Why You Shouldn't Go All-CFL Just Yet

A combined US/UK study claims that LED bulbs have a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescents, and with continued improvements that advantage is expected to grow significantly fairly soon.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

A study just out from the US Department of Energy and the UK's N14 Energy Ltd. says that light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) are slightly better than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) when it comes to environmental friendliness, and they're expected to outperform CFLs in this area within the next five years. The report examined the total impact of both bulbs, as well as incandescent bulbs, including the energy and resources needed from manufacturing all the way to disposal. It's the first public report of its kind that goes into detail on LEDs' environmental footprint.

What's the Big Idea?

As expected, incandescents are still the least energy-efficient and most environmentally unfriendly of the three bulbs. There isn't much difference in power consumption between LEDs and CFLs, so the two bulbs were graded based on the resources needed to make them. Here, LEDs outperformed CFLs in all areas except one -- the amount of hazardous waste requiring landfill disposal -- which is something that scientists believe will be rectified fairly soon. "[T]he LED bulb of 2017 [is expected to] have 50 percent less environmental impacts than today's LED lamps and 70 percent less impacts that those found in today's CFLs, which are not expected to change significantly in the near future."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less