Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Energy-safe or sorry?

Thanks to Amateur for bringing this to my attention in her recent blog post. Go read that one first (and the articles contained here [Fox news] and here [MSNBC]). If you want to see the text of the bill, it's here. A summary can be found here.

What does this mean? Assuming compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) replace your incandescent lights, pay more up front, save a bunch over the (longer) life of your lighting, and really hope you don't break one! WARNING: Compact fluorescent lights contain mercury! If you break it, please take care in cleaning up the mess!

Here is the Main DEP's fact sheet regarding the whole situation (referred to in the Fox news article, above). The Maine DEP's Fluorescent Bulb Info page shows some good tips for cleanup, and does reference the fact that CFLs should not be disposed of in regular trash (due to the fact that they contain mercury).

GE has a good page regarding CFLs. Especially note that, if the CFL is in a place where lights are turned on and off frequently (such as, for instance, a bathroom, or a kitchen when the kids are going in and out getting drinks or snacks; of course, if your kids are like mine, then the lights are left on most of the day regardless of whether someone's in there at all!), you're not going to reap the benefits of the CFL design. (If your kids are like mine, though, you'll save a lot since the lights are regularly left on all over the house! :)

So... to buy, or not to buy? You won't have much choice after 2012 (for 100w bulbs; 2013 for 75w bulbs and 2014 for 40w & 60w bulbs - and, note, I mean "equivalent light" here, the wattage is the incandescent wattage - the CFLs produce similar amounts of light [lumens] with much lower wattage), unless you use colored lights (see the text of the energy bill).

In other news, Madison has two interesting weather alerts today:
Looks like the "bone dry arctic air mass" is leading to a potential for fire conditions across the area. Funny... the coldest night of the winter leads to a fire hazard!

Enough, I'm done with this post... have to go prevent things from freezing and catching on fire at the same time... :)


amateur said...

Thanks for the link (again, even), though since yours is much more accurate I'm not sure they should read mine first. I guess I could make some corrections.

Thanks also for adding me to the roll...wondering, tho', why [interesting] is in brackets...? rather alarming, that ;) ....hmm, can't remember the proper way to use brackets...guess I need to look it up...

Tony M said...

Brackets... hmm... it's sort of like parentheses, but not quite. I just thought it looked kind of cool. A way to add parenthetical comment without using parentheses... sort of a "my own thoughts" without it being mere parenthetical comment. Or something. :)

Dean Lusk said...

These are the bulbs that I've sworn never to use again. I had one of these curly things spontaneously decide to combust. Had we not been home, I assume the house would have eventually combusted with it.

In 38 years, I've not had one of Edison's bulbs do anything like this.

What a pain. I thought that Republicans were all about letting the free market police itself. But I suppose this is exactly in line with the government requiring cars to get X miles per gallon.

Hopefully this will turn out like the plan way back in the 70's (?) that would have had me saying "X kilometers per hour." That scheme didn't pan out well because no one accepted it, whether out of laziness or rebellion.

May this follow suit. Otherwise my family and I will have to get used to kerosene lamps.

Tony M said...

I suppose we have a few years to learn whether:

- this will fall by the wayside (be repealed or something)
- they'll invent something other than CFLs that are at least 30% efficient, don't use Mercury, and won't catch fire
- we'll need to stock up on incandescents before they're pulled from the shelves (or learn to like colored lights in our houses)

How about LED-based lights? Seems like AC-DC converters in the screw-in base, powering LED lights, would be a possibility. Might have to work on dimming lights, as I'm not familiar w/ the LEDs, whether they can be run at a lower voltage to produce a lower light output (but I'd assume that to be the case). Just need to get this idea out there to the marketers... now those would truly be long-lasting lights!