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 Post subject: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:01 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:17 am
Posts: 2
The fact that American consumers won't be allowed to purchase 100watt or larger light bulbs in 2012, makes me furious. The industry is slowly moving to CFL and LEDs, so over the next several years, all incandescent bulbs will be eliminated. It's not that I don't want to help the environment or save money on electric bills, I do. But I want to be able to CHOOSE. To add insult to injury, the government's plan has been to not only move us away from standard base incandescent, but, "nudge" us away from ALL standard Edison base bulbs to the much smaller candelabra B-type bases. Then, about the time we got used to them, they are "nudging" us into using the GU-24 base CFL that can only be used in fixtures manufactured to accept the GU-24 design. Right now, this relative newcomer to the CFL industry, the GU-24, with it's dual pin design, breaks very easily, allowing it's 5mgs of mercury to be released inside the home. It cost 4 times that of a "regular Edison base" CFL bulb and has become the most refunded bulb ever for getting too hot and melting the base around the ballast. What we are finding out, is that alternatives to standard base bulbs, just don't provide the light most of us need inside the home. If the alternative to standard base incandescence is so inferior, why is our government regulating us to have to purchase them? Well, come to find out, when you "follow the money", the EPA and Dept. of Energy have been lobbied by influential foreign interests to change recommendations and actions through the ENERGY STAR program, in favor of their clients. It boils down to again, those in power will be allowed to keep whatever type of product they want, but the American consumer will have to conform to the laws they create and get passed. If the Occupy movement had actually wanted to change how things are done, they could have served themselves and us more, by occupying the halls of Congress.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1627
Location: Seattle, WA
There are two sides to this coin.

Some times people resist change, choose the cheapest short term option, etc - things that are against society's or even their own long term interest. Other times there is a "tragedy of the commons" effect, where individual interests, when aggregated, leave everyone worse off. In this case, well-crafted legislation can help correct the behavior.

On the other hand, when "nudging" consumers, the "choice makers" have to understand all the issues themselves. And sometimes broad legislation may ignore or intentionally override edge cases, as you point out.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:29 pm 
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There is so much crap science around this issue that it's hardly worth discussing! There is nothing wrong with compact fluorescents in my opinion, but they won't save any real energy. It's all physics people, not politics or opinion.

Fortunately I live close enough to Mexico that I can just go buy the old bulbs any time I want for the foreseeable future. And of course Arizona has thumbed its nose at Washington and legalized the old incandescents here, which they can do under the Commerce Clause.

I'm just glad things are in such good shape in this country that banning incandescent light bulbs is a high priority for our leaders.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1150
Location: Illinois
DoingHomework wrote:
I'm just glad things are in such good shape in this country that banning incandescent light bulbs is a high priority for our leaders.

Here Here!


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:23 pm 
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bpgui wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
I'm just glad things are in such good shape in this country that banning incandescent light bulbs is a high priority for our leaders.

Here Here!



It all reminds me of that old song...how does it go..."Proud to be an American, where at least I know (nothing will get done)" or something like that.

If this crew were running a business the whole lot would be out on the street by now! Why do we put up with such dysfunction?

Sorry, bad week already.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1150
Location: Illinois
I wasn't at all confident they would get anything done.

If they haven't done so already, I'll wager by the end of the month the Repubs introduce legislation to cancel the automatic cuts to defense and the Dems introduce similare legislation to cancel the cuts to entitlements.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:55 pm 
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I'm sure you're right.

And yet the problem will remain.

I really think we are in serious long term trouble. Really. I don't see any of this ending well. There is a lot of stress and discord in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1150
Location: Illinois
DoingHomework wrote:
I really think we are in serious long term trouble. Really. I don't see any of this ending well. There is a lot of stress and discord in the world.

Unfortunately, I agree. I can't conceive of a plausible scenario in which both sides actually try to get something accomplished rather than trying to score political points.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
DoingHomework wrote:
There is so much crap science around this issue that it's hardly worth discussing! There is nothing wrong with compact fluorescents in my opinion, but they won't save any real energy. It's all physics people, not politics or opinion.

Fortunately I live close enough to Mexico that I can just go buy the old bulbs any time I want for the foreseeable future. And of course Arizona has thumbed its nose at Washington and legalized the old incandescents here, which they can do under the Commerce Clause.

I'm just glad things are in such good shape in this country that banning incandescent light bulbs is a high priority for our leaders.


I'm curious about this statement, that compact fluorescents won't save any real energy. I know I've heard arguments about cost of production, etc, but it seems pretty clear compact flur. are more energy efficient than incadescents. As far as saving real energy, there have been alot of things legislated that for any individual household are not big deals, but in the aggregate help. That includes low flow toliets and showerheads (Seinfield anyone?). The government is also putting money into having people weatherize their house, or choose roofing materials that are more energy efficient, and for us government folks to have our computers have sleep/shut down schedules that save energy. Not glamorous, and not to say if they are phasing out incandescents they aren't doing other things as well, but when (not if) energy prices rise it will all help.

And personally, necessity is the mother of invention. If incandescents are phased out (and they are not just here but pretty much everywhere) there will be pressure to make improvements on lighting alternatives.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:59 pm 
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partgypsy1 wrote:
I'm curious about this statement, that compact fluorescents won't save any real energy. I know I've heard arguments about cost of production, etc, but it seems pretty clear compact flur. are more energy efficient than incadescents.


A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts of electricity regardless of the type. Of that 100 watts some is converted light and some to heat. The part converted to heat is lost as is some of the light because it is outside the useful range of the human eye. But the light spectrum is fairly uniform over the visible range (actually it follows the blackbody curve for the nerds)

CFLs emit light in only 3 or 4 bands which theoretically mix to mimic the blackbody curve we humans need. Unfortunately most people need a brighter CFL to perceive the same brightness. You might subjectively perceive a 100 watt CFL to be of the same brightness as a 75 watt incandescent. Unfortunately this varies with person and is fairly difficult to measure.

CFLs also lose brightness fairly quickly over time. A CFL halfway through its life probably is significantly dimmer than it started to the point that many people would replace it or turn on another lamp to supplement.

When you combine all this you find that CFLs are not nearly as efficient as claimed when used realistically, by actual humans. When you factor in the mercury contamination and other serious risks they just aren't that great.

Personally, we started switching to CFLs a few years ago. I thought they were great at first. But our experience has not been as advertised. They don't seem to last very long, cost substantially more, and when I calculated our electricity savings based on how long we actually have lights on, it was almost negligible.

If you really want to save energy, replace your electric heater and stove with natural gas, turn down the thermostat, and stop using a hairdryer. Those things matter far more than light bulbs!

And who here with a low flow toilet doesn't often have to flush it 2 or 3 times? Do you also water your lawn? Because I bet you throw away several times more water in your yard every week than you flush down the toilet.

I'm all for being energy efficient and conserving water. But many of these things that are done just don't hold up to scrutiny.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
oops dup post...............


Last edited by partgypsy1 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts of electricity regardless of the type. Of that 100 watts some is converted light and some to heat. The part converted to heat is lost as is some of the light because it is outside the useful range of the human eye. But the light spectrum is fairly uniform over the visible range (actually it follows the blackbody curve for the nerds)

A 100 watt CFL uses 23-26 watts of energy. Typically a 70% reduction in energy from incandescents to CFL.
CFLs emit light in only 3 or 4 bands which theoretically mix to mimic the blackbody curve we humans need. Unfortunately most people need a brighter CFL to perceive the same brightness. You might subjectively perceive a 100 watt CFL to be of the same brightness as a 75 watt incandescent. Unfortunately this varies with person and is fairly difficult to measure.
I admit that CFL is not as good(natural) of light as incandescents. However the difference in perceived brightness would have to be pretty significant to offset energy costs.
CFLs also lose brightness fairly quickly over time. A CFL halfway through its life probably is significantly dimmer than it started to the point that many people would replace it or turn on another lamp to supplement.
I have noticed that some brands are better than others. I stick with those brands (I can't remember but they sell them at Home Depot).
When you combine all this you find that CFLs are not nearly as efficient as claimed when used realistically, by actual humans. When you factor in the mercury contamination and other serious risks they just aren't that great.
They are working on reducing to 1/4 the current level of mercury used.
Personally, we started switching to CFLs a few years ago. I thought they were great at first. But our experience has not been as advertised. They don't seem to last very long, cost substantially more, and when I calculated our electricity savings based on how long we actually have lights on, it was almost negligible.

If you really want to save energy, replace your electric heater and stove with natural gas, turn down the thermostat, and stop using a hairdryer. Those things matter far more than light bulbs!
What if you do all those things already? And who here with a low flow toilet doesn't often have to flush it 2 or 3 times? Do you also water your lawn? Because I bet you throw away several times more water in your yard every week than you flush down the toilet.
I'm one of those horrible people who let it mellow. And we replaced our yard with ground cover (though we are going to re-introduce a small area of yard back in the backyard. We use about 50% the average water usage for our household size.
I'm all for being energy efficient and conserving water. But many of these things that are done just don't hold up to scrutiny.[/quote]
Disagree. One of the reasons that they were able to continue providing water to very thirsty Western states when both population and agriculture was increasing, is by intensive water management. So both behavior change and new products can contribute to effective conservation.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:04 pm 
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partgypsy1 wrote:
A 100 watt CFL uses 23-26 watts of energy. Typically a 70% reduction in energy from incandescents to CFL.


No. A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts regardless of the technology used. The difference is that a 1600 lumen bulb uses 100 watts if it is incandescent and 23-30 watts if it is CFL. But that is misleading because a "lumen" is supposed to be a unit of light energy measured at around 550 nm wavelength where the human eye peaks. But humans actually perceive over a broad range so if you compare something that emits in one narrow band at 550 nm with something that emits over a broad band centered there the second will appear brighter. But you can "trick" the measurement.

As I said, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with CFLs if you want to use them. But the science is questionable and based on a lot of assumptions and claims that are very subjective.

partgypsy1 wrote:
Disagree. One of the reasons that they were able to continue providing water to very thirsty Western states when both population and agriculture was increasing, is by intensive water management. So both behavior change and new products can contribute to effective conservation.


I live in Arizona and am very familiar with water issues. What we did with water management is to a) dramatically increase evaporation losses in reservoirs, and b) destroy the ecosystem of the Sea of Cortez (SoC). The Colorado River used to bring enormous amounts of fresh water into the SoC, which has a very high evaporation rate. The fresh water kept the salinity in balance. But now that we suck all the water out of the Colorado before it enters Mexico, the salinity of the SoC has increased and led to all sorts of environmental problems. One of those was the collapse of the shrimp fishery which was an important economic resource in Sonora.

And have you been to Phoenix lately? The place is covered by lush golf courses. That isn't conservation, it's waste on a grand scale! The Central Arizona Project brought water in just so it could be sprayed out on the desert and evaporate. That is, the share of water Arizona is entitled to that is not sold to Nevada to light all those incandescent bulbs on the Las Vegas Strip.

Water and energy conservation are extremely important issues. But the scale is far beyond what light bulbs and toilet tanks can solve.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:26 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
One thing I do agree on, it is hard for consumers to accept products that are conservationist in nature, that seem to provide worse "quality" or "benefit". This is especially true for any resource such as water and electricity costs currently are priced, they are so cheap that savings that are made do not seem to be "worth" it to the consumer. This sentiment might be aggravated if one knows how much energy is used by factories, companies, where it seems any savings done by the individual consumer may be dwarfed by wastage in other areas.
To me, energy savings are worth it, in addition to reducing recurrent bills, but also the knowledge I'm reducing my footprint. Obviously not everyone feels this way or is motivated by this. For example you may force someone to use CFLs, but they can also choose to have all the lights in their house on all the time. To me, CFL seem like a relatively painless and no-brainer way of saving money, but maybe I'm not the normal US consumer.
FYI I agree with you about golf courses, or having swimming pools in Phoenix. The urban areas have had enough leverage to do these kind of things, but when water shortages become worse, harder choices will have to be made. I personally think it's crazy that someone decided to build a Las-Vegas sized city in that area of Nevada.


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 Post subject: Re: Tired of being "nudged" out of choices
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:51 pm 
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I think most people would be surprised how hard many large companies work (and how much they spend) trying to reduce energy usage. It's largely about money of course but they also genuinely want to clean up their act.

I interviewed a guy recently for a job who currently is in charge of a facility that is around $1 billion across hundred of acres. It's a manufacturing facility for a very large company (undoubtedly top 10 in the US, possibly the world) - I think he was slumming applying for a job with us but he basically just wanted to retire here and made that very clear. In any case, it was very impressive what they do to squeeze every little bit of efficiency they can out of the facility. It's not something you hear about very often but they spend millions per year just trying to eliminate unnecessary usage.

And I mentioned I'm from Arizona - I remember hearing 30+ years ago about some of the things the mines do to reduce their electricity usage. It's technical but basically they can reduce usage by putting in special light bulbs (for the nerds again, they put in capacitive bulbs to correct the inductive power factor created by running so many motors). In their case I doubt it's about being "green." But saving money and being efficient makes money so they have been doing it for a long time even though they are one of the "dirtiest" industries.


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