A new energy law effectively kills the incandescent light bulb by replacing it with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs by the year 2020. By no coincidence, General Electric and Phillip’s stocks both spiked several percentage points on the day the bill passed by the Senate.1 It turns out that GE manufactures the CLF’s in China, paying far less for labor than it does manufacturing the incandescent bulb here in the United States.
The CFL’s are supposed to be much more efficient than the incandescent, making them the easy choice for meeting the 70% more efficient standard set by the new law,2 but this federal incursion into private homes on a premise still unproven, Global Warming, is particularly repugnant.
Firstly, the CFL’s contain mercury.3 It is ironic that lead has been outlawed from paint only to subject the citizenry to another poison. Secondly, it is insulting to Americans, who have proven track record in conservation and recycling, for the Federal government to pass a mandate expressing the government’s lack of confidence in citizens being able to achieve efficiency by other means. To wit, turning off lights when not in use, and using bulbs appropriate for a task.
Not shaving off enough percentage points yet? Try this: a dimmer switch. That’s what enables all those bulbs to make our rooms look so good in the indirect and track lighting we will no longer be able to use. For an idea of how efficient controlled lighting can be (controlled by the home owner, that is), we sent the staff at TheNewsBeats.com out shopping (they were on a roll, anyway). Here is some of what they found.
A 65 watt, 120 volt, flood light bulb will provide 65 watts of lighting for 2000 hours, but the 65 watt, 130 volt flood will provide 57 watts lighting for 5000 hours. The principal seems to be that the bulb designed for the beefed-up 130v wiring and then used on the 120v wiring (in most residential housing) lasts significantly longer while producing light that is reduced by only 8 watts.
With this in mind, consider that the actual use of most recessed and track lighting is governed by a dimmer switch that typically reduces the wattage of a 65 watt flood to around 40 watts and less (these are, admittedly, casual observations). Even without attempting back-engineering formulas, it’s not a stretch to suppose that most of the 70% of increased efficiency mandated by the new bulb law is already being met, and exceeded.
Well, this happy news was not lost on our shoppers, and TheNewsBeats.com is now stock full of all manner of incandescent bulbs. Oh, the warm glow of a 65 watt flood in a room, and the way that a 65 watt spot lays across a page of text, and that crystal clarity of those 40 and 60 watt clear bulbs. Yep, things are going to be a lot brighter around here in the coming New Year, and as always, more efficient.
[Editor's note: This story is filled under Levity, synonymous for "lighthearted," as opposed to the "darkhearted," who would have us all set in the dark with them.]
1. Planet Gore, “How Many Lobbyists,” NRO nationalreviewonline
http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/ (accessed December 28, 2007).
2. Josiah Ryan, “Reid: Banning Incandescent Bulb Appropriate Federal Act,” CNSNews.com, December 20, 2007.
3. Planet Gore, “Lobbyists.”