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Why Changing Your Lightbulbs Doesn't Matter

OK, I'm officially sick of it. Let's stop talking about changing our world by changing your light bulbs. There are a few reasons why people tell you that switching from incandescents to CFLs should be done, and they're all crap reasons. I'm tired of it.

First, they'll tell you that 22% of America's energy is eaten up by light bulbs. And that, absolutely, is true. But the majority of that 22% has nothing to do with household lighting. It's streetlights, supermarkets and other businesses that gulp down the majority of lighting energy.

But mostly, that's not what bothers me about these "campaigns." More than anything, I'm sick of pretending like we can solve the energy crisis by asking people to make decisions that are counter to their interest.

We will never significantly reduce our energy use in this country by asking nicely. If you tell someone "Save the planet, change your light bulb" you'll be lucky to get a 20% action rate. But if you say "save $200 per year, change your light bulbs" you're suddenly on the right side of every argument.

That's why I believe in EcoGeek's mission. Because I can see throughout history technology leading positive change. Whether it's the freedom of expression heralded first by the levitra soft tabs 100 mg printing press and then by the internet, or the bicycle bringing freedom and mobility to oppressed women, or digital downloading completely revolutionizing and negating copyright law.

It's not about asking people to choose, it's giving them a better choice. If you build a light bulb that's cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, has better light quality, and works exactly the same, people won't be choosing a better technology, they'll be choosing the only technology left.

That's what EcoGeek is here for, to talk about those technologies as they arise, whether it's a new light bulb that actually will make a difference (because it's for large-scale business application) or a new car that you'll only need to fill up a couple of times per year. We don't talk about why you should adopt a new technology, we talk about why you'll want to.

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Comments (71)Add Comment
its the law
written by sodapop, August 30, 2008
congress has passed a ban on old lightbulbs. and, in 20 years or so we'll have mercury issues with the new lightbulb
Somewhat missing the point
written by gianni, August 30, 2008
What is said in this note is true, insofar as it goes. What it doesn't say is that pressure for change will come because the viagra samples in canada attitude of society changes, first amongst the activists and the celebrities, then more widely.

That societal pressure also forces change, and when allied with economic forces moves things in the right direction. Sometimes it's enough (look at grocery bags in Ireland), sometimes economics is enough, but when people (a) save $200 a year using CFLs and (b) see public waste , then they're going to apply pressure to which businesses and government responds.

What you are missing
written by Alan, August 30, 2008
You are right that light bulbs won't change our energy consumption much. The real reason for changing light bulbs in our houses is economic. They cost less in the long run.
written by Mynameisme, August 30, 2008
i completely agree, I think that people are lazy and need government regulations.
industry is lazy, government is gullible
written by coward, August 30, 2008
The way it's supposed to work (in the US at least) is that industry supplies better products to consumers. When that fails, the government regulates industry to require seatbelts, higher mpg, etc. Industry despises regulation and viagra soft tablets so they choose to either innovate or lobby against improvements.
in response to mercury issues
written by Sean, August 30, 2008
We can find problems with anything... but the idea is that CFLs are a single step in the right direction. I hope we don't use CFLs for the next 20 years, there are alternative ideas and concepts that are even more efficient, easier to produce.. best of all no mercury.

I'm talking about LED lights and these "cathode ray" lights (which the second one i'm not so sure about yet.. sounds like a tube TV to me..)
written by Clinch, August 30, 2008
My thoughts exactly (well, not literally 'exactly', my thoughts are more pictures than this article, but you get the picture).

As for the home-lighting figure, residential only takes up 21% of energy usage, and of that, only 12% is lighting, and switching to CLF's will save about 70% of that, so if every on did it, that's a whopping 1.7% !!!.

And any of these energy-campaigns actually work? I've personally never bought anything green either just because some hippy-nut told me to, or because it was apparently the levitra tablets for sale 'greener' alternative, I actually find out for myself (because the information doesn't seem as available as nuts shouting at you to buy what they think is green) what the levitra sale best and most efficient option is.
And for that reason, I'll never buy a CFL, because I know they suck, and I'll buy LEDs instead.

We need less 'greenpeace' telling us (and governments) what they think (but a usually wrong) we should do, and more scientists laying out the the different options available, and the benefit and disadvantages of each.
Another Canadian Difference
written by Lisa, August 30, 2008
Crazy, but again (as per another post re: composting/recycling) the maritime canadian provinces have set into motion a ban on incandescent bulbs. So in a few year people in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia won't be able to buy incandescents- they won't be available. so instead of compaigning, they just fazed them out. so much more efficient.
written by begreen, August 30, 2008
banning incandescents is silly. Its a technology that ought to be improved surely, but incandescents have light properties other lighting systems don't. And a lot of artists depend on having a variety of lighting qualities to work from.

Instead, tax them, and take that revenue to subsidize:

1) CFLs
2) Making recycling CFLs less a pain in the butt.
written by Thai TV, August 30, 2008
Hi Losy Boy,

I think it is the first time i see you mentioning your girlfriend (orit's been a long).
Is she Thai?

Is she going to live with you in East Timor?

(Please forgive my curiosity ;D)

Concerning the PAD: blocking the airports is no solution indeed! >:(
Economics of Conservation
written by Carl, August 30, 2008
The irony is that when you offer to save someone $200 (e.g. with a few CFLs), they still don't do it. :- It's not what percent CFLs could save-- it's a way of thinking. What do we do about the energy problem-- more coal, more nukes, solar/wind?

Look at the incremental costs of power generation. We are building new coal, etc. plants at $3 /W, and solar (now) at as much as $10/W. So saving 66W of peak use from one $2 CFL means not building >$200 worth of new coal power plants. You would think this is a no-brainer, but it escapes most people. CFL is just an example of "low hanging fruit", and talking about it leads to the other opportunities.
written by kd, August 30, 2008
sorry if i submitted my post 100 times - there was an error on my page!!???!!!
The Free-Market is the answer
written by Ciaran, August 30, 2008
Hank, what you were saying is exactly what Ron Paul has been saying. Any new technology that is truly more efficient, cheaper, and cleaner will rise in the market on it's own.

Government intervention in the market does nothing good. the government's jobs is to protect from fore and fraud, and to ensure your inalienable rights.

Not to ban an entire business. Imagine if people said glass cups break too easily, so instead we'll mandate steel cups because they're more efficient. It would be ridiculous.

Your examples were perfect demonstrations of things in the market working on their own.
I recommend reading the short story I, Pencil, it displays this property really well., pencil 2006.pdf
But it takes competition for things to become cheaper, not taxing the people and subsidizing. That doesn't decrease the actual cost. Banning items helps no-one, it just removes thousands of jobs, and prevents and entire field of research from doing things that could provide something far better than the government mandated alternative.
Throwing Stuff Away is Green
written by Adam Pieniazek, August 30, 2008
or so the change to CFL people would have us believe. The campaign to get everyone to switch to CFL bulbs just doesn't take into account the viagra online pharmacy usa costs of people recycling or throwing away their old bulbs. As the old bulbs burn out why not buy a better bulb, but until then I'm not going to go switching out light bulbs just to save a few bucks or use slightly less energy, especially since in the long run the whole switching process uses up enough energy to offset the energy savings.
written by thuper, August 30, 2008
CFLs only contain a drop of mercury, and actually use little enough electricity to offset the amount of mercury released by burning coal to power your light bulbs. Not that coal is okay.
written by soahc, August 30, 2008
I like this blog entry.

It seems to me that the only logical grounds upon which to appeal to people to change their habits is aestheticism rather than morality. People will go with what is better, what feels better, etc.

Morality, whether it is a dictator appealing to the darker tendencies of his subjects, or environmentalists proselytizing about why everyone needs to change light bulbs, can easily become a source of oppression and even fascism.

People will go with what is cheapest, and what feels better. Not what is dictated to be better for the environment by authority figures. We need less government regulations of our lives. And I am liable to change to LEDs not because I was told to by the green authorities but because I get tired of changing lightbulbs all the time.

My point is we don't need anyone dictating values to us. Morality is a sham that is used as a system of control.
written by Nick B, August 30, 2008
Does anyone not realize that coal contains mercury? If fact it contains enought that switching to flourescent bulbs actually reduces the amount of mercury that gets into the environment. This entire article is based on what is commonly happening today. People see a part of the cialis 100 mg picture that suits their belief and ignores all other science. Science is not about belief, it is about truth and reality.
it's all about the money, only.
written by campbell, August 30, 2008
It's all about the money.

Very very few people buy lightbulbs based on what they may or may not do to the environment, and very few bother to consider the long term costs. its' all about immediate low cost and ease. buy it, screw it in. doesn't matter what kind of lightbulb it is. i want it now and i want it cheap, right now.

Turtle airships fly on solar power. big deal. sae the earth, right? no. all it does, really, is same my company money that we would have had to pay out for aviaion fuel if we flew airplanes. the fact that a Turtle airship is "green" in several different ways, is almost immaterial to my passengers.

what they want is a safe, fun, interesting, efficient flying experience.

but, by offering an alternative to airplanes that will eventually become common transport, yes, we DO save a great deal of "Earth"
written by Clinch, August 30, 2008
The "coal plants produce more mercury than CFLs" is a tired and cialis sales online old argument, that doesn't properly address the problem.
-CFLs contain enough mercury, that if one breaks in you house, it can be harmful, and toxic. Unless you have a coal power plant in you house as well, then CFL's are much worse
-CFLs, when dumped in the environment, because the mercury they contain is concentrated, it is far more potent, then the highly dispersed coal smoke (it's the same with the mercury used in gold mining, which although far less than produced from coal, still has a much bigger negative effect on the environment).
-Power from coal plants alone may produce more mercury, but if you look at the actual sources of power involved, and take that in to account, it turns out CFLs do put more mercury in to the environment than using them saves from power production.
written by Nate, August 30, 2008
Ultimately, the technology won't be LEDs or cathode ray bulbs – it will be nanoantennae. Take a TV transmitter and scale it down so the frequency is in the visible spectrum, now grow them on a substrate.

Tunable frequency characteristics and near 100% spectral efficiency are the advantages. Grow them dense enough and you can produce essentially point light sources.
Good article!
written by TV Comics, August 30, 2008
I agree, and I like where you're going with this article. The real solution is supporting innovation.
You're on the right track...
written by will, August 30, 2008
Does anyone know why the National Fenestration Council isn't jumping to take a lead in this situation? What I'm suggesting is more windows in your house, then you wouldn't need light bulbs...

Ultimately free market will provide us with a product that meets the cheapest cialis online needs/wants of us consumers, just be patient...
CFLs, LEDs, and Light
written by Cowboyclint, August 30, 2008
CFLs are just a stopgap. Ugly light, flicker, and mercury easily outweigh the benefits. As a lighting designer, I can't stand to see CFLs. They Hurt my eyes, and I know what's in them. LEDs, while more expensive, are the way to go. They last even longer, are dimmable, the color is nice, they don't flicker, and the color has come a long way. I am sure there are ecological impacts with LEDs, but CFLS are not the answer. Unless you only care about the here and now, and you ship them off to be recycled properly.
written by Ed, August 30, 2008
The mercury problem in coal and the "don't worry, it's not going to be in your house" mentality is nonsense. It's simply another externality that producers pass onto the consumers by sweeping it under our front doors.
less efficient = nice and warm
written by Darcy, August 30, 2008
Living in a cold climate even further reduces the incentive to buy compact fluorescents.. although I try to use as many as I can in my house to save on electricity, in the winter months, the energy lost to heat isn't really a loss. If it didn't come out of the bulbs, it would be coming out of my furnace. Although I will admit that the heat isn't spread so effectively perhaps.
written by Mitch, August 30, 2008
I've tried the new CFL blubs. I hate them.

They're not the same color as the real bulbs, so you can't mix & match. Yes, I know I can shop around for specific temperature bulbs- but they still won't be the same. That and it's a lot of shopping time & work for a stupid light bulb.

They take time to warm up. And they don't last nearly as long as the package says. The savings numbers are pure fiction- and in some cases they're costing me more then real light bulbs in the TCO calculations.

Congress made a huge mistake outlawing real light bulbs. The market place is working on a far better (and greener!) solution in the form of LED lighting. All this CFL hype will do is make from eco-types happy, cost us consumers a lot of money, and spread around a lot of mercury in the time window until LED's take over.
written by Erik, August 30, 2008
I agree that CFL bulbs won't save the cheapest viagra uk world but they can save money. I recently spent $50 on CFL bulbs for my whole house and have already made my money back. At first I was sceptical that the investment would pay off but it was absolutely worth it. My bathroom had four 60 watt bulbs and a 75 watt bulb. Now it has four 13 watt bulbs and a 23 watt bulb. That took my bathroom from 315 watts to just 75 and it's just as brightly lit!

CFL bulbs do have mercury problems but new bulb technology is on the way. If these bulbs last as long as advertised then there will probably be something better by the time I replace these. I'm just trying to point out that there are economical benefits as well as ecological ones. If only the marketing departments could figure this out.
written by Rob, August 31, 2008
So EcoGeek is all about letting the market decide? Fantastic.
Libertarian crap
written by oh puh-leeze, August 31, 2008
This article and this forum are filled with typical American free market fantasy and scientific ignorance.

The idea that you can't use government regulation to force people to be more environmentally responsbile? Well, history shows that "innovative" technologies, such as Nuclear Power, would till now have been impossible without massive government support/subsidy. The same goes for Solar, and this is why Europe is already ten years ahead of the USA in alternative energy - many of their governments are subsidising these industries until they become profitable - just like the US did with the nuclear industry.

Yes, CFL lights contain mercury. The amount of mercury released into the atmosphere however, by the amount of coal that must be burned to continue using incandescent lighting, is FAR greater. Australia has already banned all Incandescent lighting by 2009. It's happening. Proof it can be done.

It's true, CFL is a stop-gap. But what's your alternative? All I hear in this article is negativity, and fantasy, and no actual positive alternatives (even if they're imperfect, like CFL). The bottom line is there is a MASSIVE problem in the world today, and maybe stop gaps like CFL will have to be embraced in the interim to try and pave the way to better solutions.
Oh and...
written by oh puh-leeze, August 31, 2008
To those here expounding the benefits of LED lighting vs CFL - you've clearly never actually tried it. I would love to replace all the bulbs in my house with LED lighting - but when I did actually try a few, they were TERRIBLE. It's true advances are being made in mixed LEDs for correct colour temperatures etc., but the fact is LED lighting as it stands today is pathetic. CFL is an existing solution that can be implemented immediately until better LED's are available. There is less cost to the environment in using CFL's in the meantime than there is in continuing to use a 100 year old, inefficient technology in incandescents.
written by SteveC, August 31, 2008
There is one thing, and one thing ONLY that will work.

Stop having so damn many babies and reduce the population. Nothing else will work, at all, not even a little bit, in the long run.

If we fail to stop having so damn many babies, the big bad famine will, eventually -- eventually -- just kill them outright.
written by Durand, August 31, 2008
I'm not sure what some of you mean by bad lighting quality of CFCs...We got two bulbs free from our energy company, liked them, ordered a few more to replace our ugly incandescent ones and just screwed them in. That was 4 years ago. We have the we recommend cost of cialis _same_ bulbs now and theyre just as good as when they were new. I think We've had to replace four sets of incandescent bulbs in that same period (living room has weird sockets). LEDs but they're not yet as easy to replace and incandescent bulbs are just plain horrible - aesthetically, ecologically and anvironmentally...
written by vovin, August 31, 2008
But... Using the led lights will in the long run save you money as they last pretty much a lifetime and are more efficent than other bulbs. They are right now very expensive but in the coming years I think they will become more reasonable.
one week
written by james, August 31, 2008
A recent article in Macleans magazine pointed out that if everyone in North America switched to new bulbs tomorrow it would save the equivalent of the output of one entire coal fired plant in China.
Unfortunately they are building a new one every WEEK !
oh boy
written by dude, August 31, 2008
Let's not use cfl's and just wait then, that's a really good idea.
written by Krazd, August 31, 2008
that's a different point of view I never thought about until I read this article. dugg!
CFL's contain mercury, but LED's contain
written by Ruggy, August 31, 2008
While the LED's encapsulate the gallium arsenide to varying degrees in plastic, that doesn't help when the dead LED meets the municipal garbage burner.

Any arsenic gets released right into the environment!

I believe that the manufacturers simply want to raise the margins on light bulbs, and new laws banning cheap bulbs are the preferred business strategy.
Missing the point
written by Ben Smith, August 31, 2008
Compact flash lights save you $$$ RIGHT NOW...

I have a large house, (3000 Sq ft) with loads of kids in it. Do you think they turn off lights religiously?


And it's a big joke - my house is the most well-lit house in the neighborhood. Driving up to my house just now, I see the we choice buy generic levitra porch light, the living room light, two bedroom lights, the bathroom light, and the green room light - all on.

The joke? All the lights in my house COMBINED burn less than 200 watts! My COMPUTER burns about that much!

The only incandescent bulbs in my house are in my oven and in my lava lamp.

I started using CFL bulbs exclusively when they dropped to about $10/bulb, when I found that, over their life span, they would save me $50 or so in electricity, and I wouldn't have to replace them as often.

It's been almost a decade. I love 'em. I have maybe 1 or 2 burn out per YEAR. Did I mention how many of them there are?
written by Riley Peper, August 31, 2008
Thank you for being sane (in this article). You probably aren't as sane in all of your other articles (from just by looking at your domain name) but this article is 100% true. And the worst part is the mercury in the fluorescent light bulbs. ick!
CFL's don't last any longer than incades
written by DC Charge, August 31, 2008
I've tried CFL's and so far I'm not impressed with them. These are supposed to last longer than incandescents. This is supposed to offset the higher purchase price for CFL's. However I've found that these bulbs do not last any longer than incandescent bulbs. I'd like to know what brand Ben Smith is using as the brands I've tried suck.

Also these things are considered toxic waste because of the mercury content. Did you know that you can't just toss these in the trash?

I'm going back to incandescent's until a better technology comes out. LED's for example.
written by CS Power engi, August 31, 2008
People posting comments on mercury: please, turn off your computer right now and never use it again, as well as your t.v., dishwasher,microwave,electric oven,stereo, don't by an electric car when they come about, don't use electricity... why? because odds are 30% of the energy you use daily comes from a coal plant, one that emits mercury into the air, more so than any amount of CFL ever made.

There are reasons why CFL's are not the greatest, mercury is not one of them.
The Market
written by Hank, August 31, 2008
How did this get construed as a promotion of the free market? Technology and the market are entirely different and often contrary forces.

I think that technology should be promoted above and beyond what the market would ordinarily provide. In general, market forces prefer technological stagnation. Profit without innovation is always preferred. Technology thrives when the market is disturbed and when external forces (subsidies and public relations alike) promote them above market stagnation.

Technology is an altogether more powerful force than the market...which is, again, why I think it's such an intriguing source of solutions to environmental crisis.
written by soahc, August 31, 2008
What government subsidies helped create the computer or operating system you wrote your post from? I think your theory of market stagnation and interventional innovation is skewed.
Al Gore
written by bob, August 31, 2008
Once Al Gore quits sucking down 22x the national average in power, then he can preach about global warming. Until then, STFU, Al!
Impacts of everyone taking simple steps
written by Brandi, August 31, 2008
This is an important discussion to have amongst those who consider themselves environmentally conscious or those who are advocating for changes at a broader level.

It's disappointing to see that participants on EcoGeek can't agree that we need to encourage the most basic, simple steps in order for individuals to have an impact on energy use and global warming. One of the easiest and cheapest places to start saving energy is with lighting. CFLs are not the only solution, and it's true that LEDs are emerging as a better alternative. However, a CFL uses at least 3 times less energy than a standard bulb, lasts 10 times longer, and if every household in the U.S. replaced ONE light bulb with a CFL bulb it would prevent enough pollution to equal the removal of one million cars from the road. Don't underestimate the cialis canada prescription impacts of individual actions.

By being energy efficient at all levels, we can save money and reduce the need for new coal burning power plants. We rely on dirty coal to produce most of our electricity in this country, which contributes to 80% of the country's global warming pollution. Not to mention we have to deal with soot and woman and cialis smog pollution leading to acid rain, and dangerous mercury emissions. Mercury also ends up in our lakes and rivers and is responsible for fish consumption advisories.

Investments in energy efficiency come at one-third of the cost of building a new coal burning power plant, and one-fifth of the cost of a nuclear power plant. So why are we still relying on these old, dirty ways of the past?

I'm about to argue with the assertions that the free market will move innovation forward and create competition. Incentives and subsidies are in fact necessary to put clean, renewable energy on a level playing field and make it more affordable for people to make their own investments. How much money has the government poured into oil, coal and nukes in the past? Do some research and you will see that the government subsidizes both good and purchase viagra soft tabs bad technologies, and it's up to us to advocate for the good technologies. It's time that we move beyond the polluting ways of the past and create policies that will move us toward a more secure, clean and affordable energy future.

written by Ken Roberts, August 31, 2008
You people don't understand a thing about economics or technology. "Market forces prefer technological stagnation"... are you f'ing kidding me? That is the most ridiculous thing that I've heard in a while.

To the socialists above who prefer that the government mandate new technologies, that is not the answer. It will in the long run cause investment in suboptimal technologies, due to political influence in government decisions.

The optimal solution is simple: a tax on pollution. It can be a straight-forward tax, or a trading scheme like Kyoto. The funds could then be sent directly back to the people each year (distributed evenly), used to cut other taxes, or it could be used to clean up existing pollution.

In this case, industry will factor in the cost of pollution into economic decisions. This will lead to investment in alternative energy sources, and energy efficiencies, that are effective but not nearly as 'sexy' as solar and wind power.

Remember, the government should only establish *mechanisms*, not get into specifics. Focus on internalizing the economic externality of pollution.
written by Bob Wallace, August 31, 2008
One CFL contains a hundred times less mercury than is found in a single dental amalgam filling or old-style glass thermometer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

I was an early CFL adapter. When I had to pay $18 for my first CFL. (It was worth it to me as I live off the grid and my electricity costs a lot "up front".)

I'm still using that original bulb about ten years later. It's moved to a bedroom light as it has the 'slow start' problem of older CFLs. But it's working just fine, as are all the other dozen or so that I've bought since.
One big reason for replacing which seems
written by Alan, August 31, 2008
Ever have to replace a light bulb in an annoyingly out-of-the-way light fixture, like on a ceiling which you can only reach via ladder, and then have to unscrew to disassemble to even get to the bulb?

That's one good reason to replace standard incandescent with the mercury vapor fluorescents.
Sure, tax pollution too...
written by Brandi, August 31, 2008
I agree that pollution should be taxed or accounted for financially so that industry has to consider alternatives to polluting.

In addition, providing government incentives or tax credits to consumers to invest in clean energy technologies is not a mandate, but it does provide a boost that is needed for some to make that initial investment.

In fact, if you scroll to the top you will see that this site has an ad in favor of extending tax credits for renewable energy. That's one example of what I am talking about.

Baby steps
written by Karsten, September 01, 2008
The other day, a few months ago actually, I decided to estimate how guilty I should feel for having missed participating in this global turn-your-lights-off-for-one-hour-thing. I just plain forgot. Anyhow, my conclusion was that not having used the electric dryer in our house for close to 9 months at that time saved significantly more electricity than if ALL people in my town had participated in turning off all lights in their homes for one hour. My family not using ONE DEVICE resulted in less energy used than not using any of our lights plus several other devices.

I have CFLs installed. Whenever a bulb burns out I put a CFL in. Although I do not like the mercury and that I have to dispose of them properly, they last longer and are cheaper in the long run. Nevertheless, it makes a tiny difference to do that in comparison to other things you could do. Too many people replace their incandescents and the best place professional levitra consider themselves saving the planet. Not enough! Wrong end of the spectrum! Sweat the small stuff later/after!

I wonder if North America will become an area where no one uses incandescent lights any longer and everyone recycles everything and drives a hybrid but where we still gobble up the most energy on the planet and continue to live unsustainably.

And yes, if you have a regular income, a bunch of kids, are not able to say "no" once in a while, and own a big house in North America, don't expect to begin living a carbon neutral life anytime soon. Condoms (and other tools) may be the most efficient "green" product yet.

Practical Advice to Pollute Less
written by Virgil, September 01, 2008
@karsten... 1!

The worst thing that could possibly happen, is we wake up in 25 years' time, and we're all driving hybrid cars that get double the mileage, and all living in energy efficient homes with plenty of CFLs, and burning half the amount of power, BUT... here's the rub... there's twice as many of us!

It doesn't matter a jot if you cut your carbon, because for every ton you save, there's 20 ians waiting to burn it for you. Unless we have less kids AND conserve energy, all our efforts will be for nothing.
written by Ken Roberts, September 01, 2008
You having less kids won't do anything but ensure that we're all replaced by Mexicans, Chinese, or Indians. Other countries aren't reducing their birth rates, and many of them are instead increasing them as a result of their increasing prosperity. Trying to have less kids on your own is like blowing into a hurricane. It'll only cause our entitlement programs to go bankrupt from lack of worker support, and cause the demographics of our country to change.
written by Joan McNeil, September 01, 2008
Just thought I would pass along the name of another company that is doing it's part for the environment, its called ShieldSafe. It is a green identity theft protection company that gives direct donations to charities for each member it protects. Plus, if you use the promotion code "green" you save 50% off the annual price, making it only $24 for an entire year. It's their way of thanking those that are environemtally responsible. You can check them out at
Yes, it is depressing
written by Karsten, September 01, 2008
People will have kids and it is their human right to do that. I can tell people with good conscience that it is better for one's own carbon footprint to have fewer (or no) kids or how to pollute less efficiently. I find it difficult though to tell people in other countries to not live like us or have fewer kids. Just as we did a century ago, it is their choice even if they choose badly. Luckily we have better data.

Certainly, for a society that relies on younger people to support the elders, having children (although not necessarily you!) is a necessity. I am also certain that demographics will change in many places including the US. And why should/would we want to prevent that? Because we do not want to share? Our live-style has created unbalance world wide - we need to accept the consequences sooner of later. And we have to figure this out as a species, not as individuals or individual countries preserving self-interest and asking others to change. Don't ask me how - I do not know.

What I know and what I (and anyone else) can do immediately is to consume dramatically less personally and educate the people around me how to do the same while still living a decent life. While this may not make much difference on a global scale it will at least show your family, friends, and neighbors that it is possible. In North America living small and bruising on cialis simply is definitely an obsession of only a few who receive little attention and much weirdo-status. For what it is worth, I will do my share to change that. The situation is depressing but I am not ready to jump off the bridge just because 20 others are happy to do it.

Practical Advice to Pollute Less
Lame excuses
written by Eddy De Clercq, September 02, 2008

As said in this blog the mercury "issues" is in my eyes an exaggeration as long as you keep some basic rules in mind. There are also alternatives if one still doesn't trust it and one doesn't see any difference with the classic bulb.

I'll go green when it doesn't cost me an
written by Paul Shaver, September 02, 2008
Sure. I'll buy CFLs. Not because it saves the planet, but because it saves me money.

When I make purchasing or lifestyle decisions, i will ALWAYS go green when it doesn't cost me any more than another alternative (even looking long term). However, if that service/good costs me more TIME (even at the same cost), I won't switch. As I get older I realize that time is indeed money. This is the one reason why I don't cycle or use public transportation. Time.
marginal demand sets the price for every
written by jello5929, September 02, 2008
Sure, saving 1% energy is nothing in terms of saving the planet.

But from an economics standpoint, that last 1% sets the price. A huge percentage of the energy demand is inelastic - people must buy regardless of price.

Changing our energy consumption nationwide by 1% can suddenly shift the balance from over-demand to over-supply and the price will drop a lot.
written by Roger Brown, September 02, 2008
The idea that technology alone can save us from our environmental excesses is laughable. If we want to live sustainably in a finite world then we have to limit our population and our appetite for material wealth. Voluntary simplicity and mutual support are the path to a sustainable system of economic production. We need to develop a socially agreed upon concept of economic sufficiency and then set out to provide that sufficiency with minimum ecological impact. Yes, we should call technology to our aid where it makes sense to do so, but we if insist on preserving our atomized, every nuclear family for itself, let's get richer forever culture, then all the engineering cleverness in the universe is not going to save us from eventual disaster.
written by cannon, September 02, 2008
yes, i changed as many bulbs in my house to cfl's as i could. not because i believe in the global warming hoax, i don't, not because i want to save the planet, it can't be done. i did it to save $20 a month in electric bills. that's $20 dollars each and where can i purchase viagra every month i have to spend on something else, like hunting and fishing trips. you ecogeeks keep trying to save the planet, and more power to you. me, i'm into saving money.
Cannon - let us see you really mean it
written by Karsten, September 03, 2008
Wanna save even more money?

* Hang dry your laundry instead of using the dryer. An electric dryer may use as much a 2000 CFLs when in operation.
* Stay close to home for your vacation.
* Bike and walk more and save on gas for the truck.
* Take 5-minute showers to save a lot for paying for hot water.
*Install water-saving shower heads.
*Wash your laundry in cold water.
*Reduce the thermostat settings by a few degrees and heat much less.
*Don't use A/C in your house.
*Insulate your old windows.

And if this is all too much work or too inconvenient - shut up talking about being a person who wants to save money. If replacing light bulbs is all you do you are a person who is into CONVENIENCE and does the light bulb thing only to feel better. There are much better ways to save money.

Practical Advice to Pollute Less (and save money often)
written by cannon, September 03, 2008
kristen...1)i already use a old fasioned 4 line 50 foot. we think the clothes smell better tyhan out of the dryer. 2) i haven't had a vacation in 3 years, and when i do have time off, we take in the local scienery,,western virgina is one of the loveliest places on earth.3) we take 10 minute's more fun with a friend to wash your back 4)all shower heads and faucets are low flow, so is the toilet...water cost money too, i'm a tightwad everywhere5) there is a cieling fan in every roon, and the south deck is being converted to a solarium for aux heat this winter. and here in the hills, the summers rarly get too hot, so the a/c runs very little..and 6) all windows and doors are upgraded high effeciency energy star units.
the only place i fall short on your list is that i live 35 miles from my work place....but as soon as i can, i'm getting a smart 42..that should free up a few bucks for the deer hunting trips.
again, my motives here are not enviromental, although i comment those of you whos are, mine are strictly good old fashioned capatolistic's my money, i worked hard for it, and i ain't waisting it.
Easy to make the switch and usefull link buy pfizer viagra to recycle c
written by Liam Hahn, September 03, 2008
I may be a little biased since I work at Home Depot, but we sell packs of 4 CFL's for $3 at the moment, and we take old ones back to be recycled, so no mercury is released into the environment. I stocked up on them, so every time a light in the house burns out (most are halogen floodlights) they get replaced with a cfl of equivalent light output, pretty simple, and the savings add up in the long run.
Well Cannon,...
written by Karsten, September 04, 2008
It seems like you are on the right track even if you do not care about the environment. Very often cheap people pollute less.

Now, I left out one high impact item and I am curious: How about your meat consumption? That is a difficult one. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Hourly? What kind of meat? Cheap factory meat puts a lot of stress on the environment and resources (and ultimately on your health). And I cannot imagine that eating any farm meat in amounts that equals the meat consumption habits of Americans or Europeans could be sustainable by any means. Game meat is fine although there is most certainly not enough to support our current meat consumption.

BTW, it is great when people do the right thing. The results tend to be better when they try to do the right thing for the right reasons and with good reasoning.


Nonsense and Light Properties
written by lightbird, September 08, 2008
Cowboy Clint,
As a lighting designer you should know that LED's have poor color, and poor CRI. What are you saying you are going to light your entire projects in LED and halogen? Would you suggest people replace residential lights with LED?

I don't know where you learned your lamp properties but you can get a flicker free electronic ballast and GASP, you can dim a CFL. Suggest you go back to lighting design 101.
CFL's can be recycled
written by crb recycle, September 08, 2008
Just a thought about the mercury debate here:

I presume that pretty much everyone in this forum recycles their household items. So why would recycling a CFL be any different. This ensures the mercury is properly extracted and reused. With the lamp life of a CFL lasting well over 5 years and close to 10 in many cases surely we can pedal over to the local recycling hut once a decade? Thoughts?
written by Ken Mason, September 14, 2008
All this discussion will soon be moot as LED's take over the world, the perferct artificial light source!
You can now convert your flashlights to LED's, 50000 hours, little heat, 90 % effieciant reasonably rouged, prices dropping daily as intensity is going up at the same time, low/no toxicity, little mass almost nothing to recycle, compact, the size of square mm inside a small corm kerrnal sized envelope. Need I go on? Oh, they have revolutionised lasers by orders of magnitude!
Poor CRI on LEDs
written by lightbird, September 15, 2008
Nice thought, but LED's don't have the best lamp properties such as CRI and color temperature to be used everywhere. New LEDs are more like the size of a grape than a kernel of corn and getting larger it seems. They will undoubtedly eventually control the lighting market, but won't drive other sources to extinction.
written by Anthony Henslegh, December 08, 2008
Hello my name is Anthony Hensleigh , and my profession is electronic engineering for the
past 2 years I have been working on my own projects Eco technology to be precise
and in doing so I have designed and invented 3 systems that I believe wood be highly
beneficial globally in reducing co2 emotions and production off green power with a realistic
future for generations to come , and at a realistic cost . The systems are innovative and new and
if used in conjunction with one another I believe wood make existing eco systems obsolete .
I know this are big claims bout its true , bout the problem is know mater au many times I send
e mails to major firms and companies for some reason they don’t reply to my disappointment
when I have got so much to offer . I rely don’t know what a man as to do this days to be listened to when it not the world doing me a favour its me doing it one .

1 ) Flow light > A design for a new lighting system , that is more efficient than the most energy
efficient light bulbs .

2 ) Green wave > A realistic solution to reducing co2 emotions by at least 20 % and in doing so
solving a nother maygeer problem .

3 ) K1LES - LAIVE ENERGE SYSTEM > Just imagine a power station that for they average power consumption off 10 domestic homes can produce in return enough power to supply New York City .

I woos wondering if there is anybody interested in baking my projects or at list listen to what I have got
to say . It won’t only be extremely beneficial to the person financially , bout you will also do the
Planet a big favour .

If you are interested please reply to this e mail address .

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Why Changing your light bulbs is merely
written by Gabe Taijeron, January 20, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Changing your light bulb is economically cool; saving money is great! But understand this: The only real way you are going to save the world (at least as far as lighting is concerned) is to start actually turning your lights off during the day, run them only at night, and switch to LED light bulbs (or make your own). One day, they will be commercially feasable for the common working man and woman, and their environmental impact is generally (and relatively) benign. If you really want to really save the world, the best thing to do is live without electricity (unless you have a biodiesel generator), use biodegradable detergents, keep your water heater at 99 degrees or lower, buy domestic fruits, vegetables, and clothing, and recycle everything you can. Chances are, what I just described is unrealistic and nearly impossible for the working class; do what you can and don't get hung up on the hype. I don't waste or overconsume (except at Taco Bell) and I believe in recycling and renewable fuels...gasoline is still an extremely efficient form of energy, and propane still burns extremely clean. Pray for the algae biodiesel to replace all gasoline and diesel use; algae biodiesel (and the jobs that it makes) will probably be what saves us all.
written by frank, July 06, 2009
I think we're all missing the reality of the situation here and it isn't light-bulbs. Does anyone really believe that screwing in a bunch of lower power light-bulbs is going to save the planet from ecological catastrophe? People need to expand their minds a little on this whole issue instead of focusing all their thoughts on one tiny issue, like light bulbs. The real problem that we have is that, with 6 1/2 billion people-and growing-that's just way more than earth can support on a long term basis. Switching to lower power lights-whatever type they may be-just isn't going to make a whole hell of a lot of difference.
If you want to take on some real issues try food production. We are-have already created VAST dead zones in our seas and oceans from fertilizer and farm waste runoff. I think I heard that just one of these-there are many-is the size of the state of Massachusetts!!! Something like 90% of the large species of ocean fish have been driven to the brink of extinction-or over it. We're increasing the CO2 level in the atmosphere toward the highest levels that the planet has seen while having life on it. I would not say this unless I had very good reason to believe it's true but unless we can radically reduce earth's human population soon things like light bulbs are simply going to be a non issue.
Automotive Light Bulbs
written by Daniel, January 15, 2013
The giants have remained the same but the technical products have been drastically changing every moment as technology with power efficient sources is born. It’s the power consumption, durable, higher life span and some other factors consider the better lighting feature now in today’s crystal world.

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