|Stocking up before their removal from the market: Edison would be proud|
Let's put aside the question of whether my use of old-style bulbs will cause the polar ice caps to melt. The Department of Energy says that more mercury will be released into the environment from using incandescents because: 1) incandescents use more energy; 2) half the electrical energy in the U.S. comes from coal-fired plants; 3) burning coal produces mercury.
Let's take a closer look at how much mercury is produced from operating an incandescent light bulb in California, where your humble servant resides. According to the 2008 Department of Energy profile of California's energy sources, 1.1% of California's electricity comes from coal.
Now let's redo the Table 1 calculations for California, reducing the mercury penalty to one-fiftieth of the national average:
A CFL in California produces five times as much mercury as an Edison bulb over 8,000 hours of use. My fellow Californians, in belated recognition of Earth Day switch to incandescents to save your family and save the environment. Your children and grandchildren will thank you. © 2011 Stephen Yuen