Friday, January 27, 2012

Let the light shine in

For some this is old news.  But for others of us, it's just another major annoyance being brought to us compliments of our government. But I need to rant so...

 Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.


As is normally the case with legislation, this law covers a lot of things. But here is the essence of the short term regulations placed on light bulbs by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007:

Light bulbs from 40 watts through 100 watts must be 25% more efficient, by the following dates:
- The beginning of 2012 for 100 watt bulbs
- The beginning of 2013 for 75 watt bulbs
- The beginning of 2014 for 40 and 60 watt bulbs

Since most current incandescent bulbs do not meet this standard, this effectively bans them as of the above dates.

Okay, okay...the 100 watt bulbs are still available due to ANOTHER act of Congress, so they are available through October 1, 2012.  

Thank you very much, Congress.  Have you ever taken your head out from where the sun doesn't shine and seen the effects of some of what you are doing?

Ranchers, Farmers, Homeowners depend on incandescent light bulbs and not just for light

Typical Heat Lamp used by farmers
Incandescent light bulbs are inefficient.  One of the by-products of these light bulbs is heat and it is that very heat that is used by the three above-mentioned groups that make these light bulbs so useful.   As a rancher, I use incandescent light bulbs in specially designed fixtures on cold (freezing cold) days to provide a warm space in a stall for my young babies or sick adult horses.  We also use the same fixtures, as many small scale chicken/rabbit breeders do to provide warmth for those birds and animals.  Like many home owners, we have a 100 watt light bulb hanging and lit in our pump house to keep the temperature warm enough so pipes don't freeze.  For some homeowners, these light bulbs in heat lamp type fixtures make the difference between water and no water under a house that may be old or have a crawl space that is poorly insulated. Sure, in every application I mention above, there are alternatives but none as cheap as a 75 or 100 watt incandescent light bulb to buy or use.  The alternatives range from many dollars more than the cheap light bulbs to hundreds and even thousands of dollars for appliances that serve the very same purpose.

I'm all for saving money.  We have the suggested alternative light bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps or CFL's) in many of our lamps and fixtures in the house.  They cost more, put out an adequate amount of light (only adequate) but they do seem to last longer. In the barn we tried these same type of bulbs with a higher wattage...not only do they work poorly but they are almost unusable.  When placed at the height of the fixtures (generally 12 feet from the ground), the light they emit is feeble.  In cold weather, the feeble output of these bulbs is reduced to be generally useless for any work we need to do that needs lots of light ( a real negative to fluorescent bulbs, they don't like cold weather). We've tried several kinds of CFL's and none work near as well as the old fashioned 100 watt light bulb we have used for years.  At a minimum, the suitable replacement appliance would cost around 100 dollars and we'd need 12 of them (with bulbs that cost $36 each when they require replacement).

I suppose we could get around the eventual ban by just boosting the wattage of the bulbs we use but most of our fixtures aren't designed for (or wired for) that higher wattage so we'd be creating a fire hazard and in some places we just don't go to very often. Strange, 100 watt light bulbs won't be sold but 150 watt ones will!

I have seen many reasons why governments around the world want to ban the incandescent bulb (actually only specific types and wattages--you'll still be able to have one in your refrigerator or in your chandelier even after the ban takes effect).  The main reason keeps going back to energy efficiency (although I have seen global warming and greenhouse gas emissions - related to global warming - as alternative reasons).  Energy efficiency is a wonderful thing--who wouldn't mind seeing their electric bill go down by a couple of dollars? And multiplied by all the people in the world who use the original light bulb, gazillions of dollars/euros/yen will be saved and a whole lot of energy, too.  But to outright ban a tool useful and necessary is just plain dumb.

There is legislation pending that will ban the ban but it is unlikely to be passed.  So, in the meantime, I know we will be stocking up on 100 watt light bulbs (again) in the near future.  If the legislators keep their heads where they are normally, I don't have to worry about Big Brother watching.


  1. Oh, I am so with you, Larry. Those CFLs are just not bright enough for me. I don't have the uses you do, but for me to work in my office (a bedroom) or even read, I need real light. Halogen was the perfect light for me, but you can hardly find those anymore, either. Why try to fix something that isn't broken? But that's what government seems to do best--even though they can't fix the breaks in their own walls.

  2. Wait, I responded to this. It didn't show up :-(

    There are several different levels of CFL's available. We bought the best and the brightest for the house. And as I said, they are adequate. My bed reading lamp is one on a rheostat and is adjustable. You can't use CFL's with those for a reason I don't remember. So...that is going to eventually leave me very cranky.

    The government doesn't know what one or the other hand is doing, never mind trying to fix stuff I just wish they'd just get their noses out of our lives.


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