Great conversation still happening in the comments section in an earlier post here.

To which I’d like to add: Perhaps we are “banning” the wrong technology?


CFLs save energy but they have dimming issues with self-ballasted screw-in type units, thermal issues in some luminaires, sizing issues in others, color, time to reach full brightness, etc. Being forced to use CFLs will mean compromises for consumers of light.

Dimming, meanwhile, offers no compromises that I can think of except a cost adder compared to the light switch (which CFLs also have compared to the standard A lamp). Dimming enables homeowners to keep the advantages of incandescent lighting–warm color, easy control, instant ON, fits all existing luminaires, zero mercury in landfills (although admittedly more mercury would still be emitted by power plants producing the higher amount of electrical energy required), offers light distribution that existing luminaires were designed to produce. Plus many of them are made in America, not in China, and aren’t we trying to get more people employed on this continent?

Meanwhile, dimming can dramatically extend incandescent lamp life, which is good for the environment, and according to one study produces an average 20% energy savings.

I’d like to make the argument that if you use an energy saving halogen light bulb (such as the energy-saving version of Philips Halogena), which saves 30% energy at the expense of a 10% reduction in light output, plus a dimmer, which saves an average 20% in energy savings, and you get all the advantages of incandescent light plus longer life, with none of the disadvantages of CFLs, perhaps we are targeting the wrong technology?

Perhaps we should be allowing consumers to choose whatever light source they want, and instead ban the ON/OFF light switch and require dimming everywhere?

What do you think?