Monday, January 21, 2008

Fluorescent Lighting

On January 10th the New York Times ran an article on the backlash to a proposed ban on incandescent light bulbs in California. According to the article “Manufacturers balked at the idea of outlawing an entire technology. Libertarians objected to the idea of government dictating what kind of bulbs people could use in their homes. Even some environmentalists who supported switching to more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs expressed reservations about requiring consumers to adopt products containing mercury, with no provisions for safe disposal. But perhaps the most ardent dissenters were those who feared compact fluorescents would turn their home into a place with all the charm and warmth of a gas station restroom.”

Back in 2007 the Australian Government began phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent bulbs. The Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbill, estimated a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 4 million tons by 2012 and a reduction in household power bills by up to 66%.

First does anyone know how realistic Australia’s estimates are? Reducing power bill by up to 66% by switching a few light bulbs seems a bit farfetched to me. Second, if these estimates are even close to realistic and given California’s high price of electricity it seems a bit ridiculous to let fear of change (which is what the backlash mostly seems to be) derail the legislation.

1 comment:

Maura Nippert said...

I've been hearing a lot about this. What are the details of the "ban". Are they regulating production, sales, or use? The real problem seems to be the lag in florescent lighting products that can create similar and familiar indoor environments to those we are used to and find pleasant. Why should people be forced to have ugly harsh irritating lighting before better products are available?