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Banning the Bulb
Old 12-19-2007, 09:39 AM   #1
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Banning the Bulb

Now they've done it...
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"In this bill, we ban by 2012 the famously inefficient 100-watt incandescent bulb," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who co-sponsored that provision.

... (Lowell Ungar, director of policy at the Alliance to Save Energy,)...
"Consumers spend far more today to run their lightbulbs than they do to buy them," he said. "If you go out now and replace an incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent, it pays for itself in a few months."
Great (satire). Let's see - the government runs a deficit, I have money in the bank, yet - they think they should tell me how best to invest my money? No thanks. And - Mr Ungar is MOSTLY wrong.

About 80% of the light bulbs in my house are rarely used. I will NOT save money by replacing them with a CFL. And since it takes more natural resources and energy to manufacture a CFL than a plain bulb, the CFL will actually pollute MORE than the plain bulb (in low use applications).

I use CFLs - I put them where I leave lights on for a long time, and no where else. Let me make this decision for myself.

This is as stupid as the CAFE standards - dancing around the edges. If we should use less electricity - then tax it, and let the market and consumers figure out the best ways to conserve it. There are thousands of solutions, not just one hare-brained one.


Argggggg - ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:09 AM   #2
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Yep, dumb. Plus, there are some applications where an incandescent bulb is required. For example, a "rough use" incandescent bub is a better choice in a mechanic's drop light -sturdier, and when it breaks from rough handling, you haven't spread mercury vapors around your garage. CFLs won't fit in some lamps, and I use them sometimes for the heat they generate (e.g with a reflector behind them to keep pipes from freezing in a pumphouse, etc). How will Easy Bake ovens work? It's just 100 W bulbs now, but there will be further restrictions. Ever seen a CFL in an oven?

Looks like I might be stocking up on incandescent bulbs, at least they won't go bad.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Now they've done it...
Great (satire). Let's see - the government runs a deficit, I have money in the bank, yet - they think they should tell me how best to invest my money? No thanks. And - Mr Ungar is MOSTLY wrong.

About 80% of the light bulbs in my house are rarely used. I will NOT save money by replacing them with a CFL. And since it takes more natural resources and energy to manufacture a CFL than a plain bulb, the CFL will actually pollute MORE than the plain bulb (in low use applications).

I use CFLs - I put them where I leave lights on for a long time, and no where else. Let me make this decision for myself.

This is as stupid as the CAFE standards - dancing around the edges. If we should use less electricity - then tax it, and let the market and consumers figure out the best ways to conserve it. There are thousands of solutions, not just one hare-brained one.
Argggggg - ERD50
That's Congress for you.......how about getting the AMT thing figured out so we can do our taxes before April 15th?
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:12 AM   #4
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That's Congress for you.......how about getting the AMT thing figured out so we can do our taxes before April 15th?
Good point. If anything is to be banned, it should be politicians working on stuff while other more important stuff needs their attention.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:17 AM   #5
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Maybe you will have to smuggle your light bulbs along with your drugs from Canada? Where is the light bulb lobby when you need it? Another possibility is to just go to Washington and harvest the extra dim bulbs that are everywhere.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:20 AM   #6
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It's just 100 W bulbs now, but there will be further restrictions.
100 W bulbs are more efficient than 60W or 40W bulbs. The lower the wattage, the lower the efficiency.

Congress mandating technology is a bit like me telling Monet how to paint.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:20 AM   #7
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Good point. If anything is to be banned, it should be politicians working on stuff while other more important stuff needs their attention.

-ERD50
I guess Thomas Edison is rolling over in his grave over this. What about all the mercury going into these bulbs? Do we know how we are going to recycle 100 million burned out CFL's with mercury in them in 10 years or so??

I can buy 4 60 watt incandescents for $1 or so.

What are 4 CFL's? $13 or so? Do they really save that much money net, or is it a law of diminishing returns?

I think NOW is the time to load up on GE and Phillips stock, they are the 2 largest lightbulb folks on the planet. Their stock is headed up.........
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:21 AM   #8
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Another possibility is to just go to Washington and harvest the extra dim bulbs that are everywhere.
Now, you're talkin'!!!
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:25 AM   #9
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My electric bill runs $755 a year. TV, Computers, AC, and Heat make up the majority of my expense. The bulbs in the craft room, and tv room may pay for themselves. All the rest are on less than ten hours a year! While most are CFL's, the time value of money will most likely make these more expensive over there life.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:28 AM   #10
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What about all the mercury going into these bulbs? Do we know how we are going to recycle 100 million burned out CFL's with mercury in them in 10 years or so??
Well, if a CFL is put into a high use socket, they say that it uses less mercury than what the power plants on average put out to light the standard bulb. So that is reasonable (although I worry about the concentration of mercury in that bulb, and effective recycling).

But, in a low use socket - you put energy and mercury in the CFL, and you never get the offsets. Stupid policy. Same people that say - sure, we will give you a credit for your hybrid, so those batteries can sit idle 23 hours a day!

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #11
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Bunch of grumpy old men...

Once again, we apply our own common sense to the common person.

Very few people are implementing CFL's in their house.

Many states and utility companies offer instant rebates on CFL's. I'm able to buy them for around a dollar each. They're often free after rebate.

Most electricity in the US is produced by coal burning, coal contains mercury, and more mercury is exhausted into the air to light the average incandescent bulb than is contained in a CFL, its actually more ecological to use a CFL, which can be handled by a hazardous waste facility to capture the mercury or bury it in the ground rather than smoke it out into the air.

In fact, you'd have to break 8 billion CFL's to produce as much mercury as is produced by US coal plants to power existing incandescent bulbs over their lifespan. Coal plants spew 7 tons of mercury per year into the air per year to power light bulbs.

Remember folks, the big bad government isnt trying to tell you sensible people who know what they're doing what to do, its trying to steer the other 95% who couldnt give a crap and collectively wont do the right thing.

The electricity savings and pollution reduction from changing just a small percentage of light bulbs to CFL's is frickin enormous. We could take 90 power plants offline if every bulb was changed to a CFL, and eliminate the emissions equivalent of 800,000 automobiles.

I have two incandescent bulbs in my house; one in the oven and one in a dimmable fixture that takes a funny small base and has a weird shape.

Even my flashlights are LED.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:46 AM   #12
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Enough rational thought. Back to the grumpy old men!

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Old 12-19-2007, 10:52 AM   #13
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The electricity savings and pollution reduction from changing just a small percentage of light bulbs to CFL's is frickin enormous. We could take 90 power plants offline if every bulb was changed to a CFL, and eliminate the emissions equivalent of 800,000 automobiles.
Big numbers applied to big numbers gets pretty meaningless.

What are the percentages saved, and what are the alternatives to save that percentage? Include the extra energy it takes to MAKE the CFL.

The people w/o common sense that you refer to - they will buy these things and put them in the closet they open twice a year. So we are wasting their money and doing them and the environment a disservice in some cases.

Once again - the key to just about every problem is education, not limiting somebody's choice in order to 'save' them from themselves. And I resent MY choices being taken away because someone else can't figure it out.

I don't think people are so stupid that they would not understand - 'this CFL is a better deal if you use your current bulb an average of X hours or more a day'.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:16 AM   #14
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I guess Thomas Edison is rolling over in his grave over this. What about all the mercury going into these bulbs? Do we know how we are going to recycle 100 million burned out CFL's with mercury in them in 10 years or so??
Considering the huge amount of mercury that gets blasted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants, widespread use of CFL's is likely to result in a significant reduction in mercury emissions even with the mercury in the bulbs.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:18 AM   #15
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They absolutely are that stupid, and current sales records confirm it.

People will go to walmart, see the special on 16 incandescent bulbs for $2.50, and buy those.

They've done it, they're doing it, and they'll continue doing it.

The power companies have been 'educating' people through the media for years. Its somewhat helpful as adoption has risen. But at the end of the day, the familiar thing that costs 50c will win over the unfamiliar thing that costs $1.00.

By the way, the usage element is a red herring. If you dont use the CFL often, it'll last practically forever, and its aggregate usage and savings vs an incandescent bulb in that 8-20 years will be identical to a high use bulb in a shorter time period.

The additional cost to make the CFL is well offset by having it outlast a bunch of incandescents.

By the way, lead in paint makes for a much better product. Faced with the knowledge that lead was dangerous for children, people still painted with lead paint and became primarily concerned about preventing flaking...usually by painting over the flaked parts with more lead paint.

It wasnt until the government stepped in and outlawed lead paint that people stopped making and using it.

People really ARENT that bright when it comes to making good decisions...
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:38 AM   #16
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I don't totally disagree with you, however, I am more comfortable with a government that educates rather than legislates. I wore seat belts before they were mandatory, my grand kids use helmets, I put CFL's in all my lights when I built the new house.

I don't drive a Prius. I do drive a 25 mph vehicle. I have not been convinced that a Prius makes economic sense for me. We have one car. We pay to have large items delivered to the house. I don't smoke, I believe it is harmful to me and others. I don't drink and drive, not because it is illegal but because it is stupid. I don't do drugs, same reason.

So maybe politicians find it more profitable to legislate rather than educate. Yep, I know when it comes to government I am a cynic!
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:38 AM   #17
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The power companies have been 'educating' people through the media for years.
And some people have trouble with math - so lets just give up and stop teaching it. We can have a govt 1-800 hotline to provide the answer to hard math questions.

The education should be at the point of sale - maybe even mandated. Like the appliance energy tags (I think that is a reasonable approach).

Wait a minute - weren't you trying to convince me of the overwhelming power of advertising over on the CAFE thread? Now you say the education through the media has had minimal effect? :confused:

Quote:
By the way, the usage element is a red herring. If you dont use the CFL often, it'll last practically forever, and its aggregate usage and savings vs an incandescent bulb in that 8-20 years will be identical to a high use bulb in a shorter time period.
Not a red herring, because the regular bulb will last for 8-20 years too. So how much energy is embedded in the CFL?

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The additional cost to make the CFL is well offset by having it outlast a bunch of incandescents.
Maybe for high usage sockets, yes. Nice to have a choice to use it there if I want to.

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By the way, lead in paint makes for a much better product.
Very, very different argument. You can't easily tell if something has lead paint or not, after the fact. There are only a few cases where you could say the health risks are minimized to the point that the economics and durability win out. But with a CFL, it is the opposite, only the high use sockets make sense, probably a minority of sockets in most homes.

I don't mind not having a choice to buy lead paint - the 'common good' is served well enough for me. I'll accept that - I'm not a hard-liner on things, I think we need to do the things that are 'mostly right', most of the time.

Again, I'm all for conservation and fewer coal plants being built - I think this mandate is largely counter-productive.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:47 PM   #18
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Twice in the last year I've broken CFLs. I'm not real excited to know that I exposed myself to that mercury in my own home, when I'm supposed to be taking them to a hazardous waste facility. Iff you want to compare this to lead paint, it's more like CFLs ARE the lead paint than the solution.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:52 PM   #19
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Well, I have CFL's in about 50% of my lights at home......

They are aggravating because I use them on the garage door opener, and it takes too long to get "up to speed"........
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:14 PM   #20
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Not a red herring, because the regular bulb will last for 8-20 years too. So how much energy is embedded in the CFL?
You're kidding, right?

If a CFL is not on much, it'll still last 7-10,000 hours, regardless of whether it's on 2 hours a day or 10. :confused:

Where incandescent bulbs outperform is for short turn-on uses, such as closets (for some people). The initial hit for a CFL is larger than an incandescent, so turning on a closet light for 1 minute takes more energy with a CFL. Thus, LED bulbs.
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