Compact fluorescent bulbs are considerably better in terms of light quality and durability now than they were three or four years ago and in my opinion Cecil must have been buying off brand cfl’s if he was still having problems with burnout as recently as two years ago.
But this is a minor quibble.
Lighting consumes an enormous amount of energy and cfl bulbs being mandated have contributed considerably to reducing everybody’s utility bills both by using less electricity and by reducing air conditioning costs in any building where air conditioning is used.
Beyond that reduced electricity consumption means less air and water pollution from burning coal and natural gas to make electricity and fewer public health problems.
There is no need to freak out about the minute amount of mercury used in cfl bulbs although they should be disposed of properly of course. The environmentalists are generally right about dangerous substances but they tend to get carried away with religious fervor like the old prohibitionists who couldn’t stand the thought of anybody having a beer and go overboard and compete with each other to see who can be holier than everybody else.
The best example I can think of in this respect is the incredible fuss over birds killed by wind turbines. I love birds myself and operate my little farm as a wildlife friendly place but the truth is that taken all around wind power is good for birds because it helps preserve the environment. Birds aren’t going to do so well in a runaway greenhouse world.
A similar calculus applies to the mercury in cfl bulbs. If we just threw all of them out in the trash without a second thought they would still be an environmental bargain because each one made and used on the average prevents coal fired power plants from releasing several times as much mercury into the air as is contained in a cfl.
Now about led’s---- they were indeed fifty bucks a couple of years ago but now you can get good name brand led bulbs for as little as ten to twenty bucks if you are a careful shopper.Most people who pay attention to the prices of such new gizmos expect the price of led’s to continue to come down pretty fast for another few years before they hit rock bottom.