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Letters to the Editor

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2006

that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide through avoided heating costs, perhaps shows how tenuous and assumption-based his analysis is (“Squeezing BTUs From Light Bulbs ,” August 2006).

I decided to investigate how much the extra heat of incandescent light bulbs over CFLs might cost a customer in air-conditioning cooling costs.

I ran across a slightly dated (1994) EIA report on home heating and cooling costs (see http://tonto. ). In particular, Table C2 in Appendix C of the report (okay, I have too much time on my hands) provided a key data point: 1 million Btu of cooling costs $10, assuming a [seasonal energy efficiency ratio] (SEER) of 8.3 and 8.3 cents/kWh electricity costs. Also 1 W = 3.414 Btu/hr. I further assume that air conditioning is needed 6 months a year (4,380 hours).

A 100 W incandescent bulb will produce 250 Btu/hr more heat than a 100 W equivalent CFL (approximately 25 W). If the incandescent bulb is run 24/7 for the 6 months that air conditioning is used, this adds up to more than 1 million Btu of extra heat (compared with the CFL), or an extra $10 per year in cooling costs.

If you run the light only 6 hours a day, this still adds up to $2.50/yr difference in cooling costs, which is the price of a 25W compact fluorescent at Home Depot.

I hope your readers in the air-conditioning culture take note.

Daniel Simon,