Originally Posted by Biggles
Fluorescent lights save power compared to an old fashioned bulb once they are up and running. But starting them is very power intensive. That bit isn't mentioned on the green sights.
Thatís a bit of a myth. The start up power used is equivalent to running a incandescent bulb for several milliseconds.
Energy use during manufacture is higher, but I would suspect over the lifetime of the bulb, especially in high use scenarios, it becomes fairly significant.
With regards to the mercury - apart from the problems of breaking in the home, relative overall levels of mercury emitted into the environment are lower with energy saving bulbs, assuming a coal power station. Levels will be relatively higher when powered by gas/nuclear/wind power sources. Recycling can reduce levels further, but then your back into using more power. Big circular situation really.
IMHO unless we move away from burning fossil fuels none of these little changes will make much difference. Bring on fusion power stations.