The Brandston Research Team’s Fluorescent Light Bulb Study

  imageHoward Brandston is a well known New York lighting designer, and is the Congress consultant of choice when they holding hearings into light bulb matters. The following information is from his website commentary. As mentioned in a previous post, he is shortly launching a campaign against the light bulb regulations on a Facebook page, details which will appear on the above website link. Given his status, it will hopefully get a good following.  
Research into the Effects and Implications of Increased CFL Use In September 2009, I assembled a first-class team of doctors and researchers to study the implications of the wide-spread use of CFLs. Supported in part with a grant from the IES, the primary intention was to determine if further investigation and research is warranted to re-examine the direction of current and proposed lighting related legislation. Our study included: • A literature search of the health hazards post by Electro-magnetic Fields • Measurements of the fields generated by CFLs • Measurements of EMF’s at installations • Creation of a detailed list of potential problems stemming from installed CFL usage • An analysis of actual installation system efficiencies – CFL vs. Incandescent • An illustration of dimmer induced SPD shifts with CFLs. Illustrated with SPDs. Our findings fully support that further research must be done. The full research report [originally published March 2010] is available here. The document is large — 3MB (.pdf).
  RE ” further research must be done”, it may be noted that Canada has indeed delayed a ban for (at least) 2 years, in part because of CFL concerns, more:   Introduction and Conclusion excerpts from the Brandston team study:  
The main purpose of the study is to determine if more research is required before the ban on ordinary incandescent lamps takes effect. If it is determined that it would be in the best interest of the country to conduct further studies, then the ban and the restrictions placed on the incandescent lamp should be withdrawn and held in abeyance, until a solid basis can be determined as to what the best course of action be taken to meet the spirit of the act. All funding by the several government entities promoting the use of CFLs should also cease until there is careful evaluation of relevant CFLs characteristics and comparison with incandescent lamps.   We assembled an experienced interdisciplinary team, fully capable of delivering proposed investigation and research.   Report prepared by: Howard M. Brandston, FIES, Hon. FCIBSE, FIALD, PLDA, SLL, LC Philip Brickner, MD St. Vincent’s Hospital Sasa Djokic, PhD Univ. of Edinburgh Richard Vincent St. Vincent’s Hospital Scott Bucher St. Vincent’s Hospital Heather Auto St. Vincent’s Hospital Kate Sweater Hickcox Lighting Research Center, RPI   CFLs are not the superior replacement for incandescent lamps, neither in conservation or aesthetics. Nor is the CFL an equivalent light source technology. As an indicator of lamp efficiency, lumens-per-watt has been extensively used as a comparative metric to promote the energy advantages of light sources. However, this is flawed because no meaningful conclusions can come from measuring and quantifying an individual type of light source on its own. Lumens-per-watt does not capture any qualitative characteristics, nor does it express the actual performance level of any light source used in practical applications. Most importantly, it does not represent the actual illuminating and spectral properties of a given light source. Lumens-per-watt is simply an idealized quantifier obtained in laboratory measurement, which is often used isolated from other light source characteristics and out of context with the lighting applications under which people live and work. What is really needed is an incandescent lamp with today’s lumen output but with longer life. Generally, there are no bad light sources, only bad applications. There are some very laudable characteristics of the CFL, yet the selection of any light source remains inseparable from the luminaire that houses it, along with the space in which both are installed and lighting requirements that need to be satisfied. In the pursuit of more useful lumens-per-watt metric, one must match the luminaire to the space being illuminated. The lamp, the fixture and the room: all three must work in concert and for the true benefits of end-users. If the CFL should be used for lighting a particular space, or an object within that space, the fixture must be designed to work with that lamp, and that fixture with the room. It is a symbiotic relationship. A CFL cannot be simply installed in an incandescent fixture and then expected to produce a visual appearance that is more than washed out, foggy and dingy. The whole fixture must be replaced — light source and luminaire — and this is never an inexpensive proposition.   Conclusion “It is wrong to assume that banning the incandescent lamp is an energy- and ecologically conscious action. We have not solved all our lighting problems by finding a highly efficient source. There is presently no lighting technology that can replace certain types and uses of incandescent lamps.” [ref, IALD] This study challenges current political consensus and decision to phase out incandescent lamps and switch to CFLs on the assumption that significant energy savings will be achieved without seriously compromising any of the relevant functional and illuminating requirements in target applications. Moreover, and more importantly, the study points out that there is a need to carefully investigate and elucidate some of the important safety concerns that may arise from a prolonged exposure and widespread use of CFLs, of which levels of electromagnetic fields measured around these appliances are illustrated in more detail. (N.B. an initial measurement of approximately 50 DB from a 13W CFL)   We propose the following simple test that may actually provide an effective method for determining whether the legislation will actually serve people: – Initiate a field study aimed at satisfying the proposed power limits in all public buildings, from museums and hospitals to the White House, and the homes of all elected officials. – As this will include replacing all incandescent lamps with CFLs, it would be easy to directly ascertain the effects of the proposed legislation/ban. – Assure that all of these measures to comply with specified power limits in residential units are done and paid for solely by the occupants, i.e. that occupants may freely decide on the use of specific equipment and devices – At the end of sufficiently long period (e.g. 18 months) check whether the incandescent lighting had not been reinstalled, and perform a detailed survey with all users to determine their overall satisfaction with the initial, intermediate and resulting lighting. – This will help to identify specific target applications for different light sources, as they will be selected by end-users, based on their needs and requirements. – In parallel with this field study, initiate and perform detailed research related to determining quantitative and qualitative characteristics of CFLs and other alternative light sources (e.g. LED light sources), as well as the comparative analysis of their relevant aspects and most important effects of use. Based on the data collected from the above field/labs studies, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and current lighting related energy legislation still in Congress may be amended, if necessary, to conform to the results of the studies. We expect that the current and proposed legislation would be rewritten in favor of a new act, which will be based on the result of a thoughtful process that could yield a set of proven recommendations that will better serve our nation’s needs by maximizing both human health, environmental satisfaction and energy efficiency. In the end, the most energy effective solution for residences may be achieved using incandescent lamps with a combination of occupancy sensors and dimmers.
  Regarding the obvious retort of “incandescents are not banned, energy efficient halogen types allowed”, or “better LEDs are coming”, and other arguments used to justify bans, see the 13 point referenced rundown of why the arguments don’t hold up here:  
This entry was posted in CFLs. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply