Let There Be Light

The dim bulbs in Congress have condemned me to pee in the dark.


During a Senate hearing last week, Rand Paul complained about the federal energy standards that will force conventional incandescent light bulbs off the market during the next few years. "I can't buy the old light bulbs," the Kentucky Republican said. "That restricts my choice."

The response from an Energy Department official nicely illustrated the paternalistic, know-it-all attitude Paul was criticizing. "I'm pro-choice on bulbs," insisted Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. "My view is, what you want is lighting." And the government, in its infinite wisdom, will tell you what kind of lighting is best for you.

By this logic, the government could ban cars without meaningfully restricting consumer choice, because what you want is transportation, and you can always ride a bike or take a bus. The fact that you have implicitly rejected the tradeoffs entailed by those other options does not matter.

And so it is with light bulbs. The energy efficiency standards that have doomed the most popular varieties, set forth in a law signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, will begin to take effect in January, making conventional 100-watt bulbs illegal. By 2014 all traditional bulbs (except for a few specialized uses) will be abolished, to be replaced by more efficient alternatives, mainly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Kathleen Hogan is right: What I want is lighting, and CFLs are not very good at providing it. Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs do not go on when you flip a switch; they think about going on and then, after mulling the idea for a few minutes, achieve their maximum brightness when you are done with whatever you were planning to do—which is especially annoying in the bathroom.

CFLs do not work well with dimmers, which we have throughout our house, and sometimes they emit an unbearable whine. And did I mention that they cost up to six times as much as their incandescent competitors?

CFLs "cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs," USA Today concedes, "but they last longer." Not in our house, the one we lived in before this one, or the one before that.

One reason our CFLs don't last as long as advertised may be that we turn them on and off. According to a 2009 report in The Telegraph, "The lifespan of energy-saving light bulbs can be reduced by up to 85 per cent if they are switched off and on too often."

If you try to avoid this problem by leaving the lights on, you undermine the main selling point of CFLs, which is that they save electricity by producing more light for the same amount of energy. "A household that upgrades 15 inefficient incandescent light bulbs," Hogan enthuses, "could save about $50 per year."

That calculation takes into account the higher price of CFLs, but I suspect it assumes they last longer than they really do. In any event, I would gladly pay 14 cents a day for the luxury of lights that go on when I turn them on. But the government won't let me.

I am not a fuddy-duddy clinging to "the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory"—as Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) put it when he introduced a bill to repeal the bulb ban—simply because it's familiar. I will be happy to use CFLs if and when their manufacturers get the kinks out, or LED bulbs when they become affordable. But I am not the only one who thinks we're not there yet, judging from the Energy Department's estimate that more than 80 percent of residential light sockets were still occupied by incandescent bulbs last year.

By forcing this transition, the government is ignoring the preferences that most Americans have clearly expressed in the marketplace. Which explains why I cheered when I heard Paul declare: "You busybodies always want to do something to tell us how to live our lives better. Keep it to yourselves."

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2011 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Everyone knows Paul is in the pocket of Big Filament.

    The government should assign Energy Department employees to everyone’s house, to stand there at the light switches and anticipate fifteen minutes beforehand when you’re going to be needing to light up any given room. That’s the only reasonable government fix to the CFL problem.

    1. Everyone knows Paul is in the pocket of Big Filament.

      Keep it in your pants, there, buddy.

    2. If CFLs take too long, you can always buy LEDs! Isn’t that enough choice for you!?

      Expensive vs. semi-functional. Take your pick.

    3. I actually don’t have a problem with CFLs. The brand Home Despot sells is pretty good in terms of matching incandescent light temperature and I can leave them on all day without worrying too much about the cost to run them too much.

      Still, it drives the missus crazy when I just throw them out. “But, you have to recycle them because of the mercury!” Fuck ’em. Don’t want the mercury? Don’t mandate them.

      1. Recycle them where? I recycle lots of things when the garbage truck picks it up for me, but I just throw out the CFLs because I don’t have a CFL bin next to my garbage can.

        1. You can recycle them at Home depot and many other hardware stores.

          1. Not really, we just throw them out too.

          2. I live 116 miles from the nearest Home Depot. No stores in this area recycle them. So what would you suggest then?
            I hate those bulbs! I have bad eyesight and can’t read by them. I’ve bought all the regular bulbs I can. I’m old, and probably have enough for the rest of my life. I won’t bow down to the communist EPA or Obama! They can kiss my A$$!!

      2. As Episiarch noted in a thread yesterday, fire is free.

        1. Only if the fuel source is.

          1. Dried dung!

          2. Congressional bills? There are lots of them, and they won’t be missed.

      3. Yeah, I just throw them away too. I called the county about it and they had no clue at all how to dispose of them “properly”.

        1. You take them back to the hardware store.

          1. You extract the mercury and make thermometers. Which you then sell on eBay.

            1. You extract the mercury and make thermometers vaccines. Which you then sell on eBay.


              1. Hey now!

                1. This place is pretty Funny!

          2. in California you have to take them to special drop off points or else you can be fined. The Fine for not recycling batteries and putting them in your trash is supposed to be $10.000.

            1. Ten dollars? That’s all?

              1. SORRY 10,000.00

        2. See, this is why I make my own CFLs at home … from organic wheat … that I grow in my back yard. That way after the bulbs burn out, I can make my own bread by grinding them up … using a stone grinder … powered by grey water … recycled from my cold-water shower. Yeah, eat your hearts out.

          1. Your unauthorized production of CFL for personal use is impacting interstate commerce. I’ll have the SWAT team over shortly; make sure your dog is in plain sight so we don’t accidentally shoot out any bulbs.

            1. Well done.

            2. whats sad is this is basically true, supreme court in the 1940’s deemed a farmer growing his own wheat to feed his own animals was unlawful because it effected “interstate commerce” , if too many people started building their own homes guess what …..

        3. Dump a bunch in a box and send them to Congress.

          1. Best idea I’ve heard all day!!

      4. Unintended consequences 101! I completely agree

      5. Here we’re supposed to take them to the County Incinerator. They have a special hazadous waste collection area set aside just for CFLs.

        I discovered it when I went there with a container that had some broken thermometers in it. The workers had no clue what to do with it until eventually a supervisor said, “It’s mercury, right? Just put it over there with the light bulbs.”

      6. There’s more mercury in the production of incandecents than whats in the CFL, and by throwing them away your not “Fuck[ing] ’em” but rather yourself by encouraging groundwater degredation.
        Recycling is easy, you’ve already mentioned that you go to home depot for the bulbs, just bring the burned out ones with you next time you go to pick more up.
        People don’t want the right to choose they want the right to be lazy, but that right inherently imposes upon the rights of others around them.

        1. “Mercury in the production of incandescents?” Check your facts about the manufacturing process.

        2. I think you mean that incandescents adds more mercury to the environment due to the energy production method. In my province, most energy is produced by Hydro Electricity (so much so, that the electrical utility is referred to colloquially as ‘hydro’). CFLs, in this case, are WORSE for mercury introduction.

        3. CFL mercury,
          is indeed a much bigger problem than any incandescent related coal
          power plant mercury release

          The coal plant argument keeps doing the rounds,
          but USA EPA administration themselves are not now pursuing that
          argument (whatever about old diagrams floating around), following the
          90% mercury emission reduction mandate under Lisa Jackson.

          It never was true anyway, for the extensive referenced reasons here:

          (Of course, to the user, a broken bulb in the home is a likely greater
          worry than a distant chimney emission release anyway, again with
          reference to EPA in their clean-up mandates)

  2. “Tennessee Republican” Rand Paul?

    1. “Today, Tennessee. Tomorrow, the World!”

      1. Isn’t, Lexington, Tennessee where the Revolution started?

        1. No, that was Concord, Alabama.

          1. The grape capital of the world…

    2. Good catch.

      Now, could you do something about McConnell?

      1. Gawd, will someone pleeeeeze, give that man, McConnell an enema and bury him in a matchbox? Please?

  3. By forcing this transition, the government is ignoring the preferences that most Americans have clearly expressed in the marketplace.

    Liberal response:

    “Americans are not smart enough to make these decisions on their own. We must make it for them.”

    1. Average Joe Rebuttal:

      “But what if poor people have to go without lights now because you assholes got rid of the cheap alternatives?”

      Liberal Response:

      “Well…we’ll just have to subisdize them with…Light Bulb Stamps. Yeah…That’s the ticket.”



      1. We already do subsidize them by keeping their electricity costs artificially low and helping pay their utility bills. If nothing else mandating these will actually save the government money through energy efficiency changes that result in 3x energy savings at the plant(due to combustion and transmission inefficiencies) and also lower amounts of externalities such as human health effects due to decreased fossil fuel combustion.
        I know logics a bitch- i’d much rather complain than listen to reason

        1. Hey Doc, you want some more logic? Don’t subsidize anything – that will save even more money. Logic’s a bitch, huh?

          1. I’m against subsidies, and haven’t posted anything to the contrary. Not sure why that was directed towards me, nor does that in any way refute my point

        2. “3x energy savings at the plant”

          In an ideal world CFL’s use something like 3 times less energy than incandescent, but that doesn’t equate to 3 times savings at the plant. You remember air cond. and fridges and stoves and washers and driers and computers etc? And that’s just talking about residential use. You know how much of the electrical load goes to industry? I can’t even imagine that switching to CFL will reduce total demand be even as much as 30%, let alone 300%. I’ll bet in real life it would be closer to 3% than either of those other numbers. You’re a doctor of social work or something like that, aren’t you? Just kidding…I know Doc’s just a nickname.

          1. As I stated in the other posts, the 3x energy savings at the plant is due to inefficiencies in combustion and T&D, so everyone watt saved at the user end results in 3 watts saved at the plant. I also mentioned that lighting accounts for between 20-30% of a buildings energy loadings, slightly less in residential due to the amount of random other appliances people have. Never did i say our overall power consumption in the us would be cut by 300%, that’s just ridiculous.
            Your doctorate is probably in jumping to conclusions after reading comprehension difficulties right?

            and yes, i do know how much electrical load, as well as all other energy goes into industrial, and the other sectors:

          2. Most industry already uses flourescent bulbs and have been for probably 50 years. This won’t affect them noticably.

        3. RE supposed savings,
          apart from affecting people’s product choice,
          the actual switchover savings are not that great anyway =
          less than 1% of overall energy use, and 1-2% grid electricity is saved,
          as shown by USA Dept of Energy, EU statistics and other official information

          with alternative and more meaningful ways to save energy in
          generation, grid distribution or consumption.

          Light bulbs don’t burn coal or release CO2.
          Power plants might.
          If there’s a problem – deal with the problem,
          rather than a token ban on simple safe light bulbs,
          light bulbs that people obviously like to use
          (or there would not be a “need” to ban them!)

        4. I’m 62 and disabled and on oxygen. NOBODY helps me pay my electric bill.
          I struggle to pay it, but would rather pay for the incandescents than help the government save any money, which they spend on themselves or other countries!

    2. There’s a video site I frequent that’s very, very, very liberal. Several comments were to the effect of this is how republicans/the bourgeoisie react to their way of life being unsustainable. I almost replied “Kind of like how lefties cover their ears and go ‘LALALALALALALALALA’ when you tell them free money for everything under the sun is coming to an end?”

      Unfortunately, I live by the well-known rule of: “Arguing on the internet is like the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you’re still retarded.”

      1. Sustainability would be taken care of with a real free market in energy supply. As costs go up people would be willing to switch over to more efficient bulbs and the companies making them would have incentives to fix their shortcomings. Not sure as much incentive exists when the product is now mandated. Although, the first guy to come up with a CFL that worked like an incandescent would definitely make millions (if not billions)….

    3. “Americans are not smart enough to make these decisions on their own. We must make it for them.”

      This is their worldview in a nutshell.

      1. Amen to that. I read the NY Times piece on the bulbs a few days back, and about 50% of the comments were of the form, “You Americans are such babies! Why don’t you just do the smart thing your government tells you to do?”

        1. Well Europeans and their governments are much smarter than we are. Just ask them.

        2. Europeans did what their governments told them to all through the last century. How did that work out for them?

    4. We as a Society have decided what kind of lighting Society will invest in.

  4. Probably the only people who benefit from CFLs would be students like me who stay up all night studying.

    Actually I don’t study…hmm

    1. And General Electric.

      Don’t forget General Electric.

    2. Fun fact: I haven’t slept or even left this computer lab (except to go to half of a class to take a quiz) in 26 hours. Hooray for take home exams!

  5. Am I wrong to understand that the law – which I oppose – is presentd as not for individual benefit, but rather for the long-term common benefit, like outlawing private ownership of WMDs?

    1. You’re assuming that the cost of lighting is not accurately reflected by the price of the bulb. Basically, you’re arguing that energy production creates externalities that only Government can properly account for. The problem is that about half the nation doubts those externalities exist and therefore doubts that this legislation will have any long-term common benefit. In fact, we think it will cause a long-term common detriment because we will have wasted some resources on lighting that could have been better spent elsewhere.

      1. I said that I am opposed to the law, and asked whether the law is not presented – that is, by my opponents – as good for the many rather than as good for the individual.

        I was responding to the above comments of other opponents of the law who seemed to be saying that the law is presented by its proponents as benefiting individuals who are not wise enough to decide what is good for them individually, on the model of legislating what people should eat.

        1. Sorry, I didn’t realize you were replying to someone else.

          Even if the law is presented that way, it seems like half the country would still reject it. Of course that didn’t stop the health care change (I refuse to refer to it as “reform”) law either….

      2. Even there, it would make more sense to attack energy itself, rather than hitting a few instances of things that use energy.

        What’s particularly bizarre is the out and out ban. Even with gas guzzling cars, they just imposed fleet standards on car makers — if they tried something like that with light bulbs, it would constrain the supply of incandescents relative to CFLs, creating a price differential that would favor CFLs, while allowing incandescents to be used at greater expense when a person either has a lighting need that CFLs don’t meet, or is strongly attached to them.

        That said, the addiction to control is not a rational thing. Until the Nurse Ratcheds are committed, all that can be done is to remind everyone that there’s one type of equality progressive don’t believe in improving — equality between government technocrats and the people.

        1. Lighting accounts for typically between 20-30% of energy consumption in buildings- slightly less in residential due to the amount of other random energy draws in homes. It seems to me that if around 30% of electricity is being used for lighting that that would be a hell of a place to start to make improvements for energy conservation. Switching to a bulb that uses 1/4 the energy of its counterpart resulting in a 12x energy savings at the plant actually makes a huge dent.

          1. although I do agree with you on the oddity of the ban – I think it would be much more effective to simply place a tax on them to offset the additional increase in negative externalities due to their usage and then reinvest that in funding research to improve energy efficiency.
            Let people pay the premium for their decision and reinvest the money that comes from it. But that makes too much sense.

      3. The cost of lighting isn’t accurately reflected in the bulb. The cost of the production of the bulb and what people will pay is reflected in the bulb. If the bulb itself were to include the externalities associated with its production (I’m not sure how half of a nation doubting something means that it doesn’t exist, it just means they’re uninformed or choose to ignore scientific facts- alas thats an aside) CFL’s would likely be far cheaper than incandescents, simply due to the huge energy savings at the plant. Each watt saved results in a 3x savings at the plant due to inefficiencies in combustion and T&D.

        1. You’re assuming there will be watts saved. I live where they are already banned and all we did was switch from incandescents to halogen downlights with no drop in wattage at all. (Halogens work with dimmers but they don’t light the room evenly. In the bathroom, we have a halogen downlight, a CFL and two heat lamps providing a nice blend of characteristics.) After the electrician came to switch all our fixtures, we ended up installing more lights than we previously had. My point is that people will find a way to create the same amount of light as before or more and, like us, they may end up using more watts than before.

  6. And Paul’s argument will be completely ignored in favor of bathroom humor about his strangely timed toilet complaints.

    If you’re reading this, Rand (and Ron for that matter), please, please, please dear God, stick to the flerking point! When you ramble on about inconsequential points in your questions, you (a) give the answerer the easy out of addressing a minor point buried in the ramble rather than your main point, and (b) make you look like FUCKING IDIOTS when the MSM decides which segment of the ramble to show.

    I want what you guys want, but you’re going about it all wrong. And fire your advisors cause obviously they’re just yes-men if they let you guys continue acting this way. Wouldn’t hurt to find a new hairdresser either.

    1. I had the same thought.

      Jebus, when you ramble on like that, you’re essentially saying, “Hey kids! Make sure you edit my rant into a viral that will make me look completely bat-shit insane!”

    2. If he didn’t talk about toilets no one would have bothered to air the rant and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Light bulbs are not funny. Shitters are funny.

    3. I disagree. The “inconsequential” points are often the most interesting.

      King of the Hill did an episode about lo-flo toilets, it obviously connects with the common man.

      Who fucking watches the MSM anyway?

      1. Did you hear about the low flow toilet mandate in San Francisco? I know that sounded like a set up for a joke but it’s non-fiction and funnier than any joke.…..francisco/

    4. Paul is right, of course, but this sort of thing feeds the “kooky libertarian” stereotype.

  7. I put these things all over my house. I’ve gotten used to the slow brightening and dim light.

    But they burn out way too often, I don’t even want to ask how to go about getting them exchanged.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like being ordered about any more than the next guy. I’m a stubborn cuss – and I resisted CFLs for a long time. But, now that I’ve crossed over to the dark side (sorry, couldn’t resist) I’ve had 99% positive experiences with CFLs. All my bulbs snap right on. They may get a bit brighter in 30 seconds or so, but the difference is undetectable to the naked eye. And, they seem to never burn out. I use them indoors and out, and they outlast brand name incandescents by at least a 10:1 ratio. The only receptacles I can’t find suitable CFLs for are ceiling pots on dimmers. CFLs hate being upside down and being slid from bright to dim and back again. Picky bastards! I think LEDs will work, once the price comes down to earth. But CFLs do seem to save me a buck. So, I, for one, welcome our new Compact Fluorescent Overlords.

      1. Fair enough. Since you like them, you should be allowed, but not required, to use them. Assuming CFLs (or LEDs) are superior products, the vast majority of consumers will soon follow your lead.

        1. Economics relies on the ideas that consumers have access to all the facts, which the vast majority dont. Typical consumers aren’t as enlightened as someone like yourself and see only “hey this is $1 less, why would i buy the alternative?”
          It’s sad but true that people often put short term gains infront of long term savings. So no, the vast amount of consumers wont follow his lead, they’ll continue to be incapable of calculating simple return on investment math.

          1. Economics relies on the ideas that consumers have access to all the facts,

            No, it doesn’t – it simply relies on the facts, one of them being that consumers don’t always take all facts into consideration.

            1. Economics relies on the assumption that consumers make the most rational decision at the margin, and thus that consumers are informed.
              Which is not always the case and once again part of my point. Once again what you said has no bearing on the accuracy of the point of my post.

      2. I actually think the initial dimness with later brightening is a feature, not a bug, in some situations. You get up in the middle of the night and find your way into the bathroom and you turn on the light to see where you’re ‘going’. With those multi-bulb fixtures they love to put in bathrooms, with 4 incandescents coming on immediately, you’re blinded! But with the CFL’s, your eyes get a chance to adjust with the light.

        I like the bulbs. I’ve got them all over my house and have only had one that made any noise, and while you’ve been kinda subject to ‘color temperature lottery’ with some bulbs (“Why is this so yellow-green???”) once you figure out a manufacturer, you can usually get ones you like.

        Doesn’t mean I think there needs to be a law banning incandescents tho.

  8. Why don’t we do like the Europeans and sell them as 100W “heaters”?

    1. I’ll bet our Masters wrote the legislation to prevent that. Doesn’t mean the private sector won’t outsmart them again, though…

    2. this is a key point though. If you are heating your house, then changing bumbs isnt actually savign energy at all, because the lower amount of heat from the bumb just needs to be made up from more heat from your heater. These bulbs only save energy on net in areas where you arent heating your house.

      1. bulb… its early

        1. Freudian slip? 🙂

      2. Doesn’t that assume that the bulb is as energy efficient as your heating system? I would assume that a, per unit of heat, a heating system is more efficient than a bulb, althoguh i have no proof.

        1. No, this is true regardless of the efficiency. All energy, including the light emitted, turns into heat. So when you change to a bulb with lower watt, all that means is your heater have to use more watt to compensate in order to get the same temperature. Which is why it’s such a brilliant idea to impose these regulations here in Sweden, where it never get cold.

          1. Electric resistance heat is extraordinarily less efficient than burning natural gas or oil, and significantly less efficient than an electric heat pump… and insanely less efficient than a geo-thermal heat pump. A lot of energy is lost at the power plant and in transmission. If you have an electric resistance heater for your home then you are not very wise.

            1. For some renters, electric heat is the only option. Also, if you only want to heat part of your house, a single electric heater can be far more economical than using central heat and simply closing vents…

              1. Perhaps I am “spoiled” by living in the Northeast US. I do not know any home or any building that does not have central heat or has electric resistance heat as its primary heating source. Any heating system can be set up with different zones that can have separate thermostats. Radiators can also be fitted with individual thermostats to control how much you heat specific rooms. You can also shut the water off to any radiator in your house.

                I’m not sure if you are really advocating for electric resistance heat? In New England with current electricity and Natural Gas prices, electric heat costs more than 4 times as much per BTU than NG.

                1. 1) there is no natural gas anywhere near my neighborhood, 2) when I had a new central air / heating system installed, it was going to cost about $1,500 extra to get the one with the heat pump, and 3) I live in Texas, where the winters are short and mild.

                  So electic heat made sense for me.

            2. Electric heat is 100% efficient. What you meant is that it is much less _cost_ efficient than other ways to generate heat…..

          2. But when you consider that you are getting both light and heat, you have to compare it to, say, using a CFL and then using natural gas on top of that, so it pushes things back in the direction of incandescents.

            1. LOL. I am not for a ban on Incandescents. But. The argument that you can use their heat makes them not less energy efficient is not a good argument.

              Let x be the energy in form of light
              Let y be the energy in form of heat

              CFL energy = x
              Incandescent = x + y
              (Note y = ~3x)

              You pay 4 times as much for that heat from that lightbulb vs. what you would have paid for the natural gas heat in your home. So the heat you are getting from your light bulbs is more expensive by far than the heat you are getting from your central heating. The cost of the light from the CFL and the incandescent are about the same.

              Cost from CFL plus NG = x + .25y = 1.75x
              Cost of Incandescent = x + y = 4x

              It’s still more than double.

              In addition! In the summer, not only are you paying money for the heat from the lightbulb, you are then also paying to get rid of that heat with A/C., thus doubling the cost of the wasted heat energy from the incandescent lightbuilb.

              Now CFL = x
              Incandescent + AC = x + y + y = 7x

              Making the incandescent 7 times as expensive in the summer (even when you use lights at night when it is cooler, the heat remains mostly trapped in your house; i.e., your house will not cool as much through the evening.)

              Stop trying to make arguments just to support your already formed conclusions (Even if those conclusions are correct).

              It makes you sound like Paul Krugman.

              1. You’re right. The proper argument is “It’s nobody’s business how I light my house.”

              2. Subjork,
                Well, where I live, natural gas isn’t always available at the lot line. And electricity is easily the cheapest form of energy (British Columbia). So most people here now have electric heat registers in each room. Some people have natural gas (very few, since there’s a fear about earthquakes); some have propane (same bias) and some cling to stinky, noisy, expensive oil furnaces.

            2. This is an awful arguement. So in the summer when you need to use airconditioning or fans are you going to switch to CFL’s because at that pint you dont need the extra heat?? Or are you going to realize that your bulb is now costing you more because you’re cooling an additional area for this added heat “benefit”

              1. This is obvioulsy just furthering the ridiculousness of your arguement as subdork (although his numbers are off) easily explained why you can’t possibly think what you said is actually a smart thing

  9. How will our daughters learn their homemaking skills without an EZ-Bake oven?

    1. they’ll just have to learn with the real, full-size appliance! Hope your insurance is paid up.

      1. Yeah, it better be paid up!

  10. If the lights don’t turn on immediately, people are just going to leave them on continuously, negating any energy savings.

    1. I can tell you from first hand experience with these bulbs – that’s exactly what happens.

      1. I’m doing that right now!
        BWA HA HA HA HA HA
        *adjusts monocle*

    2. Yep. Just like when I flush the godddammned low-flow toilet three times, just to PISS OFF THE MAN!!!

      1. must proofread blasphemies…

    3. Depending on the usage, you’re still better off with a CFL. For instance, in an outdoor light fixture, leaving a 14w (60w equivalent) CFL on 24 hours a day still uses far less energy than a 60w incandescent on a day/night sensor that averages 9 hours per day. And then you get that longevity bonus. The same factor applies for any lights you keep on for longer periods of time inside the house. I’m sure everyone has some lights that just don’t get turned off because they’re in rooms that are used all evening, or are in central locations that people are always passing through. So if it’s a fixture that you turn on when it gets dark and don’t turn off until you go to bed, a CFL will have an energy saving there.

  11. No doubt someone will say
    “This is not a ban, efficient incandescents like Halogens allowed!

    Sure it is a ban
    – any bulb not meeting allowable standards is banned.

    Yes, efficient halogen incandescent replacements are allowed, but
    still have light type etc differences with regular bulbs, apart from
    costing much more for the small savings, which is why neither
    consumers or governments really like them, since they have been around
    for a while now without being sold much.

    LEDs are not yet ready as bright omnidirectional lighting at a good
    price – which leaves CFLs:

    How manufacturers and vested interests have pushed for this ban,
    and lobbied for CFL favors: with documentation and copies of official

    All light bulbs have their advantages in different rooms and
    situations – none should be banned
    unless they are unsafe to actually use:
    The “switch all your lights and save lots of money” campaigns are like
    saying “Eat only bananas and save lots of money!”

    1. Lighthouse you are dead wrong, just read my new book “Unsafe at any Lumen – how artificial light sources are killing us”

  12. It’s not about using electricity more efficiently, it’s about doing less electricity.

  13. The whole relevancy here is of course
    -as Jacob says –
    of WHY people should be told what they can buy…

    1 The society savings aren’t there as laid out clearly on
    USA overall energy savings less than 1% using DOE figures (remember:
    usual quoted big lighting percentages includes industrial, street etc
    non-incandescent lighting)

    2. Even if the savings were there:
    People pay for the electricity they use, of which there is no shortage
    justifying restrictions – and even less foreseeable future shortage,
    given the development of a lot of renewable low emission sources etc

    3. Even if the savings were there:
    There are better ways to save energy, in power plant delivery, grids, etc
    – competition, rather then regulation, between suppliers as between
    light bulb manufacturers guarantees energy efficiency in their energy
    — and indeed forces manufacturers to supply people with what they
    want, which includes
    bulbs that can save them money.

    “Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run”?
    Energizer bunny etc commercials show how such products can
    imaginatively be sold.
    Manufacturers should get off their backsides and
    market their products “If they are so great”as ban proponents say
    rather than push for bans on cheap alternatives, to make easy big profits

    4. Even if the savings were there:
    Other better ways to save energy are to reduce actual waste, whether
    in the generation, distribution or consumption of electricity,
    eg with lights, how they are left on commercially etc,
    and to target relevant greater usage
    eg freezer types, and other heavy energy using products in relevant households

    5. Even if the savings were there:
    Taxation would be more relevant even for ban proponents (tax is wrong
    – just better than regulation eg for liberal bankrupt California:)
    2 billion US and EU sales of relevant bulbs show massive government
    income potential, and can lower tax/subsidize greener bulbs, pay for
    home insulation measures etc, overall lowering society energy use more
    than the remaining taxed bulbs supposedly raises it, while retaining
    consumer choice
    As said tax is wrong, but better than banning useful products.

    Do bans on bulbs matter?
    Some ridicule it,
    but people spend half their lives under artificial lights, and they
    should have a free choice.

    More importantly,
    it matters because of the underlying ideology, which is how an
    efficient yet creative and free society is developed (Edison would
    have been stopped from this invention), better
    furthered, in my view, with market competition rather than regulation,
    when it comes to the use of safe products: We are not talking about
    banning lead paint here (and it is a ban..see earlier comment)

    “Obsolescent technology” is safe and known technology, compared to new
    complex alternatives:
    Yes, we should welcome the New: But it does not necessitate banning the Old.

  14. Savings? What about the loss of jobs? GE is closing their plant in Virginia, where they manufacture incandescents, and building one in China to manufacture CFLs. Less environmental regs in China, you know. Cheaper labor, as well. I’m sure Immelt prodded Obama for a tax break on top of that.

    1. Really, couldn’t we say that Obama and the government are ‘shipping US jobs overseas?’

      1. The Bulbs were banned by Bush in 2007.

        1. The lady Rand Paul was talking to said it was bi-partisan, which means Dem Congress and Bush since it was 2007.

          1. You mean Dem Congress and Dim Bush, don’t you?

        2. As with the Stimulus, Medicare Part D, NCLB, and a lot of other dumb spending ideas, I kinda LOVE the fact that Bush signed them into law instead of Obama, because it shields me from being called a Republican hack when I point out what stupid ideas they are.

          I love shutting up a Democrat shill by saying, “look, I’m even willing to give ground on rolling back the Bush tax cuts, if it means we also get to roll back everything else Bush ever did and start over with the 1998 budget, adjusted for inflation & population growth. Were the last couple years of Clinton so horrible?”

          1. I have said basically the same thing.

    2. I noticed recently that one of my incandecent bulbs was manufactured in Mexico. Seems like they are setting themselves up to profit from a black market illicit supply chain in the future. Can’t explain why Mexicans started buying 4x as many bulbs as before the ban? Oh well we don’t sell them in the US so get off our backs. I smell a future business opportunity here….

  15. they think about going on and then, after mulling the idea for a few minutes, achieve their maximum brightness when you are done with whatever you were planning to do

    I have some CFLs that, after starting up, actually get *dimmer* before eventually brightening enough to use — providing entertainment as well as energy savings.

  16. I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s noticed that the claimed longevity of CFL and halogen globes is a lie.

    Here in Australia, incandescent globes have been unavailable since 2006 (banned by the previous, conservative government). I’ve spent well over $500 on light globes since the ban was imposed and the next CFL or halogen globe to last three months will be my first. Ironically it’s the globes that are only only for a few minutes each day in the bathroom and laundry that last the longest – my living room, kitchen and office globes last 2 months if I’m lucky. The worst part is that CFLs, even the so-called 100W equivalents, are so dim it’s hard to just read a book or newspaper under their light.

    I wonder if that’s the real reason everyone is buying iPads/Nooks/Kindles?

  17. I have a brilliant idea. Turn on the light you need, when you need it and extinguish it when you’re done.
    Personally, I have cut down on my light usage by wearing an LED headlight. But, then, I am also abysmally poor, so I’m not fooling myself, either. I have over the years, scavenged enough appliance bulbs from dead refrigerators and the like, to last me the rest of my life. 40 watts is good for most lighting needs and, needless to say, I have a couple of 100w bulbs for reading, which I’m sure the powers that be would be ecstatic if I did less of it, seeing as how the more ignorant we are, the easier it is to control us…
    I am so glad I’m an old man.
    Kids, enjoy this Brave New World you are inheriting. Oh, and keep that spine inobtrusive, eh?

    1. Good for you, James, but appliance bulbs are not subject to the ban – well not yet anyway.

  18. America is not the first place to ban the lights, all it means is that more light bulb smuggling will occur from other countries. Just like there is a war on drugs happening in Mexico, one day there could be a “war on lights”, think about it: 10 000 dead in Mexico every year because the light cartels are trying to corner the illegal light market. 🙂

  19. I just can’t wait until they start regulating the Internet too.. which they will sooner or later. And fuck it up. You’ll see!

    1. We haff noticed that you are not using the RIGHT kind of internet, comrade… wouldn’t you like to read a nice piece about Obama on zee HuffPo? I’m sure that you do.

    2. That’s exactly why net neutrality should be fought tooth and nail. It’s a major step towards government regulation and ultimately control of the internet. It’s a beautiful trojan horse, and sadly a lot of very smart people in the tech crowd are eager to roll it in past the city gates.

  20. (Ron) Paul 2012!

  21. (Rand) Paul 2012! would be fine too.

  22. And of course the CFLs don’t last anywhere near as long as they’re hyped up to. We’ve had some that have blown the instant the switch is thrown the first time. We’ve had others that have died after only a few weeks. They’re supposed to last for years, but it simply isn’t so.

    1. I like reading the curlycue box in the store, and then yelling, “YOU LIE!” at it when I come to the part about “Average Service Life”.

      People stare, but it makes me happy…

    2. My old landlord had them in the stairwell so they were on all the time. They would blow out in days every time, sometimes turning brown. We felt so safe!

      1. Pay that dripping mercury no mind….

        1. can’t wait for congress’ special funding for CFL Hazmat Teams…

    3. They last about a month in our fixtures. Regular bulbs also blow out when the power surges, but it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

  23. It is a really lousy experiment to just turn on CFLs and incandescents side by side and see which lasts longer without also measuring their performance in a household with the repeated on/off switch factored in.

    1. Yep – the “repeated on/off” is what kills ’em. It’s like car engines – leave it running, it’s happy. Start it and stop it – shit wears out.

      1. I have a CFL in my basement that has been burning for 4 years straight. I had another from the same package that was in an on/off application in the same basement, and it lasted less than a year.

        1. Do CFL’s work well for growing pot in the basement?

          1. sadly no.

            1. That’s the real reason then!

              Seriously, though. You buy special grow lights for that stuff. Not that I have any experience in such matters….

      2. They could have just surveyed pizza delivery guys, but I bet the government spent a billion to figure that out.

  24. …and sometimes they emit an unbearable whine.

    CFLs are liberal, now?

    1. Let’s see. New fad that works more poorly than the old stand by, cost more, needed government intervention, air of superiority…yup.

      1. Pardon my German, but CFLs are the perfect example of a schlimmbesserung – an ‘improvement’ that makes things worse.

        1. Oh, you mean a boondoggle!

  25. I support Rand Paul on principle, but frankly, Jacob is throwing himself into hysterics for no reason on the technical issues. I have installed CFLs throughout my house, and have had few, if any, issues with them.

    It’s amusing that Jacob complains about how CFLs take too long to ‘warm up’, then complains that they don’t work well with his dimmer switches. Really? I thought you WANTED it dim! (And who the hell actually USES dimmer switches outside of Ron Burgundy’s love-nasium? If you want softer light, get a damned lamp for that room.)

    Oh, and nice cherry-picking of support from the Telegraph article. Also from that article in re: CFLs:

    “Normal household use shouldn’t cause any problems.”

    1. Your anecdotal positive usage is countered by the anecdotal negative usage by others here. Perhaps you have different fixtures, obvious since you don’t like dimmers but Jacob does. Dimmers allow Jacob to control his light emittance whereas the CFL just gets brighter on it’s own which is not what Jacob wants. I’ve got one connected to the chandelier in my dining room. Has it occurred to you, and the government, that perhaps we should have both incandescents and CFLs and let people use then for whatever they work best for? The technical discussion is relevant to the choice discussion.

      1. I appreciate you putting words in my mouth, and am inferring from the tone of your post that you love getting excited about false drama, but I very clearly said I was against government regulation on the issue, and at no point did I advocate the banning of incandescent light bulbs.

        Please read the preceding sentence again before posting again here. Thanks.

  26. also from that article: “please dispose of properly…”

  27. Complaining about the lifespan of CFLs isn’t a strong argument. I’ve heard of folks having terrible luck with them; in contrast, I’ve had nothing but great luck with them (I have not had a single one burn out yet).

    But compare that to incandescent bulbs…where the exact same situation exists. That’s right, some of them last years longer than expected while some burn out much sooner.

    Sure, the fools who make claims about their extended lifespan need to shut up. But when the two types of bulbs behave the same way in terms of lifespan, it really doesn’t make one superior to the other.

    1. When one costs 15 times more and overall cost savings is predicated on the inflated life span estimates it sure as hell does.

      1. you probably need to shop at a different store if you’re paying 15x more for a CFL.

        1. yeah, idiot. No fair buying your incandescents for $.39 each at macfrugals.

          1. CFL’s around you cost $5.85 a piece huh? Well here’s 8 for $8.
            Since you’re so into correcting math it looks like you’re going to need to get those incandescents for about $.07 a piece.

  28. As a nation, we are simply counting down the days until we break up, either peacefully or in civil war.

    We have reached the point of almost complete paralysis, where legislative idiocy is recognized but no action is taken to address it. The people recognize how stupid this law is, but Congress cannot energize itself to repeal it. Indeed, when someone points to the idiocy of this law (Rand Paul, among others), the bien pensants inside the Beltway merely laugh and mock him as if he was some country rube.

    We are drowning in a massive $1.6T deficit. Rather than address it substantively, Democrats scream about the loss to the world of “cowboy poetry”, and Republicans pat themselves on the back over a measly $6B cut. We cannot repeal an unpopular law focusing on one item: lightbulbs. How likely, then, is Congress to repeal, or even de-fund, an unpopular law that is large and complex such as ObamaCare?

    Each day more laws are passed, more regulations instituted, more restraints placed on the People. The time will come when governance will become so complex and inefficient that it will come tumbling down under its own weight or people will simply stop obeying the law. Either way, that will be the end of this nation as a coherent federal entity.

    1. It is rather depressing to realize you are watching history being made, the end of the American experiment. Was it Walter Williams who said that future historians may look back 1000 years from now, and say there was this little blip, not quite 200 years, when human liberty flourished, before things reverted to the norm of government dominating its citizens.

  29. The incandescent bulb has had a very, very long time to be perfected and yet you still occasionally get one that dies shortly after being installed or that is dead on arrival.

    The complaints he lists may have been true when CFLs were first created but they’re not true anymore for reasonably new bulbs that aren’t the cheapest available. In my experience the cheapest ones you can find still suffer from those problems but the better ones do not.

    CFLs are available in a range of colors, color temperatures, wattages and price points. None of the bulbs I have installed whine or buzz. And there are dimmable versions available.

    The regulation is intended to cut energy usage AND provide an economic incentive for manufacturers to invest in improving the product. And it’s working.

    1. “CFLs are available in a range of colors and color temperatures” – well, kind of. Your standard incandescent bulb emits a blackbody radiation curve. A CFL does not and never will, so the light is never going to look as natural. (The “color temperature” of a fluorescent is really the CCT, “correlated color temperature”, and a CFL with a CCT of, say, 2700 will not look the same as a blackbody with a CT of 2700.) This doesn’t always make a difference, but sometimes it is very important. I’m a photographer: I spend a lot of time thinking about light, color, and color temperature. And I can tell you that CFLs just plain suck for some applications. Too bad the government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided it knows what I need better than I do.

      I do, however, see that certain specialty classes of bulbs are exempt. Guess I’m going to be lighting parts of my house with “rough service” or 150W bulbs now! And frankly, if the government is so fired up about saving electricity, I’m not sure why they’re going after my 60W incandescents instead of the refrigerator (725W), clothes dryer (1800W), etc. Or, for that matter, the skyscrapers downtown that have 50,000W of floodlights on their facades at night…

      1. Incandescent lighting is not “natural”. We feel like it’s the natural color of light during the night because that’s the color light has always been. Why? Because the only kinds of light that have been widely available have been that and crappy fluorescent lights.

        As for the other energy sucking devices you list, have you ever heard of Energy Star? That little sticker MEANS something. And manufacturers of clothes washers, dryers, dishwasher and other appliances have been forced to put a tag on their appliances showing their energy usage as compared to other similar appliances. That regulation alone probably saved more energy than the incandescent ban will save, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t find ways to encourage people to reduce their energy usage.

        As for the sky scraper: are you saying that the government should require them to shut that light off? The business has obviously decided that the cost is worth the price for some reason. Businesses, especially large ones, understand the nature of longer term investments. LED and other lighting hasn’t reached the 50,000W level yet, but when it does the business that owns that building will almost certainly switch to the more efficient way to light the building because it will save them money.

    2. How does eliminating competition (from incandescents) provide an economic incentive?

      1. it encourages competition between fluorescent manufacturers and provides an incentive to the market to try new technologies such as LED and electroluminescent. With incandescent lighting on the market it’s been too difficult for manufacturers of alternatives to reach the economies of scale to compete.

  30. Because I want to save on my electric bill, I use flourescent bulbs as they come in all the different kind of shades which I can merrily pick and choose from.

  31. I want to save on my electric bill that is why I use flourescent light bulbs.

  32. Paul/Paul 2012!

  33. I don’t care for CFL’s either but I don’t get people saying they are too dim. Have you tried one of the “bright whites”? They’ll burn your retinas out.

  34. The CFLs in my apartment turn on as soon as you hit the switch, and they’re bright enough.

    You want the ones that say “instant on” on the box. Because they turn on instantly, they thought up that nifty description for them.

  35. Since CFLs suck so bad, once the ordinary lightbulbs are outlawed, I predict that LED lights will very improve and come down in price due to economy of scale. It will be the optimal choice (and far better than old lights were) and we will forget all about our old lights. Hopefully… since I doubt we will turn the big government tide.

  36. Complaining about the lifespan of CFLs isn’t a strong argument.

    Sure it is, when they cost multiples of what incandescents cost.

  37. At my old job we had 164 outdoor light fixtures to light up the porches of a rather large apartment complex. With incandescents we went through cases of 60 watt bulbs every few months. Then we changed to CFLs in 2007. In the three years since the change over I think we needed to change 5 or 6 that failed. I was impressed knowing that they were cheap-o Home Depot brand CFLs and that they were not rated for outdoor use.
    I’m cheap but lazy, lazy almost always wins when there is a conflict between the two, so I prefer the CFLs since (in my experience) they last longer.
    I currently have a CFL in the lamp in my bedroom that I installed 6 years ago.
    That said, banning incandescents is just fucking silly.

  38. I have a friend who suffers from extreme light sensitivity due to an autoimmune disorder. The technical details of this are not my thing, but he has multi-day periods of blindness and seizures if exposed to too much flourescent light. Needless to say, he is not looking forward to the ban on incandescents. Along with anyone else who suffers from lupus, sarcoid, epilepsy, etc.

  39. On top of everything else, there are people with seizure conditions whose seizures are set off by florescent lights. My wife’s therapist (whose problem stems from head trauma rather than epilepsy) is one of them. She literally cannot go anywhere that is lighted by florescent lights. There is at least one lawsuit seeking to prevent the enforcement of this law (my Lady’s therapist is a party), and probably more.

    So, eliminating incandescent bulbs will have the following consequences;

    1) Increased expense. The way people actually use light bulbs in inconsistent with the conditions in which compact florescent bulb can save money over their lifetime.

    2) Greatly increase the amount of a very dangerous poison released into the environment. Mercury is no joke. Institutions that use long-bulbs can probably be jollied into correct disposal. Anybody thinking that a cadre of government bureaucrats is going to make busy western farmers toe the line hasn’t checked the statistics on gun ownership between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains.

    3) Make a small number of people dangerously ill, and a much larger number groggy and irritable.

    This represents a disaster for the Democrats, the Environmentalists, and anybody else connected with it. I await the shuck-and-jive preparatory to scrapping the whole thing with cynical interest.

    1. The mercury involved in the production of incandescents is greater than that contained in CFL’s
      Also- the mercury releases from the combustion of fossil fuels to provide the energy for the lights is greater portion of the mercury during the products life cycle. So if you’re second concern is mercury, know that should be alleviated by the 12fold decrease in energy needed to run the CFL vs incandecent (1/4th the wattage x 33% power plant combustion efficiency)
      as for 1 and 3, I’m a LCA expert and those are out of expertise

      1. This country jumped on the energy efficient appliance bandwagon during Carter’s administration. All it did was make it less expensive to use even more energy than previously.

      2. Doctor, let’s say a 60 watt bulb makes the plant produce 3×60=180 watts of electricity due to inefficient transmission etc. Let’s say a 15 watt CFL is used in its place. Now the plant is producing 3×15=45 watts. 180/45 is not 12, it’s 4. LCA is in serious trouble if that’s the kind of expertise that’s being applied to it.

        1. PS, is your concern that mercury exists or that it ends up in your kidneys? Because to me, the important question is WHERE the mercury is, not how much there is of it (after all, the total amount of mercury in the world isn’t changing much). I don’t know how much mercury goes into making a tungsten bulb, but where it is is at a bulb factory where I’m not. On the other hand, there’s for sure mercury right in a mercury gas fluorescent lamp, and that’s mercury that’s going to get tossed in a landfill by some lazy jackass like me, or get broken by a mop handle in a restaurant’s kitchen, or get jumped on by kids having fun busting glass tubes in a dumpster, etc. I think the location of the mercury is relevant.

          1. The location is very relevant.

            As can be seen powerplant combustion leads to mercury release from smokestacks, which floats plesently down into streams and organisms, then to fish, then to the things that eat the fish (bioaccumulation). So were regulations stricter or powerplants further required to move the Hg from the process I would prefer that the Hg remain at the plant.
            But since that’s not the case I would rather people just not be lazy jackasses and do the simple thing of taking them back to the hardware store.
            Yeah sadly i have more faith in people than corporations.

            As for the math thanks for pointing that out, I was caught up in getting the point across and forgot my long lost friend order of operations.

            Yes the PhD is in engineering

  40. on top of everything that you outlined in your article, CFLs are essentially bio-hazards. they contain dangerous amounts of mercury that will be exposed should the CFL break. the manufacturers themselves recommend professional hazardous waste specialists to handle any CFL accidents. so in the infinite wisdom of our insect overlords, they replace ‘inefficient’ incandescent bulbs with poisonous mercury laden CFLs, all to save us $50 a year. of course when you break one, be prepared to either clean up the poison yourself or drop hundreds of dollars to have a professional. bravo hogan! you have saved us!

  41. When the price of the fluorescents first came down to a price that was almost affordable, I bought some thinking it would be a good deal since they last so much longer than incandescents. It actually said it was guaranteed to last five years on the package. I’ve yet to have one last a full year, and most barely make it past three months.
    I never knew why until now. What kind of idiots would define a light’s lifetime only on the condition that it never be turned off? Aside from some businesses and institutions, who leaves lights on continuously?

  42. They are going after those things. All the new ones are mandated to meet certain energy levels. A fridge I bought several years back came with a warning that the insulation materials required by the new energy mandates didn’t insulate against sound as well, and may be lounder than my old fridge. It also gave a list of ‘noises’ it makes that are considered normal and should not require service (As an aside, I think they should include that information with cars; as a mechanical engineer I recognize that moving parts generate noise, but if my wife hears a sound she thinks failure is emminent..)

    That said my latest refrigerator is very quiet, energy efficient and didn’t come with any warnings, so as usual they fixed the problems with the early implementation models. I still disagree with the principle though, of ramming this down people’s throats whether they want it or not. I was looking at getting a new high efficiency washer and dryer, for approximately $1300 (on sale!) that saves $50 per year in water and $50 per year in electricity. Compared to keeping my current units, it would take 13 years to pay back the investment in savings. Even if I am forced to buy new because the current ones explode or something, you can get a cheap set of ‘low efficiency’ washer & dryer for $600 or less, while the cheapest high eff. sets costs $1100. So you’re looking at at least a 5 year payback. On top of that the high efficiency ones take forever to wash and dry anything (I’ve had extensive experience using them between living in Germany, traveling to South Korea and a couple of vacation rentals that had them). In a house of 4 we tend to do a lot of laundry so this is no small deal (it was even a pain washing just my work clothes on a 3 week trip to Korea).

    1. Sorry, I meant to leave this under JD the elder’s post above about why aren’t they going after refrigerators and dryers that use more energy.

  43. A place we rented over the holidays had all CFLs. The living room recessed lights came on:
    1. right away
    2. eventually
    3. not at all
    It was very frustrating.
    They don’t do well in cold outdoor installations. They break easily. They’re too expensive. And they’re a bio-hazard.
    Good thing the government knows best.

  44. I discovered that cfls also provide a cold warehouse-like light. Problem is that incandescent bulbs provide a warmer light in every way. A few incandescent bulbs probably raise the temperature in the room enough to keep you from turning up your thermostat. But not CFLS. So, in fact, for much of the year in many places, whatever is gained by CFLs is lost when people turn up the thermostat, because it actually IS colder in the room and not just psychologically colder. CFLs are the dumbest thing ever and we should have gone slower instead of following the Europeans over that cliff. In Europe the use of these bulbs is incredibly ugly. Makes a govt basement warehouse out of the most beautiful setting.

  45. Actually there’s a form of non-incandescent light that really works as touted, but is much more expensive even than CFLs – LEDs (light-emitting-diodes). An LED that is the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb costs about $40 but uses significantly less energy than even a CFL, and truly lasts for almost an eternity. Those little lights in your computer that go on and off and on and off, and that have been doing so for years are LEDs. The real future of lighting is in the LED, which has no disposal problems, lasts a lifetime, and uses miniscule amounts of power. They do so by converting virtually 100% of the energy they use into light. Heat production is minimal, which is why you can touch an LED that is turned on with impunity. The true future is in the LED and the government would do well to work to bring down their prices and forget about CFLs.

    1. The ban is on incandescent lighting, not on requiring CFLs.

  46. I have a beautiful new home with a wonderful large pantry. I go into the pantry, try to find what I want quickly and come right back out, if I find what I want. Later my cost conscious husband asks “why did you leave the light on in the pantry”? Well, it was so slow to come on when I needed it, that I did not think about turning it off.

  47. Here in Alberta we have our furnaces on for 8 months of the year (so heat “losses” are a plus), and lights need rarely be on during the long, bright summer evenings. The energy “wasted” by incandescent light bulbs is therefore trivial. That, of course, didn’t stop our government from jumping on the green miserabilist bandwagon. May they all fluoresce in hell.

  48. awesome. your post is great. its worth reading. thank you.

  49. yeah, I am actually in the process of building a website right now for a LED distributor….these things really are amazing. I think CFLs are the Betta-max of efficient lighting. LEDs have an amazing life span, like 100k hrs – using only 3 or 4 watts to produce the same amount of light as a 45watt incandescent bulb! 100k hrs means 11 yrs if you keep the light on 24/7. For your home, most light are going to average closer to being on 3 hrs at a time, so now you are talking about 91 yearsbefore you have to replace the bulb. And that doesn’t degrade like CFLs do if you turn the light on and off.
    So, economies of scale, LEDs may not get much cheaper (they just won’t sell as many). We are probably looking at a transitional period where new homes, and other buildings, will be built with already installed LED lighting. The over all cost of the building will go up by a small percentage, but the savings in electricity over the life of the loan will more than make up for it.
    Of course, if you still have a structure built before 2012 it sucks. And thats the point, isn’t it? No matter how good an idea the newer tech is, it should still be my choice to decide what to buy. Cars are much cleaner than hordes of horses, but we didn’t need the Government to say “we need to clean up the cities, horses are banned!” People switched by themselves, in a remarkably short amount of time, to the automobile.
    I must admit though, that the Government interfering in the market, by banning incandescent bulbs, is probably hastening the day when all new buildings are built with permanent, low energy, LED lighting. So, does the need justify the means?

  50. of course I meant “Does the END justify the means?”

  51. sound great~,i think this article is pretty good~lol

  52. Last quote heard from Toni’s dad after abruptly leaving for good upon hearing that his wife was pregnant with their one and only child.

  53. So, economies of scale, LEDs may not get much cheaper (they just won’t sell as many). We are probably looking at a transitional period where new homes, and other buildings, will be built with already installed LED lighting.

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