Lee and Sachi Demystify CFLs

Lee and Sachi have made another great video. This one makes a very strong economic and environmental case for switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs:


Like our apartment in Vancouver, our house here in Malta is wired with halogen lamps. They last longer than incandescents, but they’re power-hungry. I did a quick search, and couldn’t find any CFL replacements for halogen bulbs. I did find some far more efficient and longer lasting versions of the standard halogen bulb, though.

Incidentally, NFL fans should also convert to the Canadian Football League. It, too, is far superior.


  1. The question about CFLs I have (I like them incidentally) is; what is the “total” environmental cost of them.
    In my city I am told NOT to throw them in the regular garbage because they contain some not nice chemicals. I beleive mercury was one of them. So what is the environmental damage done in the production and lifespan of these lights as compared to 13 incandescant lights. Taking in to account the “hazardous waste” disposal process, (I assume they burn them in a safe way.)
    and the production process where they obviously use various nasty compounds.
    Yes they are cheaper to me, but what about the overall environmental effect.

    It like saying electric busses are 100% efficient as opposed to diesel. No. They just don’t pollute in the same place.

  2. Cool video! I love hand-drawn graphics.

    Fwiw, the numbers aren’t accurate for B.C. (Seattle company, right?)

    For example, here coal doesn’t provide 50% of the electricity. Most (80% plus) right now comes from hydro (which has its own environmental problems). Some comes from fossil fuels — but I think that’s just the power B.C. buys from Alberta.

    I ran into this problem last summer producing a national environment show in Canada. Every province has a different mix of power, so it’s impossible to say that doing x to save electricity will reduce y in greenhouse gasses.

    Also, I wish I could find a compact fluorescent bulb for $4. I’ve paid as much as $12, as little as $7.

    Any Vancouverites have shopping tips?

  3. Two comments: the CFL game is a better game but why is the field 110 yards long and not 100 m long? Why don’t we have 10m for a first down?

    And using CFLs is a bad idea (but trying convincing my wife) for all the reasons in comment 45 at the first link you provided. Commercial lighting using fluorescent tubes is a different story, though. Major buildings are re-tubed every couple of years and the companies that do this have major recovery operations which automate “opening” the tubes, recovering the mercury and the tube coating and then reycling much of the materials.

    LEDs (right now) seem to be the, uh, “wave” of the future.

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