I promised you no more lightbulbs . . . but I’m siiiiiiiiiiiick!

So let me just pull out some more of the good information you sent me from my bottomless bag.

Approximately 22 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States goes toward lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, so this is not nothing. (Or, if you prefer emphasis to understatement, not not not nothing – the rarely used and thus punch-packing quadruple negative.)


John Kasley: ‘CFL’s are so effective that in Ottawa, Canada, there has been a program giving one bulb to each household for f-r-e-e. Here‘s a cost-benefit sheet.’

James Karn: ‘In all this talk of CFL’s and LED’s no one has mentioned how terrible the light is from fluorescents and LED’s. They are fine for work, but when I come home the last think I want is bright white light. Incandescents aren’t perfect, which is why I burn so many candles – energy inefficient as they are expensive and raise cooling costs in the summer. Why can’t the scientist save energy in an aesthetic way?’

☞ Have you tried yellow-ish, brownish lampshades? That seems to be helping in my case.

Jeff: ‘Can one of your brilliant readers just give us the simple bottom line without discussing ballasts and the inner working of which gas excitement method is being used to create the light bulbs? Should we use CFDs, and how? Should we use LEDs, and how? And which ones?’

☞ Use CFLs to replace all incandescents that are left on a fair amount. If they are on dimmers, you need to get special ones. Use LEDs to replace incandescents that are really hard to reach, where the extra cost is justified by not having to risk your life on a 20-foot ladder every year or two. As to which ones . . . I’m siiiiiiiiiiiick!


George Mokray: ‘I’m enjoying the conversation about CFLs and LEDs and energy efficient lighting. Gee, it only took about thirty years for CFLs to become popular. I’ve made the next step – solar LED lights for my bedroom. The two lights cost me about $125 and have worked fine for over a year. The day I put them up, there was a power outage. Coinicidence? In any case, I had light for the two hours or so my neighbors didn’t and will have light the next time the power goes out. You can see video of the lights here. I even took the lights (they’re portable) to Jamaica for a recent trip. You can read what I learned about affordable solar here. Small-scale solar is applicable in the US and Europe for emergency, camping uses, and some daily uses, like my bedroom. It can also help the developing world leapfrog into the 21st century. We need mass market commodity solar products, the last of which was the solar walk light, introduced a few years after CFLs entered the market. I’d like to see solar rechargeable reading lights as available and affordable as disposable lighters, solar/dynamo cell phone and battery chargers, and a solar/dynamo flashlight/radio and battery charger. In fact, I have a whole series of small-scale solar products mapped out here. Solar is civil defense,’


Mark W. Budwig: ‘Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me this business of changing the batteries in every smoke detector twice a year – every time we adjust the clocks to and from Daylight Savings Time – is a scam promoted by battery makers. Those batteries are good for two years or more. Changing them once a year would leave plenty of safety margin and remove thousands of tons of toxic metals from the waste stream. Is there any sound reason for changing them so often?’

☞ Dunno. But hereby disclaim all liability from now until the end of time, in the United States and throughout the known universe and any universes yet to be known, in case a reader is persuaded by your logic and it proves to be faulty.


Trisha: ‘This is my vote for second best of show at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show. It’s from Sanyo and it has the ridiculous name of eneloop. AA and AAA Nickel Metal Hybrid batteries that take more photos per go than the standard batteries (by quite a lot) like three or four times as many . . . can be recharged around 1000 times . . . and get this – and why I think they are amazing – can be used right out of the package. Normally, if you buy a rechargeable battery, the damned things don’t hold charge very well and you have to recharge them first. They hold their charge so much longer you can forget about them, come back to your camera months later and it will still work. Try that with a set of normal rechargeables. Unlike many things shown in CES, you can buy them right now.’

☞ And Trisha’s vote for first best of show? I missed this somehow, or Trisha was just teasing me to see if I really read her email. Well, I did, Trisha – so tell us! Oh, and . . . HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!


Comments are closed.