Green News

Ultra-violet health concerns over CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights).

Posted by TheGreen on 01/07 at 02:35 PM
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We caught wind that there are new potential health issues with CFL's. This time, it is the potential Ultra Violet light that is emitted from CFLs. Although, all CFL's emit this wave length of light, some emit it at higher amounts than others.

GE's website has this to say:

Do light bulbs (such as compact fluorescent bulbs) give off hazardous amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light?

Regular fluorescent light bulbs used in your home and office do not produce a hazardous amount of ultraviolet light (UV). Most light sources, including fluorescent bulbs, emit a small amount of UV, but the UV produced by fluorescent light bulbs is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight. (Ultraviolet light rays are the light wavelengths that can cause sunburn and skin damage.)

Your safety is important to us; that's why, for all of our light bulbs designed for general public use, we strive to minimize the amount of UV light emitted.

If you're looking for a low-UV bulb for an especially sensitive area (like a photography dark room), try our Saf-T-Gard® bulbs. They block most ultraviolet light emissions, and they're also shatter-resistant.

The wikipedia has some good technical information:

Some manufacturers make CFL bulbs with an external nano-particle coating of titanium dioxide.[33] The manufacturer claims that the titanium dioxide when exposed to UV light produced by the CFL can neutralize odors and kill bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.

A PDF from Liverpool Univeristy has a PDF online that gives a fair amount of technical information on UV radiation from CFL bulbs. Here is an except:

New research by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has shown that some energy saving Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs can emit ultraviolet radiation which can lead to sunburn in some extreme circumstances. Precautionary advice is that open (single envelope) CFLs (Fig. 1) should not be used where people are in close proximity (i.e. closer than 30 cm or 1 ft) to the bare light bulb for over 1 hour a day. For such situations open CFLs should be replaced by the encapsulated (double envelope) type (Fig. 2). Alternatively, the lamp should be moved so that it is at least 30 cm or 1 ft away.

To give a little perspective to this train of thought, the Australia's Governmental agency for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (ARPANSA) has weighed in with some good information from their online fact sheet "Ultraviolet Radiation Emissions from Compact Fluorescent Lights":

At the measurement distance of 10 cms, which was considered to be the closest distance that people would be to the lamps, even in desk top applications, 4 of the CFLs had allowed exposure times shorter than 8 hours, while a further 2 CFLs had times of approximately 10 hours. For comparison purposes, the allowed exposure limits will be exceeded in typical midday summer sunshine in approximately 6 mins in Brisbane and 7 mins in Melbourne.

My take is simple: Live life in moderation and all will be fine. Our house is mostly CFL bulbed out now--meaning that we have mostly CFL bulbs throughout the house. Our savings, being in Quebec are not what one in say Ontario might see, but we like the light, and feel good about the small contribution we are making. 

One caveat discovered this year, don't use CFL bulbs in out door unheated locations. They don't last very long and are a pain to use in the winter when it takes 15 minutes for them to warm up. Apart from that, until the LED gets is next round of improvements with Nano technology coatings, we will sit tight.

About the author: TheGreen

Check your return on investment

Posted by Environment Smart on 01/07 at 12:47 PM
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There are plenty of good reasons to go green. Your concern for the environment should be at the top of the list, but I would rank financial savings right up there as well. If you take a look at the big picture and do a bit of number crunching, you will see that going green does not necessitate having a lot of green. has a few tools that will help you to calculate how you can save the environment while saving some of your hard earned cash in the process.

“ is America’s leading free ‘Green’ home remodeling resource for anyone that wants to save money and the environment as well as create a healthier home and overall lifestyle,” says CEO Charlie Szoradi.

The GREENandSAVE website offers an RIO (return on investment) ranking system that helps you to calculate your long term savings for over 50 green home remodeling projects. When using this RIO calculator, you should keep in mind that the calculated savings are based on the difference between non-green and green options. For example, the RIO calculator shows that installing a programmable thermostat can innitially cost you $115 over a regular thermostat. The annual savings, however, could be as much as $180. Making this a savings of $1800 over a period of 10 years.

The GREENandSAVE website also offers a carbon counter and a 2009 family green guide with great tips for parents and children. Check how your home measures up and how you and your family can work as a team to make improvements for the sake of your health and the environment.


About the author: Environment Smart

Solar powered Christmas

Posted by TheGreen on 11/07 at 03:19 PM
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Every year we have tried to put up Christmas lights, but to over do it. Due to the potentially large quantity of electricity that one could use, we were happy to see LED Christmas lights come out a couple of years ago. This year, we were a little surprised to see solar powered LED christmas lights. They claim a 6 hour sparkle from the solar powered lights even on cloudy days. Not sure about the hours of sparkle, but we are getting some for the simple reason: No more power cords! The only tree in our back yard we could put Christmas lights was about 60 feet from nearest outlet. Canadian Tire has a good selection of C6 and mini-led solar power light sets. They all have 50 lights and come in multi coloured or warm white. Though the warm white we bought last year from CanadianTire were anything but warm in hue. All the sets appear to be $29.99 and available now. From the CanadianTire site, here is how they describe these lights:
  • Solar light set is designed specifically for Canadian winters
  • Stays lit for three nights on one charge
  • Includes solar amorphous panel, wall mount and ground stake
  • Lights stay lit even if one bulb burns out
  • Charges even on a cloudy day
  • No more hassle with extension cords
  • Available in multi-coloured and warm white
  • For outdoor use
The only issue I can see at this point is the number of solar panels lying around. For our one tree we need at least 150 light and preferably 200 lights or even 250. Why can I not get the lights separately from the solar panels, and then buy an appropriate solar panel for the number of lights I want to put up? It would be nice to have solar panels in three or four different sizes that would let me plugin 1,2,3 or 4 strings of light and have them daisy chained. As it is we will need to figure out how to get the lights to work at the top of the tree. Once we get some and test them out, we will post a little review here too. Here is to a bright Holiday season sparkle powered by Ra.

About the author: TheGreen

Fashionably Energy Conscious

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/18 at 11:45 AM
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CFL light bulbs continue to become more attractive. The harshness of the fluorescent light quality has been softened. The shape and style of the bulbs is also more varied. But, for those of you who still find CFL bulbs to be ugly and unattractive, a company in Gulf Breeze, Florida has the answer.

Twister Corporation has designed a line of decorative covers that will let you go green while not sacrificing the décor in your home. The light covers from Twister Corporation transform the less attractive fluorescent bulbs with stylish decorative lenses. They apparently work with almost all bulbs and fixtures without reducing light brightness, and can be customized to match your décor.

“This product is meant to encourage increased use of CFLs in homes and offices. For years the public has resisted using the CFLs because of the appearance and glare of the bulbs,” stated Ed Delangis, President of Twister Corporation and a member of the Pensacola Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. “We created this product to overcome these problems and encourage a greater use of compact fluorescent bulbs.”

About the author: Environment Smart

CFL Bulbs Energy-Saving Campaign

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/16 at 12:28 PM
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Project Porchlight is an energy-saving campaign that has just been launched by SaskPower Eneraction and the non-profit environmental organization One Change. The goal is to make an environmental difference by distributing 200,000 free compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to household across Saskatchewan this fall and then about another 200,000 in 2009.

“If you can change a light bulb, you can really make a difference,” said Stuart Hickox, the executive director of One Change.

“If every household in Canada replaced a wasteful, incandescent bulb ... with a (CFL) bulb, the reduction and pollution from power generation would be the equivalent of taking 66,000 cars off the road,” he said to hundreds of spectators in front of F.W. Hill Mall.

The organization is also working on another campaign that will help with fuel efficiency.
“It’s called Get the Gauge,” Hickox said. “If every driver in Canada just kept their tires properly inflated, Canadians would save $1 billion a year on gas, and it would cut 2.8 megatonnes of greenhouse gases.”

About the author: Environment Smart

Low-Energy Light Bulbs Have Improved

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/16 at 12:08 PM
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The technology of energy-saving light bulbs continues to improve. There is really no excuse for using energy wasting bulbs anymore.

– Current low-energy light bulbs now reach their full brightness in a matter of seconds.
– Using low-energy light bulbs can reduce CO2 emissions by about 80%. They are also very cost efficient in the long run.
– The light emitted by low-energy light bulbs is no longer so harsh.
– Energy-saving light bulbs convert nearly all the power they consume into light, rather than heat.
– There is now much more variety in the energy-saving light bulbs available – both in type of light they produce and the shape and size of bulbs.
– By using a low-energy light bulb, you are using less fossil fuel.
– LED light is the light of the future.
– Dichroic halogen bulbs are more efficient than regular halogen bulbs.
– Old-fashioned incandescent globes are being phased out and in Europe.
– Mercury in CFL bulbs should not be a cause for concern or an excuse. Cleaning up any type of broken light bulb should be done with care.
– There are various brands of low-energy bulbs that are compatible with dimmers.

About the author: Environment Smart