughput.

    Wind has the same disadvantages with the added one of energy inputed into the generator varies wildly while being uncontrollable to the point of sporadic destruction of the physical wind generator plant.

    With the Environmentalist Jihad on Carbon, Hydro and Nuclear based power generation in favor of inherently unreliable “Green Power”, the rising Power Demand Curve will meet the descending Power Generation Curve resulting in brown outs and rolling Blackouts.
    Given the limitations of “Green Power” it will also occur sporadically and episodically making any prior planning impossible.

    Just like Environmentalist stupidity caused the California Power Blackouts during the Bush 43 terms, they will do the same to the entire country.
    LED lighting will not help correct a unreliable energy source, it just shifts the costs around to rest on the end user.

    • By Gino on September 28, 2015 at 12:41 am

      My God, I have never seen so much rubbish in one post. What is the matter with you?

  5. By Forrest on June 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

    LEDs, probably a good choice. Time will tell. Recycling needs/cost may be a problem, but at least the mercury hazardous waste part gone. It is nice to have light, quickly in the cold. But, we’re missing the big solution as a magnitude more power savings to be gained per the simple act of utilizing natural gas for cooking. During the heating season the gas stove is 100% efficient. Compare that to steam cycle turbine power plant grid efficiency lower than 30% powering an electric stove. Also, during A.C. season one could save a magnitude more power as compared to changing out the CFL light bulbs to LEDs by utilizing the outdoor gas grill and enjoy better tasting food in the process.
    All who have access to natural gas supply line, if concerned of environment, should be utilizing the plentiful and environmentally friendly energy source to the maximum. This would be step one as it, also, a big cost savings. Why be so focused on minimal improvements? The “fly poop in the pepper“mentality, when the obvious large improvement is just a step away. Electricity is very polluting energy source, expensive, and very inefficient. It should be utilized upon those devices that have no other power supply i.e. radio, computer, TV, hair dryer. Switch to N.G. clothes dryer and water heater to save the planet as the act of dreaming of solar power or wind solutions is not so productive. If your grid is powered by hydro or nuclear, probably the concern would pivot to power utilization and level load problems. Utilizing these power sources at off peak to balance load the most attractive.

    • By Forrest on June 16, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      We should discriminate the cost savings hype and benefits to replacing common incandescent bulbs. First, the cost savings usually entails savings of expensive A.C., per the incandescent heat output, but the analysis never offers subtractions per decreased heating costs of winter months. Depending on your heat system, the bulb may become the bulb of choice per efficiency during heating season. The cost savings analysis never attempts to attach the cost of recycling hazardous electronics or metals as opposed to the common incandescent, built from inert material and can be cheaply disposed. Also, the bulb has low cost for those seldom used locations. It’s a problem when consumers refuse to pay or refuse to suffer the inconvenience to recycle LED or CFLs. They just flip them into dumpster with the ensuing threat of solid waste disposal problems.
      Halogen lighting still the king of improving displays of food and art. It’s more efficient in both heat and light as compared to common incandescent. High bay shops/buildings will utilize ultra efficient HP sodium or halogen, but mix in some fluorescents as the light has superior quality for reading and inspecting fine detail. I doubt if any current light bulb will become obsolete as they all have their strong and weak points. Could be the hazardous waste factor will obsolete some of them?

      • By Forrest on June 17, 2015 at 7:00 am

        LED have recycle problems as they contain lead, arsenic, nickle, copper and a dozen other dangerous substances. By law they they are defined as not toxic and you can throw them into general trash, but that is just because no one can do anything about recycling. The hazardous material would normally suggest haz mat requirement per auto crash. Regulators are just giving the device a pass as they like them. Red LED contain 8x more lead than allowed by CA law. We know CFL have similar problems compounded because they can easily break.
        The energy rating of LED vs CFL is about a draw, but LED proven to be a better choice when utilized outdoors and where operation requires shorter duration. Again, the cost savings of CFL per power consumption and life span a bit bogus because they require 10-15 minute minimum operation. Consumers are aware of need to keep CFL on and will operate them probably 10x longer than incandescent. If you go strictly on promoted CFL lifespan I should have no bad bulbs, but reality has a box of them in basement awaiting to find a recycler and a few broken one contaminating basement. I would think CFL would suffer shorter lifespan than large industrial quality T15 high efficiency fixture. T15s florescent are usually put at top of efficient lighting list as HID.

        • By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:38 pm

          Copper is not dangerous, and nickel is not very dangerous.

          Typical LEDs do not contain lead or arsenic — some low-quality Chinese LEDs cheat and use lead in the solder.

          CFLs all contain mercury which is a problem.

  6. By neroden on November 28, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Because nuclear power is incredibly mismanaged and nobody in their right mind wants to mess around with it?

    The real question is why the hydro percentage has dropped. Have we run out of places to put turbines? Maybe.

    Doesn’t matter. Solar’s gone exponential now, and meanwhile energy efficiency methods like LEDs are finally, finally starting to be used routinely, which will help flatten global demand.

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