What Say To $50 Light Bulbs?

I’d dearly like to blame this mess mostly or solely on Democrats, alas, President Bush signed the legislation which was sponsored by Fred Upton (R-Mi), who now sits as chairman of House Energy and Commerce committee. But, it is supposedly for Gaia’s sake, or, more aptly, because the Federal congress has dearly lost their way, and thinks it’s their job to regulate a commonplace consumer product which is no danger to anyone

Two leading makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January.

Their demonstrations at the LightFair trade show in Philadelphia this week mean that brighter LED bulbs will likely go on sale next year, but after a government ban takes effect.

The new bulbs will also be expensive – about $50 each – so the development may not prevent consumers from hoarding traditional bulbs.

You can get a regular 100 watt bulb for about $2 bucks, and it’ll last around a year. Anyone think these LED’s will last 25 years? A cheap CFL will cost you around $6. Think it will last 3 years? Granted, standard bulbs do wast a lot of energy, but, isn’t that your choice, not Congresses?

To encourage energy efficiency, Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals, starting in 2012. Conventional light bulbs don’t meet those goals, so the law will prohibit making or importing them. The same rule will start apply to remaining bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014. Since January, California has already banned stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

You have to love the use of the word “encourage.” I don’t think so. You encourage your kids to go study. You forcibly mandate that your kid goes to his/her room and do his/her homework right now, no TV, no music, no games. Congress is not encouraging, they are forcing. There are no penalties (yet) if you are caught with a florescent bulb: you’ll just have a damned hard time finding them. California has already mandated that stores cannot stock 100 watt florescent bulbs.

It begs the question (well, this whole mess begs lots of questions, such as the sanity of lawmakers who vote for this, and where their copy of Mein Kampf or Little Red Book are kept), how many 100 watt bulbs are actually used. I don’t have a single one at home. The closest I have is a three way bulb….can’t seem to find any LEDs, and would probably get the vapors at the price. CFLs are at least $12.

I’ve said before that I used to like CFLs, when they were made well, and lasted a long time. However, when talking about CFLs and LEDs, do you know what kind of light they put out? With florescent, you can get clear, soft white, daylight, and others. You know how they will work, regardless of the brand. Not with CFLs/LEDs. Do you really want to experiment for those prices?

Oh, and most are made in China.

The big problem with LEDs is that although they don’t produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs, the heat they do create shortens the lifespan and reduces the efficiency of the chips. Cramming a dozen chips together in a tight bulb-shaped package that fits in today’s lamps and sockets makes the heat problem worse. The brighter the bulb, the bigger the problem is.

So, you may (lots) more and they don’t last longer? Thanks, Congress, but, hey, here’s a chance for new (stupid) legislation

What’s really needed, (Bob Karlicek, the director of the Smart Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy) said, is a new approach to lighting – new fixtures and lamps that spread out the LEDs, avoiding the heat problem.

There you go: you can mandate new fixtures and lamps.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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