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back to article Senator demands US create morally superior light bulbs

Somebody pull out the red, white and blue paint. Light bulbs have turned patriotic. US Senator Barbara Boxer today urged Silicon Valley's leaders to think of energy in nationalistic terms. This fine country has the strength, talent and will to curb its energy hungry ways and become a model for the rest of the world. Anything …

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Anonymous Coward

Senator Boxer

She's a booger-eatin-moron.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Senator Boxer

You are being kind to describe the Marin county babe in those words.

We should harness the energy from her expelled hot air. Almost enough to power sillycon valley!!

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Why conserve electricity? Let's ask California...

Regardless of your personal ideas or beliefs on global warning, everyone should at least attempt to reduce their energy consumption for two very basic reasons:

1. Lower energy usage equals lower energy bill. It's not rocket science. At my current cost of electricity (0.167190 USD per KWH):

a) a 60W light bulb, on for 8 hours per day, costs 2.41 USD per month.

b) a 100W bulb, on for 8 hours per day, costs 4.01 USD per month.

c) a 100W load (a typical computer, for example), on for 24 hours per day, costs 12.04 USD per month.

2. Specific regions (California, for example) have serious power crunches/outages, especially in the summer when air conditioning is used. Reducing your energy usage reduces the load on the power grid, resulting in a lowered chance of a power outage.

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The Smug is too large

For fans of southpark...

The Smug cloud over los angeles will collide with the smug cloud from US Senator Barbara Boxer's recent lightbulb speech. All the smug created by those prius' and lightbulbs is too much, there is gonna be a big smug storm...

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Anonymous Coward

pah @ california...

is that the same place where the car manufacturers are sueing saying that they will make less money if they make environmentally safe cars. america needs a big kick up the ass!

i sometimes despair at the good old US of A

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Energy saving devices

Chris, amen to everything you said! I just wanted to give some kudos to whoever "they" are - the people who have come up with these awesome ways to save electricity and money.

I don't know how much energy my light bulbs consume in a typical month, but I do take care to buy the new light bulbs that are supposed to last 5-7 years and cost pennies on the dollar to use compared to regular ones. We just purchased a package of 8 13-watt light bulbs (75-watt regular bulb equivalent, I believe) for about $15 at Sam's Club. The 50-cent variety of 75-watt bulbs need to be replaced every few months, actually making them not only less energy efficient, but vastly more expensive as well.

When we were in the market to purchase a room air conditioner, we chose one that was most energy efficient. That's a top priority for all our appliances - dishwashers, refrigerators and so on.

I have to admit that my primary reason for wanting energy savings is a selfish one - I want a lower energy bill! It does make me feel better, though, knowing that somehow we're helping out the greater good by (hopefully) helping to prevent power outages.

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Are CFL bulbs better? Really?

CFL bulbs are worse than glass ones! Australia is wanting to ban incandescent bulbs, the EU are looking at it, and now the USA. Sod the real cost, let's look like we're doing something...

http://sound.westhost.com/articles/incandescent.htm

Nothing wrong with saving energy, but if we do it at the expense of the environment - what's the point?

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Silver badge

Californians thinking green? Get real!

Ok..

Lets think about this.

Boxer is from California.

You know the place where they wrote a song who's lyrics contain

".. Nobody but a nobody walks in LA ..."

Where there is a lack of good public transportation.

A lot of wasted land use by having suburban sprawl.

And when you think green like saving electricity or going with a hybrid or all electric vehicle, where is all this power going to come from?

(Hint: Ask yourself how much electricity in California is generated by Nuclear plants? Coal Plants? Geothermal? Hydroelectric? ...)

[Note: Yeah building a nuclear power plant in a quake zone is a tad scary, but it can be done safely.]

So while Boxer spews forth rhetoric to please her tree hugging constituents, why doesn't she actually do something to really act green?

There are other options on power generation but I don't see her or any other politico pushing for technology grants and tax credits for alternative power generation.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF Vance?

>Boxer's repeated attacks against Bush came as the Democrat called for a non-partisan attitude

>toward global warming policies. The obvious irony no doubt shocks you.

The only thing ironic here is Vance missing the Bush rhetoric since 1999 about not being a divider and non-partisanship. This has been the most partisan administration in the past century, and possibly since the founding of the US. So don't go calling it ironic when a Democrat finally stands up to Bush. The irony is that Vance forgets that Bush has historically done exactly what she snipes at Boxer for.

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CFLs can't replace incandescents

Do CFLs dim? No. Are there three way CFLs? No. Are there CFL floods and spots? No. Do CFLs work at 30F? No.

It's no wonder that there's a tremendous run on incandescents in Australia. If the US bans them, I'm laying in a 20 year supply.

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Bronze badge

A couple of points...

I have no complaint, in theory, with the compact fluorescent bulbs, but there are a couple of points that make them sub-optimal for my purposes.

1 - The ones that I've seen and tried are too yellow. I do illustration, painting, and design and yellow light skews the colors. Does anyone make daylight-corrected bulbs for general use? I haven't seen them. Further, the yellowness of the light, to me, makes a mockery of the "...equivalent to a XX Watt incandescent bulb..." crap on the packages; subjectively an "equivalent to 100W" CF bulb is actually closer to a 75W bulb, to my eyes.

2 - Much is made, in the pro-CF pieces, of the idea that "90% of the electricity used in an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat". Now, I realize that folks in Silicon valleyu amd the L.A. basin (for two examples) may not know this, but some of us actually have to HEAT our homes, at least part of the time, for six months out of the year. And with the price of oil, natural gas, etc., anythjing that I have to use for light in any case that is ALSO pumping 90 W of heat into my room for every 100W of power I'm using strikes me as a damned efficient adjunct to my home heating system. Esentially then, , it seems to me that in the winter I'm getting 100% BENEFIT from any electricity used by an incandescent bulb - 90% as heat and 10% as light.

(The small-souled, petty cynic in me wonders if any reporter has asked Senator Boxer, et al, on the record, whether they have replaced "ALL* of the bulbs in their homes and offices (both home-district and D.C.) with CF bulbs before exhorting the rest of use to clean up our acts... is that wrong of me?)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CFLs can't replace incandescents

Do CFLs dim? No.

YES: http://www.prolighting.com/ph20wdicfl28.html A simple google search for +dimmable +CFL

Are there three way CFLs? No.

YES: I've had and used them. Again, google search +3 +way +cfl

Are there CFL floods and spots? No. Do CFLs work at 30F? No.

Floods? YES. Spots? Maybe

Do they work at 30F? Funny, the ones on the porch seemed to work just fine in the New England Winter providing you kept the enclosure shut so the ice didn't get inside.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=cfls.advanced_cfl_search

Do they work as well as YOU EXPECT them to is a completely different question. They also make ones with better color rendition as well. Whether or not that helps the other Artist type who posted is up for debate.

Google is your friend.

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Pretty amazing

It's amazing the spleen that people vent when someone asks them to act like responsible adults.

A few facts for y'all:

California is the third to lowest energy usage per capita state in the US. And yes, there are a lot of us who don't need to heat our houses, but we definitely make up for that in the summer with our air conditioning.

Source: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/plugs/plsedr.html

There are fluorescent lamps that dim, though they take special bulbs. (I have one.) There are three-way fluorescent lamps, working by the simple expedient of having two bulbs. There are CFL spots and floods; I own a flood. It works fine. And finally, yes, there are plenty that will work below 30 F, though you'll have to look for one that is rated properly.

If electricity were a good, efficient way to heat a house, then you wouldn't be heating your house with heating oil/gas/franklin stoves/whatever. This is not to mention the fact that many people who are happy to have an incandescent light in winter just crank the air conditioning up a little higher in summer to compensate. And air conditioning is way the heck less energy efficient than heating.

On my last visit to Ms. Boxer's office, the entire place was lit with fluorescents, and the two desk lamps I saw were CF. I can't speak to her house, since I have never had the pleasure of visiting it.

California, and in particular the Silicon Valley, is the national leader in research on alternative energy generation. The state makes grants, and the venture capitalists are encouraged to get on board. And Ms. Boxer is quite heavily involved in the alternative energy movement (c.f. http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2007/04/05/042789.html ) and has quite a bit of credibility here because of it.

As for the energy situation in California, that is due to state politics, not national. Energy deregulation, shoved down our throats by PG&E, has really caused a great deal of harm to the state, and we're only now beginning to figure out ways to recover. But blaming Boxer for that fiasco is just as fair as blaming Clinton or Bush... it's a state issue, at least at the moment, not a Federal one.

As for the personal attacks on Boxer, I can only assume that they mean she's doing her job.

-fred

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Anonymous Coward

But...

Don't CFL bulbs contain mercury? Secondly, to get the same amount of light, you actually have to use more of them, no? And the talk of them outlasting incandescent bulbs is marginal at best (excluding 3 way bulbs). The ones I've purchased 15 dollars for 3, I've had two burnout within a few months of installing them.

Given the three to four individual lightbulbs that may be in use at any given time in my house, screw it... I'm going to start stashing incandescent bulbs.

Oh yeah, global warming is still a myth!

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Bronze badge

Jeez, Fred; relax...

"If electricity were a good, efficient way to heat a house, then you wouldn't be heating your house with heating oil/gas/franklin stoves/whatever. This is not to mention the fact that many people who are happy to have an incandescent light in winter just crank the air conditioning up a little higher in summer to compensate. And air conditioning is way the heck less energy efficient than heating."

Having lived in homes with electric baseboard heating, I'm well aware of its deficiencies. My current apartment is oil-heated, which is why I said "adjunct"...

I agree with you, as well, about the inefficiencies of air conditioners. Which is why, with the exception of last sumer when my daughter (asthmatic) was living with me, I don't use them. I use fans.

The question remains: Is it more efficient, in order to achieve a given room temperature in winter, to use a CF bulb and more heat, or use an incandescent bulb and less heat? Or is it a draw?

"On my last visit to Ms. Boxer's office, the entire place was lit with fluorescents, and the two desk lamps I saw were CF. I can't speak to her house, since I have never had the pleasure of visiting it."

Fine. Excellent. That, at least, answers part of the question asked. Thank you.

As to, "California is the third to lowest energy usage per capita state in the US. " the key phrase here is "per capita". All that means is that you've got a lot of people to divide up the facts that Cali is still the nation's second-highest TOTAL consumer of natural gas, petroleum, and electricity. (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_sum/plain_html/rank_use_per_cap.html) Note that little Rhode Island, with FAR fewer people to split the load, used the least per capita.

One point that I didn't mention above and which, again, I have not seen addressed, is the cost issue. Yes; I understand that, in time, the price of the average CF bulb may come down to be within the same range as the average incandescent, but that doesn't help low-income people *NOW*. I have, at times, been in a position where I could barely afford 99 cents for a light bulb. Had I had to pay $4.50 for one - however much longer it was going to last - I would have ended up sitting in the dark.

How did the California law address this? (I really am curious!)

And, Fred, as a personal aside: If you want to show people the correct way to be responsible about energy, you might want to avoid having these sentences all in the same posting:

"It's amazing the spleen that people vent when someone asks them to act like responsible adults.

"(T)here are a lot of us who don't need to heat our houses, but we definitely make up for that in the summer with our air conditioning.

"And air conditioning is way the heck less energy efficient than heating."

Having spent almost 3 years (1988-1991) living in L/A. without having an AC unit in my apartment, I believe that the vast majority of people living there don't *NEED* AC, but use it anyway just because they can.

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