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View Diary: The great Lightbulb War goes on, funded by energy companies (224 comments)

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  •  Incandescent bulbs (8+ / 0-)

    are wonderful space heaters which, as a by-product of heating the air around them, emit some light.

    Only the willfully stupid want incandescent bulbs to stick around.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 02:23:42 PM PST

    •  Really? (9+ / 0-)

      Have you seen the new EPA guidelines for handling fluorescent bulbs if they break in your house?

      http://www.epa.gov/...

      http://www.epa.gov/...

      What do you think is going into landfills all around this country right now?

      •  I wonder how much mercury is emitted (12+ / 0-)

        by mining and burning enough coal and / or natural gas to generate $26B in electricity.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 02:37:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a good question, but arguably (6+ / 0-)

          under the present system much easier to control than millions of CLFs in households across the country are.  The toxic

          This is just the hard surface hazmat response people are advised to take if they beak a bulb:

          Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces

          1. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)
          2. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.
          3. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
          4. Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:
          5. Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;  
          Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and
          Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.
          6. Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
          7. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.
          8. Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.
          9. Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours.

          http://www.epa.gov/...

          That's just what happens in your house if one breaks.  What happens to your ground water and air around your landfill is definitely worse.

          It is worth reading the entire list of recommendations including not using CFLs in areas of "play"...

          I use some CFLs, halogen and incandescents.  This EPA warning really doesn't make me feel comfortable about my CFLs at all.

          •  total mercury emissions (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cameoanne, Faeya Wingmother

            I believe that total Hg emissions from the fraction of the saved  electricity generated by coal are far higher than those from the CFL's, even if nobody takes them back to the store to recycle. I'm very comfortable with CFL's. Just out of lab-generated habits for dealing with much larger Hg amounts (and also because of having had some old Hg thermometers) I keep some powdered sulfur around to help with the clean-up, if needed. For CFL's, that's really overkill.

            Michael Weissman UID 197542

            by docmidwest on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:30:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Recycling is possible. (0+ / 0-)

            Like batteries, the matter can be resolved technologically and legislatively.

            Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

            by James Kresnik on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:40:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Clumsiness never works for anything (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cameoanne

            In twenty-five years of handling CFLs, I have broken one.  This is largely due to the fact that they last five to eight times longer than incandescents, meaning I handle CFLs less than I would handle the required replacement number of incandescents.

            So the increased cleanup requirements of broken CFLs come at the bonus of almost never having to clean up a broken CFL.

            To me it sounds like a tempest in a teapot to describe the increased cleanup requirements of CFLs as somehow outweighing the sharply decreased number of bulbs, sharply decreased opportunities for breaking one, and sharply decreased energy bills. There just aren't any disadvantages of CFLs which aren't heavily outweighed by all the advantages.

        •  found a link...CFLs win (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          docmidwest

          here's a CFL Incandescent mercury comparison

          http://www.energyrace.com/...

          PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

          by RumsfeldResign on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:39:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And it gets better for CFLs! (0+ / 0-)

            He is using 2007 data, which put the total emissions of "no recycled CFLs" at 0.13 metric tons.

            In 2009, the Energy Department looked at current CFLs, improved by reducing the amount of mercury in them, and concluded the new "no recycled CFLs" emission amount was 0.12 metric tons, a reduction based on the bulbs that used to use 5mg now using 3mg mercury. If you are really paranoid, you could even use an "Eco-bulb" that only has 1mg.

            Of course, breaking one CFL in your house would only result in a personal exposure of 0.000007 mg of mercury.

            To put that in perspective, to achieve any ill effects whatsoever from CFL mercury content alone, you would have to break 1,000 CFLs every single day for several months for the minimum chronic exposure toxicity dose (0.7 μg/m^3). That much broken glass is itself a greater threat to your health long before the mercury content would be.

            To get enough mercury from CFLs to achieve an acute (single) exposure toxic enough to cause ill effects, you would have to break, in a single four to eight hour period, by yourself (involving friends reduces your own exposure), 157,143 CFLs. (1.1 mg/m^3).

            So the hazardous handling requirements for CFLs are just a precaution, just in case you've been ingesting or breathing a lot of mercury from other sources (a common problem in a Republican government).

      •  30 years ago... (4+ / 0-)

        ...I was a custodian in Denver Public Schools, and I had to follow a standard procedure (basically keep the box and refill with old bulbs and send back to Central Operations for appropriate disposal) for tube fluorescent bulbs because of mercury concerns.

        Household CFLs have significantly less mercury than tubes that we have (and should have always) handled with additional care, and both Lowes and Home Depot (and other sellers) collect used CFLs as an alternative to throwing them in the general trash.  

        Transitioning from the "disposable society" to something approaching proper stewardship for our collective environment will and must dictate changes in old habits of convenience.

        It's the least we owe to our children and grandchildren.

        The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

        by Egalitare on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:01:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can still remember when (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          inclusiveheart, dougymi

          you took burned out incandescent bulbs back to the store.  I have no idea why, or if you got money for them (I suppose the screw-in base was re-usable).

          And I don't qualify for Social Security yet (8 more months).

          We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

          by badger on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:04:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We owe it to our children, (3+ / 0-)

          grandchildren, pets and the environment to be much, much smarter about solving problems than we are right now.  CFLs in every household are not the smart answer, imo.

          When you were a custodian, you had a ready and available system for disposal.  You are going to recycle and take your batteries, printer cartridges and whatever other hazardous waste you have somewhere where it will be handled properly and safely (we think), but you are a minority.  You are a rare bird.

          We cleaned up American roads because of a teary Native American, but the challenge of controlling the proper disposal of millions and millions CFL bulbs is not nearly as easy to enforce or manage as that was.  Hazmat disposal in my city requires that I go to the dump which due to cut backs is no longer open on Saturdays.  How many people are going to be able to take a day off of work to do that?

          FWIW, there are as you note places that will also take certain hazmats, but it is hit or miss in a sea of millions of potential pollutants.

          Based on the EPA guidelines, people who live in apartment buildings with garbage chutes are likely living in something of a dangerous environment.  The garbage in every building I ever lived in in NYC ended up next to the heating and air systems...  Think about it.

          •  Seconding this. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            inclusiveheart

            I had a CFL bulb in a lamp at college, and came home from class one day to find that not only had my roommate dropped my lamp and broken the bulb, but she had left the shards right where it broke - where my feet went in the morning when I got out of bed - 'because I didn't know what to do about it' for an hour or more.

            I've seen multipack CFLs on clearance at some of the local 'dollar' stores, one of the bulbs visibly broken in the package.

            Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in th4e Middle East and Northern Africa when all is said and done are as few as possible.

            by Cassandra Waites on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:26:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Convenience is the sticking point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ActivistGuy

            Quite frankly, the problem of improper disposal of standard batteries is already bigger than the coming tidal wave of used CFL bulbs. We need to a massive retooling of habit from disposal to reprocess/recycle.

            It's not going to be easy. Especially with the likes of the Kochs reminding us of how inconvenient proper handling of what is essentially toxic waste will be - since we will be using just a bit less of their coal and cut into their expected profit margins if we actually do the right thing.

            So, yeah, I've thought about it. We need to institutionalize the handling of our entire waste stream.

            That will necessitate inconvenience.

            Our children will accept it as the way you're suppose to operate, and it will be hardest on us. There's no way to sugar coat it, and I'm not going to try.

            The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

            by Egalitare on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:44:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Look. What you don't understand (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lanius

              is that more and more people falling into poverty are working their butts off longer and at more jobs trying to just get through life, make ends meet and feed children or other family members.  They don't all have cars to go driving out to Home Depot to properly dispose of a light bulb - not to mention gas money - and how about that gas consumption?  The nearest Home Depot to me is about 35 minutes with numerous traffic lights and at the wrong time of day 60 minutes idling most of that time.

              I don't know enough about what's in the LED technology with respect to toxicity, but I know enough about CFLs to have developed pretty unwavering opposition to using them.

              •  LEDs are a little better (0+ / 0-)

                LEDs contain plastic in the shell, copper or aluminum wire as the metal, and a semiconductor core made from various chemicals. While they do not contain mercury, they do contain lead and/or arsenic, though it is much harder to break a LED and release those chemicals. LEDs produce much less light and do not produce more light if you simply make them bigger, requiring multiple LEDs in a fixture to boost light output, so they are still unable to compete with CFLs.

                The mercury content of CFLs is hardly anything to worry about, given a relatively mercury-free diet and environment. The breakage of a single CFL will give you a personal exposure of 0.000007 mg of mercury, while the minimum acute and chronic levels required for toxicity are 1.1 mg/m^3 (acute exposure, single four to eight hour period) and 0.0007 mg/m^3 (chronic exposure, daily for several months). You'd get more mercury from a fish sandwich than breaking a CFL, and the fact that they last five years or more means the opportunities you will have for breaking one are few and far between.

          •  This is somewhat distressing, (3+ / 0-)

            but in Europe and Japan disposal of this kind of household waste isn't really a problem, as they mandate that manufacturers or consumers provision for recycling. Batteries are a far worse hazard and that problem is being resolved here through voluntary measures. Frankly though, all e-waste should be recycled by law.

            Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

            by James Kresnik on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:44:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But we do not mandate. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cameoanne

              I am so glad for Europe and Japan, but we don't.

              And who is to say that the manufacturers under our free-for-all unregulated system of government are going to follow the rules?

              The back end of this equation has been completely mismanaged.  Frankly, the design of the bulbs is clearly completely flawed if we are going to have people putting 5, 10, 20 of these things in their houses.  What happens in an earthquake?  Does your house become some sort of Super Fund site?

              We should be smarter.

              •  Even if we don't mandate (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Egalitare

                education can solve most, if not all of the problem. It's largely a matter of consumer education. Recycling isn't some insurmountable challenge and the potential risks appear to far outweigh by the benefits.

                Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

                by James Kresnik on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:01:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was at a funeral last week taking the (3+ / 0-)

                  trash out for the widow with her brother.  In the dark, we put the recycling in the wrong can.  I realized and tried to move the recycling over.  He said, "Oh, it all goes to the same place anyway.  They don't really recycle."  Weirdly, that was the fourth time someone said that to me during the course of that one week.  You've got a lot of work ahead of you and I contend that you'd be better off not putting toxic consumables in the hands of consumers to the extent that you can avoid it instead of relying on their compliance and trust in the system.

                •  I live in a rural area (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lanius, in the Trees

                  we don't have recycling.  We barely have garbage pickup through a private company.

                  They won't even take cold ashes, let alone cfls.

                  Perhaps I should make a sculpture on my front lawn?

                  You seem to forget that a big part of this country don't live in cities.

          •  The many problems with CFLs - link (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IndieinVa

            As much as it pains me to agree with the Republicans (these Republicans, especially) - i think the progressive, and environmntal movements has dropped the ball on CFLs.  It SHOULD be us who champions of better technology and safer homes, champions of people that have physical problems because of CFLs.  
            As for the availabilty of incandescents - Canada (federal gov) plans to phase them out by 2012, and at least British Columbia has already outlawed incandescents in the most popular wattage (75-120 I think).

            The link is to the web site of Magda Havas, a researcher at Trent University in Ontario, and big in the field of dirty electricity and electrosmog:

            http://www.magdahavas.com/...
            dirty-electricity/

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              I and many other people have no problem with CFLs.  I even prefer the light of CFLs.  For people who don't want them though, they are fine because the 2007 law doesn't outlaw incandescent bulbs, only inefficient incandescent bulbs.  There are halogen incandescents available today that are functionally identical to inefficient incandescents (e.g. color accuracy, dimmable, outdoor use, etc...) but are 30% more efficient (70W produces the same lumens as a 100W conventional).  

      •  CFLs are a stopgap... waiting for LED to mature (0+ / 0-)

        now those are some awesome lights (tech just has to catch up)... but I did see some LED floods (not decorative like you usually see) at Lowe's last week, so almost there. :)

        Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

        by The Dead Man on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:41:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know enough about LEDs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cameoanne, IndieinVa

          to make a call on them one way or another at the moment.

          I never liked fluorescent lights because they gave me headaches, but it was only recently that I found out how toxic they are.  Personally, I've contributed many from our laundry room to my local landfill without knowing how toxic and dangerous they are.

          I just don't understand how in the world the Green Movement would think it a better thing for all of us to turn into MadHatters than to use electricity.  I'd rather turn my lights off than risk mercury poisoning for me, my family or my dogs - dogs that do from time to time manage to take out a lamp or two when they play in the house...

          •  LEDs... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            inclusiveheart

            I am hoping that LEDs are being manufactured in a more ecologically-friendly way than they have been in the past. They are, essentially, a semiconductor and they have had a history of using some pretty awful chemicals in the manufacturing process. Just cleaning the wafers used to involve toxic chemicals that workers were getting sick from and resulted in some drawn out lawsuits some years ago. I seem to recall that the processes switched to water instead of the nasty toxic stuff for some stages of the manufacturing process but they are not, by any stretch, as "green" as one might think. On the other hand, I doubt CFL (or even incandescent) bulb manufacturing is anything I'd want taking place in my back yard either.

            I am hoping that the LED replacement bulbs come in high enough wattages and fit in our existing lamps. Many of the CFLs do not fit (too tall for the harp/shades) and they don't come in higher wattage equivalents for people who read a lot. (And they seem to emit enough EM for my guitar pickups to, well, pick up.) The only LED replacements I've seen were only 40W equivalent (maximum) and were outrageously expensive.

            •  Halogen. (0+ / 0-)

              You can use halogen bulbs for your smaller lamp/harp configurations.  And I agree that it is likely that none of the bulbs are manufactured in super environmentally friendly ways.  The thing about the EPA guidelines for CFLs that bothered me really had to do with the fact that people are using them in their homes and likely really don't how toxic they are when and if they break.  It is one thing to be in a manufacturing plant with procedures and protections systems, but quite another to impress upon a dog or a toddler the importance of not getting near mercury - if you yourself even understand how serious the situation is.

        •  And after LED, incandescent (0+ / 0-)

          Everyone thinks that incandescent light bulbs are inefficient, but that's just using today's filament technology.

          Engineers have already developed metamaterials which do not emit blackbody radiation in the infrared range.  If you use this as an incandescent filament, you have a light that is far more efficient, and without the mercury or need for DC conversion.

          Banning incandescent bulbs because of energy waste is like banning cars because of carbon emissions.  This only makes sense if you don't believe anyone will invent a better one.

          Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

          by Caj on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:47:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's not necessarily an entirely bad thing (6+ / 0-)

      if you're in a colder climate where you're using heating; the heat given off of the bulbs somewhat mitigates heating costs (a point raised on some right-wing antiregulation website that was fanatically opposed to the new bulbs being promoted).

      Of course, there is the whole issue of "heat rises", and even in places like Delaware, Ohio there are warmer months where you're not heating, but I thought it was a half-decent point they happened to raise. Mitigates things a bit, but the incandescents are still quite inferior in the vast majority of circumstances (far as I know).

    •  It's not that cut and dry (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lanius, Catesby, codeman38, cameoanne

      In my experience, the dimmable CFLs are highly unreliable. They are expensive and burn  out quickly. They are a waste of money. Incandescent bulbs may use more energy, but I would be shocked if the life cycle cost of the CFL wasn't twice the cost of incads in dimmer switches.

      I also know people who find the light from CFLs and other fluourescents to be very annoying, either from the color or the flash.

      The cost of the CFL is generally being subsidized by local utilities, but the beneficiaries are in China.

      Time to strip citizenship from treacherous immigrants like Rupert Murdoch

      by freelunch on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:53:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've heard people find them annoying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cameoanne

        But, in my experience, only when they know they're there.

        I swapped out part of the incandescents in our house for CFLs: closets, guest bathroom, hall lights. My wife complained, said they were annoying. Electric bill went down 15%, though, so she accepted it.

        Then I secretly swapped out every other incandescent for a CFL: bedroom lights, nightstand lamps, living room lamps, desk lamps, kitchen lights (oven has always had an efficient halogen in it). No comments on the new lighting at all. Electric bill went down another 30%.

        I think it's all about the look of incandescents versus the look of CFLs, combined with a lot of people growing up with the cheapest kind of long tube fluorescent lights their local businesses could buy: fluorescent was bad when they were growing up, so the mere suggestion of fluorescent is enough to taint the modern, much improved fluorescent lights. No suggestion, no problem.

    •  CFL bulbs not appropriate for many situations (2+ / 0-)

      Like ceiling  fans or garage doors  
      Or recessed enclosed lights
      Or photocell or electronic timer
      Or dimmer switch
      Or outside in cold temps
      Or areas where lights go on and off in less than 15 to 30 minutes
      3 way bulbs are a big problem

      Now some of these have certain cfl that might work, pretty hard to find at a local store and it can be complicated, varying by manufacturer. Price of specialty bulbs all the higher
      For some no matter what type you use the life will be greatly shortened
      For some you are told to  just say no

      The time frame is way too soon for the current choice of CFLs.  Then the problem of inferior brands of CFL and failed failed components.

      So everyone should find where to order correct types and change  ceiling light fixtures they can't be used in and not buy the cheaper brands and so on . Some can't, many won't even know

      And when you are changing these bulbs several times per year you sure aren't saving anything. Oh and the disposal issue! That will take education and a lot more convenience but most will end up in land fills. Not that I'm against rare earth phosphors or anything.

      Might be only the unwillfully stupid wouldn't want incandescent bulbs to stick around for a bit longer until these bugs are worked out

      •  Then buy ... (0+ / 0-)

        halogen incandescents.  They are incandescents but more efficient and they satisfy the mandate of the 2007 law.  

        I have CFLs in nearly every light in my home.  They don't break.  They last a shockingly long time.  I don't mind the disposal issues given the various other things I need to take to the recycling center once in a while, e.g. old lithium batteries.  But hey, if you don't like them, feel free to use incandescent bulbs.  The 2007 law only requires that people not use the same grossly inefficient incandescent bulbs that they had been using for decades.

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        http://www.lighting.philips.com/...

        •  Not really talking about me, though I sure learned (0+ / 0-)

          the hard way because I had them stop working within days or weeks in  some of the situations listed above. I've been using them for years

          I'm also not saying I will throw them in trash, not talking about most of us here.  (Disposing of them here is quite inconvenient here for those without a car. Pretty much all other recycling is picked up curbside and going miles for disposal will be noticed.) I'm talking about as the law changes for everyone

          And I do think about poor people. I know that if it goes right it saves a lot over the life of the bulb but the initial outlay can be tough. Paying 99 cents for a 4 pack is a lot more doable than a 5 or $10 outlay  for fewer. I hope communities get coupons or bulbs to give away to help them out
          And I hope better standards are set
          and that there is a big push to educate
          and that the specialty cfl bulbs for situations that call for them become easier to get because those examples I noted are not rare ones
          From talking to people out of my inner circle I know way too many know way too little

          The nytimes link just went to a blank page that said advertisement. Don't know if you meant to give me an ad to  halogen bulbs or an article that would have followed?

          •  Agh, Vimes Boots! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cameoanne
            And I do think about poor people. I know that if it goes right it saves a lot over the life of the bulb but the initial outlay can be tough. Paying 99 cents for a 4 pack is a lot more doable than a 5 or $10 outlay  for fewer.

            Apparently you don't think all that much about poor people, if you think $5 now is always more expensive than 99 cents now.

            Let's do The Math. I happen to have a cheap 99-cent 4-pack of 60 watt bulbs and a $5 4-pack of 13 watt (60 watts of light) CFLs in my house right now, so I can read off the packaging.

            Incandescent 60 watt bulb, 99 cents in a 4-pack so 25 cents a bulb, 800 lumens, 750 hours life per bulb.

            CFL 13 watt bulb, $5 in a 4-pack so $1.25 per bulb, 950 lumens, 12,000 hours life per bulb. Since 12,000 divided by 750 is 16, this CFL replaces 16 - 60w incandescent bulbs.

            Assuming the national electricity cost of 10 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh):

            CFL Cost:  
            13w x 12,000 = 156 kWh.
            156 kWh x $0.10 = $15.60 over the lifetime of the bulb.
            $15.60 + $5 = $20.60 total cost of CFL purchase.

            Incandescent Cost:
            60w x 750 = 45 kWh
            45 kWh x $0.10 = $4.50 over the lifetime of the bulb.
            $4.50 x 16 = $72 in incandescent bulbs over the lifetime of one CFL

            $72 + $3.96 = $75.96 total cost of incandescent purchase.

            If poor people really look at 99 cents a box for incandescent 60w bulbs and then at $5 a box for the same number of fluorescent bulbs, and then say "the 99 cent box is cheaper", then the public schools need a lot more funding, especially in the math department, and poor people need to be convinced they have a future in which saving $55.36 is a good thing.

            As for the "Vimes Boots" comment?

            Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

            At the time of Men at Arms, Samuel Vimes earnt thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he, Vimes, could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he, Vimes, would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.

            Therefore over a period of ten years, he, Vimes, might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before.

            And he would still have wet feet.

            Or in the case of the poor person and the light bulbs, he would still have less light: the CFL produces 950 lumens, the incandescent only 800.

            Vimes boots doesn't work quite as well on the small scale of 99 cents vs. $5, since one $5 purchase saves so much in a relatively short period of time that people would have to be stupid not to spend $5 now to save $55 over the course of just one year. And have to spend less time changing light bulbs.

    •  To be fair (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, Cassandra Waites

      there are applications where incandescents are still the right choice.

      Heating the air around them is not always a problem.

      That said, there are new bulbs that are incandescent, that meet the new standard, using technology to increase the brightness per unit energy.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:11:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, don't think it's all that stupid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cameoanne

      To begin with just a personal preference, based upon comfort level, I absolutely hate the light of fluorescent bulbs -- always have -- as they have always caused intense eye strain for me, as well as headaches, and yes, because they cast an ugly light on everything.  But in the interests of the environment, I have also tried to be very conscious of usage, including going to the trouble to have dimmer switches installed on EVERYthing, as well as using the lowest wattage I can get away with.  And I use them, always, turning lights up only when needed to read, or work, or cook.  I also use halogens where possible, though I don't feel they are a good answer due to the fact that they are very, very hot, and as such a fire hazard.

      In addition, as much as I have always hated fluorescent lighting and the cold, sickly light it casts, now I have extra reason for it.  Two years ago, I suffered a detached retina in my right eye, requiring 4 very traumatic surgeries to repair.  As now there is a problem regulating the pressure in that eye (too low, at risk for losing the eye if it doesn't stablize), I must be on a regimen of eye drops, one of which is atropine, a dilator.  As such, whenever I am in the presence of ultra-white, ultra-bright light such as CFLs emit, I am intensely uncomfortable.  They literally hurt my eyes.  If it is somewhere I can't escape politely (such as my sister-in-law's dining table overhead light) I must don sunglasses.  As cool as that may look, it is not really much fun to have to constantly be reminded of my new disability.  Plus, then I cannot see to eat my dinner!

      There are other options out there, including some newer LED technology.  A few nights ago a friend sent me a link (http://www.frogdesign.com/...) to a recent article about a new design in LED bulbs that truly mimics the shape and light "temperature" of incandescent lighting, but lasts forever, without the Mercury contamination, without the need for special disposal (which I truly doubt most people will follow -- the bulbs will just go into the trash with everything else) and with the ability to dim the lights to whatever level is most comfortable. For me this is the technology to get behind.  Yes, there are new dimmer switches out that that can dim SOME CFLs, but they are very expensive to buy, and also one like me would need an electrician to install them.  Hundreds of dollars.

      I find myself very puzzled, if not appalled, that so many here cannot imagine why anyone would oppose this enforced changeover and would consider anyone who does to be "willfully stupid" or worse.  There are many reasons someone on the left, and someone who is a champion of the environment might think otherwise.

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