Australia switching to CFLs

The Australian Government has announced that by 2009, you won’t be able to buy an incandescent light globe here – we’ll all be buying CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Lamps). There will be a gradual phasing out of incandescent bulbs up until that time.

Switching to CFL’s is estimated to save the the average family around AU$30 a year for each globe, given the CFL’s extended life and lower electricity consumption. I think that’s a little optimistic based on my calculations, but there is definitely a substantial saving.

The measure is also estimated to reduce carbon emissions by two million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually up until 2009 and then 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year after that. A minor, but important victory for the environment.

Environmental benefits aside, I’m sure the makers of Compact Fluorescent Lamps are jumping for joy and their shares gained a little today. I’m really happy that this law is being introduced, but I am somewhat concerned for poorer families where every dollar counts.

The first CFL I bought years back was AU$25 and while that has reduced to about AU$5; it’s still a big purchase for some who are battling to make ends meet – it will just be the transition process that may be difficult. When we moved into this house, we spent well over $150 ripped out all the incandescents and replacing them with Compact Fluorescent Lamps.

While the Australian Government has been very keen to accept the accolades of this move, I do think it’s worth mentioning that the champion of this concept wasn’t a politician, but from a leading environmentalist, John Dee of Planet Ark. Kudos to you John.

It’s my understanding that Australia isn’t alone in this big move away from incandescents; California is currently in the process of introducing legislation to phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012

Read more about Compact Fluorescent Lamps.