CFL vs. LED - continue

by Ginosar  

Regarding my previous post on CFL vs. LED. This is the letter I mentioned in that post and mailed to the new, then, general manager of SMUD about improving CFL.

I never heard back from him and neither from the Board, about this issue.

I have discussed a number of these issues with Board members and was a guest speaker before the SMUD Board advocating putting main emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation as major parts of their long term planning.


Dr. Matania Ginosar

Environmental Science

John DiStaio

General Manager


6201 S Street, MS. B408

Sacramento, CA 95817-1899

Dear Mr. DiStaio,

Congratulation on your new and important position.

During a recent meeting with Mr. Larry Carr, President of the Board of Directors, I learned that SMUD likes to increase the use of compact florescence lamps throughout your territory.

As an electrical engineer and an environmental scientist I have special interest and experience in cost-effective ways to reduce energy demands, and I have been using CFL for twenty years. Like SMUD I would like to see wide use of CFL too, but unfortunately I believe that the low quality of most CFL can reduce their adoption.

I have used by now some 50 CFL and many of them perform well below expectations. They die quickly, are noisy, reduce their light with time too much, and start slowly. In addition their light output is lower than stated. A 60 W CFL has typically just 50 W equivalent illumination (of standard incandescent lights) in real life. Most CFL can't be used in enclosed fixtures. This is also the experience of many of my friends who do like to use more CFL.

The quality of the original CFL, when they were made in the US and Europe was relatively high. I did not have any one which died early or made noise like the ones made in China for the last few years.

As an example, I have three CFL I bought from Home Depot and were "sponsored" by SMUD. All three failed immediately: one did not light at all, one gave only half the illumination, and the third was noisy. I will gladly mail them to you, if you wish. This is obviously just one example, but your own staff agreed that the general performance of CFL is poor.

Normal incandescent light bulbs are low cost, extremely reliable, noise free, and light instantly. As people experience the very short life, noise and slow start of these low quality CFL, they will reject CFL, and your important effort to spread their use may fail. Most people are not interested in CFL statistical averages, or low lifecycle costs, and when they experience repeated failures with CFL their minds would be set against CFL.

May I suggest that you bring this issue up in national electrical utility meetings and urge the group to put pressure on the CFL industry to drastically improve its quality. Especially do not sponsor suppliers of low quality CFL. I think that one of the poorest is FEIT that SMUD has worked with before.

I believe SMUD will benefit from a reliable CFL technology and seal of approval that the public can trust.

Thank you and SMUD for your excellent work and leadership.


Matania Ginosar

BS MS EE, MS Mgt. D. Env.


C.c. Larry Carr

No feedback yet

Form is loading...