Saturday, April 24, 2010

CFL Lightbulbs and Non-Behavioral Economics

GE Lamps 48690 100-Watt A19 Reveal Bulbs, 4 PackWe are covering Behavioral Economics in my Energy/Environmental class this week, and people in general like to point out the slow adoption of CFL (florescent) light bulbs as evidence that people are irrational, and thus justifying the law that banned incandescent lightbulbs. (for those of who are not aware, Congress passed a law in 2007 that will ban regular lightbulbs by 2014.)

Still, studies that say CFL light bulbs are obviously better, depend on the assumption that they don't burn out, thus justifying their much much higher prices. Today, I had the third that's burnt out in less than a year of use, and now I have to again figure out how to recycle the d$@# thing. I wonder what the full costs are of government and activists trying to "fix" our irrationality.


James Lin said...

Do you actually keep track of how long they've lasted? I write the date on the ballast with a Sharpie when I install one, and so far they've all seemed to last for quite a while. Before I started doing that, I too didn't think they were meeting my lifetime expectations, but that was an illusion (I'd get bulbs mixed up, I'd have a wrong sense for how much time had actually passed, etc.).

If you are consistently having bulbs burn out sooner than expected, I've heard that one reason might be a faulty light socket. If the bulb doesn't make good contact with the socket, it could spark, reducing the lifetime of the bulb.

HoBs said...

yeah, may not be so bad, but the promise was they should last for 4-6 years. and we've only had this apartment for less than 2 years. So can't be that old.

Tyler said...

Since on the internet, the plural of anecdote IS data: I've been using CFLs wherever possible for 4+ years, and haven't lost one yet.

If only I could also get close to the "expected" life expectancy from my bike components, my wallet would be much fatter these days.