Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Prof's Poser - Strike a light?

BBC News is doing a report on the National Trust replacing all its light bulbs... 'which has an immediate environmental benefit'. Does it?

I have written, simply to ask;

I have just watched your piece on the National Trust replacing 40,000 lights in their properties with low energy variants. Obviously much better for energy consumption and financial savings (after the initial costs, unless sponsors Philips - nice ad - are covering that. Shame the public does not get this advantage).

I'd just like to ask whether this also represents an immediate environmental saving whilst the report indicates the old bulbs 'will be recycled'. That would suggest perfectly good, if inefficient bulbs are to be discarded.

It would be interesting to know what the break-even points - environmentally, if not financially - there are used to help judge the most effective courses.

Is the BBC stating categorically, on advice, that it is better environmentally (allowing for 'costs' of manufacture, etc), to swap to low energy bulbs right away, rather than let them expire naturally and replace at this point?

If so, this is well worth promoting further.

My point (if not by me) has been made, with the blonde and bouffant saying it is a good one. Why do I suspect that this will be as far as an important issue of enviROI is passed over... again?

I'd simply like to know what to do that is best. Not to make a cute piece of PR puff.

Telegraph - About time National Trust moved to energy -saving lightbulbs


Dave said...

Was there any mention of the difficulties of disposing of CFL's? There seem to be some issues around the fact that they contain some level of mercury, which isn't exactly a nice thing to chuck into landfill.

Peter said...

I can only report on the section I heard, and the answer is... yes.

Actually it was a reader's HYS, and got skipped over quite quickly. As was the point on enviROI.

This was rather a 'on-message' PR read-out that served a few tick-boxes, including a nice plug for Philips and the National Trust.

All of which is fine... I'd just like the question I was interested in answered.

I am steadily replacing every 'old' bulb with a LELL version as they conk.

And it's actually been made even cheaper as I have just had a letter from e*on to tell me to expect two freebies are winging my way (evidently finding out in one shot was not an option on various grounds). I don't even use their 'leccy!

But I am still wondering if it is better enviROI just to have a mass trash of the old lot and go eco asap. Which also suggests pulling them from the shelves (public preference/choice issues notwithstanding) now.

Actually, the mass cull makes more sense in addressing the problem you raise, namely getting them all in one place at the same time and dealing with them approrpriately. Piecemeal would present logistical H&S/WEEE complications.

However, not so easy for thee & me.

And there is that whole trust/agenda thing.

I have been told that while tonnages of material collected for recycling counts, the fact that they may not be actually of a quality to have value as recyclate does not.

If true, the lunatics really have taken over the writing of the asylum handbook. And certain media we often pay for will be relied upon to serve up each page as gospel...'because it's for our own good, so don't ask questions'.