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City of LA to Distribute Free CFLs to Every Household; Projected Savings of 240 GWh and 131,000 Tonnes CO2

The City of Los Angeles, California is launching a citywide program to distribute free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to every household in Los Angeles as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the City’s carbon footprint. The free light bulb program is projected to save up to 240 GWh of energy and 131,000 metric tons of CO2 each year—the equivalent of taking approximately 24,000 cars off the road or enough energy to power 40,000 homes for a year.

Through LADWP-sponsored teams, the City will deliver bags containing two free CFLs and energy-saving tips to the door of each of the 1.2 million households in Los Angeles. Distribution of the majority of the 2.4 million CFLs will take place within the next 12 weeks, with a follow-up phase targeting multi-family units and hard-to-access single-family units.

The LADWP CFL replacement program is projected to save $61.3 million in fuel costs for generating electricity and will save Angelenos $100 per household on energy bills over the lifetime of the bulbs. Replacing two traditional incandescent light bulbs with CFLs will avoid the burning of 800 pounds of coal and its associated emissions.

On 15 May 2007, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled GREEN LA - An Action Plan to Lead the Nation in Fighting Global Warming. GREEN LA sets Los Angeles on a course to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 35% below 1990 levels by 2030, going beyond the targets of the Kyoto Protocol and representing the most ambitious goal of any large US city. The cornerstone of GREEN LA is increasing the City’s use of renewable energy to 35% by 2020.

LADWP is mindful of the proper handling of CFL bulbs and is setting up CFL disposal recycling bins in all of its Customer Service Centers.



Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles.

Andrey Levin

I suspect that SF move will be a waste. LED lighting is improving at amazing rate, and is vastly better than FCL technology.

Last development:


Leds are not there and are still extremely expensive.
They have niche applications, but are not ready for the mainstream, yet.
A 60W equivalent LED lamp costs about $90, a 60W CFL costs about $5.
People say LEDS are 10x better than incandescents, they are about 7x better. CFLs are about 5x better - the margin is not very great.

The brightest leds are "cold white" which you do not want in your house. The warm white ones generate 20% less light.

CFLs have been getting much better over the last 10 years and are now very good within their limitations.

The dimmable ones that I have used are very poor, and they all take a while to come up to full brightness.

But the colour temperature is OK - it matches incandescents well, and the sizes and shapes are much better than they used to be.

It seems a sensible move to me - the only question is how many lights do you give to each house - they are giving 2 - 4 might have been better.

In 3-5 years LEDS may be ready to replace CFLs for mainstream lighting, but that time is not now.

A trickier problem is replacing Halogen spots which people have in their kitchens. CFLs do not really work for this as they do not have the directionality and small size - we may have to wait for LEDs for this application.

Everyone can see that LEDs are coming, it is a question of timing - my advice would be to wait - and use CFLs in the meantime.

Andrey Levin

LEDs are not here? LEDs bulbs are already on sale in Costco.

Even cold LEDs are better than flicking/harsh FCLs. Good FCL are 3 times more expensive than cheap junk peddled by SF morons.

LEDs are already mainstream in traffic lights, flashlights, and brake lights in cars.

LEDs headlights are already offered on Audi, Cadillac, and 2010 Prius.

No mercury, no breaking glass, superior dimming, instant lighting, superior performance in cold, to name a few.

And it is not only my opinion. From two dozen companies active in white LEDs only one is still public traded. CREE (stock market price BTW did not dive in last year). All others are already taken in private.


They discovered a new way to make leds that are vastly cheaper.. The result should be leds taking over the market within a few years as they ramp that process up.


Anyway you slice this one we are going to be in deep trouble if we don't get on with becoming energy independent. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2 X faster than new oil is being discovered. The high price of fuel the previous year has brought America to it's knees and done serious damage to our economy and society. Our nation better wake up and smell the coffee and realize oil is finite, it is running out faster than anyone realizes and it is time to get on with utilizing alternative sources of energy. We should never give others that much power over our economy. America's need to become energy independent seems to be realized by only a select few. Hopefully our new administration will move forward with this very important issue. I just read a really good book called The Manhattan Project of 2009 by Jeff Wilson.I highly recommend this book for anyone concerned about out economy and America's need to become more energy independent.


Leds have many applications in signaling and power constrained illumination. Brake lights, flashlights, bike lights are all perfect applications for LEDs at their current development level - as AL has pointed out.

What they are not ready for is replacing domestic "bulk" lighting as typified by 100W incandescents - they are too expensive. You can do it, but the cost is currently prohibitive. For this, CFLs should be used.

Decent CFLs do not flicker - they are run at 28KHz or something like that. They are not "harsh" whatever that means. They provide perfectly decent lighting quality. If your CFLs are flickering, replace them with ones from GE or Philips.

I watch this space carefully, and my opinion is that LEDs are not ready for bulk domestic lighting.

I have replaced nearly all my incandescents with CFLs, I have 2 dimmable CFLs (which are not very good), and I have left some incandescents in for dimming.

I have left in all my Halogens, but replaced 50W ones with "Energy saving" 30W ones (Philips). I have tried Leds to replace them but they are too dim/expensive/bluish.

I have replaced one GU10 light with a LED which is rather dim, but in the particular application (rarely used), it is OK.

I watch to see what is coming, and await the day when I can replace my halogens with LEDs, but that day is 2-3 years off (I believe).

I think replacing incandescents with leds is further out (3-5 years) and people should just get on with it and use CFLs for the foreseeable future.

Here is a good article on the state of LED lighting.

The Cree share price has gone from about $34 12 months ago to $21.50, having been as low as $14 in October so they are experiencing a rocky road (like everyone else).


LEDs will have their place in applications where CFLs will fail quickly - outdoor lighting, refrigerator lighting, and any lighting requiring quick switching for short periods of time.

Until then, get CFLs and by the time they burn out LEDs should be more appropriately priced (given that you don't flick your CFLs on and off constantly they should last up to 7 years).

It is funny how all of a sudden GE can now produce an incandescent that is a good 33% more efficient than standard, but it was only worth the effort when the threat of regulations banning incandescents was being tossed about.


Wow! Free CFLs for the people! Initiated under the crafty Bush Administration in 2007. But wait people. CFLs contain the deadly TOXIN mercury vapor! Is this a carefully administered plot to poison Angelenos???

See, I knew that Bush really hates California, hippies, beatnicks and beaners. So now he's gone but his insidious plot to kill the coolest people in America is in full swing. Someone notify Warner Bros! - we need Batman - and 10,000 Hazmat personnel!


Mercury is toxic but more is release by burning coal to power an incandescent bulb than is contained in a CFL.

When i was a kid, Detroit Edison always exchanged free bulbs for burnt out ones. Their motive, however, was the encourage you to use more power.


I bought a CREE MR-12 12V LED to replace my 30W Halogen. I measured the might with my multimeter and visually. The results was disappointing. The LED was a lot dimmer than advertised, and it burned out after 1 day. I think LED's have a great future, especially for certain applications, but the are currently way over priced. I doubt they will replace commercial T8 x 4 ft lighting for a long time, and they not even more efficient anyway.

I will not buy LED until they are real cheap.

Andrey Levin


52 weeks average for Cree is 24$ (current price is around 22$). Compared to broader market Cree is holding admirably.

I agree that LEDs are not yet ready to go mainstream, but as I said, progress in longetivity, price, luminous intensity, efficiency, heat tolerance, is very fast.

For halogen bulbs take a look at DICHROIC halogen bulbs, they are about 30% more efficient than regular halogen (technology used is much like GHG Global Warming effect, only it is real). BTW, replacement dichroic headlights bulbs for cars (sold on E-Bay , for example) offer LEGAl increase in intensity of about 30%.

“Harsh light” from CFLs is kind of unique property of such light to change temperature specter depending on angle. Most people found such effect unpleasant.

Gdb: LEDs do not tolerate jumps in voltage. Your bulb most probably was not properly stabilized. Battery operated LEDs, like in flashlights, RV, boat, or alike last kind of forever.


In general the government has no business buying and distributing free light bulbs with my money.
But, I believe they will soon stamp out capitalism and provide everything I need (by their definition) so what the heck - it works in Cuba.


Funny how the program pattern now in rotation is all about "socialism." It's like the script team can't handle more than one idea at a time. So we get the latest news cycle shouting about how the stimulus package is really a terrifying shift to "socialism." Eeeek! You mean like "Social" Security?

Just a hint for the writing team. Try adding a few contrary POVs, some non-alarmist discussion, and a better Rush Limbaugh imitator. This one's particularly lame!

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