CFLs “All Fail” Study…

    Interesting last post on the blog. It concerns the need to review the already imposed ban in Europe, not least because of the low savings from banning simple incandescents, as also a UK Dept of Environment (DEFRA) study seems to confirm. Indeed it even says that households with CFLs use more electricity, albeit that it also highlights the need for further study. Overall, much else is seen as relevant in lowering household energy use, apart from switching light bulbs. The DEFRA study, and the low savings from a switchover, are further covered on the companion blog Freedom Light Bulb, in a post last updated 11 July.   Worthy of note here is the other research mentioned on Savethebulb, into the quality of CFLs on the UK market (and likely applicable in USA and elsewhere too)
Much has been said about the quality, or lack thereof, of Compact Fluorescent Energy Saving lamps. The EcoDesign [EU standard setting office] regulations made some effort to include quality criteria to answer criticisms by user groups. Each European country is supposed to undertake necessary market surveillance to ensure that the products placed on the market meet these quality criteria. In the UK a new QUANGO , the National Measurement Office, (NMO) was set up to deal with this across all of the EcoDesign regulations. There was some discussion before it was set up as to what it would be doing in respect of the lighting regulations. So far it has undertaken one study on domestic lighting and the results were published here. It was always acknowledged that there would not be sufficient funding to realistically tackle the vast number of lamps imported and sold each year, however this report really does show that quality standards are not being met and that NMO are taking a softly softly approach with suppliers rather than a strict an punitive approach. During the MTP consultation we were told that these studies on lamps would be annual however I had a conversation with a spokesman for NMO who absolutely refused to say if or when another study on domestic lamps would be taking place. As things stand and from the meager evidence available I would say that, certainly as far as domestic lighting is concerned EcoDesign regulations are neither delivering the promised energy savings nor the guarantee of reasonable quality of lamps to the domestic market in the EU. Kevan Shaw July 4, 2012
  Looking then at the study by the National Measurement Office as mentioned All bulb models tested were CFLs, 20 each, of 15 models...
"At the start of the project, fifteen models of lamp were identified according to risk, purchased in a batch of twenty and secured into evidence by the NMO. Once photographed and given individual codes the lamps were transported to the Lighting Association for accredited testing. The results of the tests showed excessive failures and high levels of risk within the domestic lighting industry. All fifteen of the lamps showed some area of failure, ranging from information displayed incorrectly on the free access website to an 85% failure on a switching cycle test."
[images here are not from the test report, but base burn is one failure cause]    
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