Free Energy Savings Available Right Now

from the not-quite-free-energy dept

There's obviously a lot of investment right now into alternative energy, some of which is already starting to pay off, though much of it is still quite speculative. But developing clean energy sources is only one way to protect the environment and and the economy. Finding ways to reduce consumption is equally useful in this regard. Tim Haab reprints a recent graph from The Economist, which nicely shows the costs of various methods of reducing carbon emissions. While things like solar power remain expensive, certain things, like improving indoor insulation and using different types of lightbulbs, save both energy and money. The question, then, is why aren't people already taking advantage of the low-hanging fruit of energy savings? A lot of it probably has to do with inertia or personal taste, which is why some politicians wants to mandate fluorescent lightbulbs. While that particular legislation may save people energy, the thinking behind it is the same as the subsidies of ethanol, which seem to be causing economic harm. It's better to let consumers learn about these options and have the best solutions emerge through the market.


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    Jon, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 8:54am

    mandating fluorescent bulbs?

    I can just see trying to insert a fluorescent bulb into the 40 watt utility bulb socket of my oven.
    WTF!

     

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      transit60, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:33am

      Re: mandating fluorescent bulbs?

      Jon makes an interesting point. Part of the problem with replacing incandecent with flourescents is they do not make them to replace all fixtures in all situations. I have replaced 3 lights with flourescents out of 11 possible fixtures in my house. The other 8 fixtures are either 3-way bulbs, candelabra based or restricted in space or size. The technology needs to meet demand.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:31am

        Re: mandating fluorescent bulbs?

        Three-way compact fluorescents *do* commercially exist; I use them in my 3-way fixtures at home with no problem. Also, LED bulbs make more sense for some applications. Though I agree that not all incandescent bulbs have adequate low-power replacements (yet?), one can still save a lot of money (and energy) by using the low-power alternatives whenever the application allows.

         

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        Charles Griswold, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 6:35pm

        Re: Re: mandating fluorescent bulbs?

        I have replaced 3 lights with flourescents out of 11 possible fixtures in my house. The other 8 fixtures are either 3-way bulbs, candelabra based or restricted in space or size.
        There is an amazing variety of compact fluorescent bulbs available now, including 3-way, dimmable, candelabra, and others. More information at the 1000bulbs website. It's amazing what you can find with a Google search. :-)

         

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    Patrick, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:25am

    Government mandates as innovation driver

    While I don't like the idea of requiring a specific piece of technology, I do think that there is a point where a normal capitalist system will no longer to seek innovation because they've grown fat with the old ways. At this point the government should step in and remind people of what should happen.

    Market driven innovation is too short-sighted to see the need of increased mpg. The average user doesn't care about a 5 mpg difference in a car. However, the less gas used the better. The manufactures won't change the overall fleet to increase mileage because they perceive the demand to be too low to be worth the infrastructure cost. As a result we would slowly drive ourselves into Global Warming. However, the government came in an upped fuel economy requirements. It made a market force. The market will respond.

    Same thing with house improvements. The initial cost of upping a houses insulation is sizable. However, over 10 years the cost isn't bad and probably would end up saving people money. Unfortunately, the house builder can't sell the 150,000 dollar house to a person that would have bought the same house, sans the insulation, with only a 130,000 dollar budget.

     

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    Overcast, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:25am

    How about just outlawing flood lamps? Of course - you wouldn't be able to go to a sporting event at night, but hey - it's all in the name of the 'energy religion' now isn't it?

    How about maybe having politicians turn off half the lights in their mansion - perhaps that might help too?

    Or maybe, just turn the TV off anytime a politician talks - that would save energy too

     

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      Random_User, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:39am

      Re:

      Brilliant...Especially the part about turning the TV off anytime a politician talks.

      Except...How would you know when to turn it back on???:)

       

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        Charles Griswold, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 6:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Brilliant...Especially the part about turning the TV off anytime a politician talks.

        Except...How would you know when to turn it back on???:)
        Speaking for myself, I don't. Instead, I read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, browse the internet, or find something else to do that doesn't involve zoning out in front of the tube being spoon-fed someone else's idea of entertainment.

         

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      rock, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:59am

      Re: overcast comment

      your right on love it

       

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    SPR, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:28am

    "It's better to let consumers learn about these options and have the best solutions emerge through the market."

    Market demand cannot select nuclear power. That requires governmental action to streamline the approval process for requests to construct these plants, and easing of environmental restrictions. We have to do this to reduce our usage of carbon based fuels. Environmentalists can't have it both ways. They cannot reduce carbon based fuels and block nuclear power.

     

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      name, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:50am

      Re: lol

      ......and neither of which are good for the enviroment.

      no one is even sure that global warming is true. and so what if it is. everything that is, as a result of humanity, is NATURAL. cause see, WE ARE A PART OF NATURE. so taking that into consideration, if this global warming crap were true then this is mother nature taking her corse. and dont give me the "SAVE THE ANIMALS" BS either. species go extinct everyday, but guess what, others evolve and take their place. Earth has seen many mass extinctions. proven fact. now take a look around you. what do you see? LIFE!

      seriously, our main goal as a species is to progress. this would mean adventually leaving Earth. wow, look at that. we dont really need to worry about this planet ne more. we can now go to any other other billions upon billions of other planets.

      look, if global warming is true then the only thing i would be worried about is if i was dumb enough to buy a home on the coast line. sorry, thats just a fact.

      However, the only thing we do know for sure is that the resources we are using for energy now are someday going to be gone. taking this into account, i do agree we need better energy alternatives. maybe this fussion BS will work out someday soon?

      cant wait to the replies to this. Just keep in mind that i, like you, have an opinion.

      however, if you think im pullin all this crap outta no where then take ur puggy fingers outta your a$$ and go to Google and look it up.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re: lol

        cause see, WE ARE A PART OF NATURE. so taking that into consideration, if this global warming crap were true then this is mother nature taking her corse. and dont give me the "SAVE THE ANIMALS" BS either. species go extinct everyday, but guess what, others evolve and take their place. Earth has seen many mass extinctions. proven fact. now take a look around you. what do you see? LIFE!

        True, but you see... I have a particular fondness for the species known as Homo sapiens, and I really don't want to see it go extinct! And don't tell me that it can't, because as you just said, we are part of nature, and species go extinct all the time.

        Do I seriously think that global warming is enough to make H. sapiens go extinct? No, probably not. But a) why take the chance, and b) the survival of the species is much different from the thriving of the species.

         

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          name, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: lol

          i see where your coming from but lets say global warming is true. do you think its going to happen tomorrow? i doubt it. so i think we have enough time to counter-act any bad effects we might experience from this global warming stuff by that time. and if we are unable to adapt (this would be either "fixing the problem we created" or or working with the "problem") then we suffer and/or die. natural selection at its best and we dont deserve to rule the universe as a species. but fortunately i have much more faith in my fellow man than that.


          *FUSSION IS THE WAY*

          cheers

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

            Well, where do you draw the line when it is appropriate to start "counter-acting"? Because we don't see any drastic changes now? What if in 200 years global warming kills off a quarter of the population? I'm sure your great-great-great-grandchildren, if you should ever reproduce, will be saying "well, we can fix this problem later when we need to, we're still alive, right?". If global warming kills anyone, it would be nice if you and your offspring would be the only ones to die off from natural selection. But, it affects us all. So we will carry your weight a little longer.

            And, for God's sake, it's fusion. One "S".

             

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              name, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

              well in 200 years the population will be a tiny bit higher than 6 billion people. i doubt we'll suffer at all if 1/4 of the population dies.

              the signs of global warming are not going to all of a sudden show up out of no where. when florida start to sink then i might says let do something. i still wouldnt say that its "global warming caused by man" necessarily but i would advise the people in florida to finally give up on their homes (that are blown away every year ne ways) and move elsewhere.

              if florida is underwater because of global warming then all that ice in the north/south poles will be gone. so its not like we're necessarily going to have less space either,due to the oceans flooding the land.

              im trying to find a video that may help you think more logically about this topic. if i can find it i promise to post it. though, as i see with all your posts, you can find flaws in anything. maybe you should consider thinking about yourself a bit more :)


              *tootles*

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:50pm

            Re: global warming

            Carbon dioxide has a very long life in the atmosphere before natural processes (think: plate tectonics) can scrub it. The bulk of the carbon dioxide we released from fossil fuels 80 years ago is still in play (though it does participate in the biological and oceanographic carbon cycles, much of it [or pre-existing carbon that fossil carbon displace] remains in the atmosphere). If we completely stopped *all* carbon combustion today, we will *still* experience further global warming for decades to come. So why stop now (or soon)? Because the more carbon that is placed in the atmosphere, the greater the warming will be. And the greater the warning, the more challenging the problems for our future selves to solve (and it is not a simple linear increase in problems either).

            Your faith in human ingenuity is touching, but do you really want to trade a slightly difficult problem now (cut down emissions) for a very difficult problem later (remove carbon from the atmosphere in bulk, or re-engineer how humans interact with the planet)?

            "*FUSSION IS THE WAY*" [sic]

            Amen. But... when will you have your fusion plant up and running? Last I heard it was still a rolling "forty years from now". Forty more years of coal and gasoline is too long.

             

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        Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re: lol

        Taking the Dogbirt way of thinking aren't you. "I'm part of nature"

        Sad to say I don't think your pulling this crap out of your ass. 20 some odd years ago scientist were worried that pollution was causing global cooling.

        I can't believe a group, *cough*Greenpeace*cough*, that has been known to petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide. Look that one up on google it's really funny.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: lol

          "20 some odd years ago scientist were worried that pollution was causing global cooling."

          Some *individual* scientist _speculated_ that. It did got a lot of play in the press, but it did *not* get buy-in from the scientific community.

          The scientific community, after two decades of increasingly detailed data, is now agreed that global warming is a real phenomenon that *is* happening.


          "I can't believe a group, *cough*Greenpeace*cough*"

          Fine. Ignore them --- their opinion on the subject is indeed irrelevant. But would you fucking listen to those who have taken the time to actually examine the evidence in painstaking detail and have concluded that the evidence for anthropogenic greenhouse warming is very compelling?

           

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            name, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

            wheres the proof that global warming is happening because of humans?. this planet has been much warmer than it is now. hell, its also been much colder. why is everyone so fixed on *keeping things the way they always been*. modern humans have been lucky compared to pre-history folks in terms of drastic climate changes, among other things. and because of this we think that its suppose to stay like this forever. unfortunately no matter what you do its not going to stay the same. even if you try to artificially keep the climate like it is there is no way you can account for all the variables that would need to be accounted for in order not to screw crap up even worse.

            as for all our crops dying off because the climate in that particular region has changed, and theres mass famine, just grow corn in Alaska instead of in the lower 48 states (using that just as an example. you get the idea, i think). its not like ur going to have to worry about it next harvest season....

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

              Where's *your* proof that it isn't happening? Neither side has proof, but there is more evidence to suggest that we are causing the planet to warm at an accelerated rate.

               

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                Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

                One cannot prove that something is not happening. One can only prove that it is. (A level of quantum physics, that I don't fully understand, makes this true.) So show us proof that it is happening and then you can complain and swear all you want.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 2:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: lol

                  We aren't talking about quantum physics. If you want to get really abstract, then realize that quantum physics is a theory in itself, then nothing can be proved.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

                  Re: proofs

                  "One cannot prove that something is not happening. One can only prove that it is. (A level of quantum physics, that I don't fully understand, makes this true.)"

                  It has nothing to do with quantum mechanics. The principle you are alluding to is a basic problem in the application of logic: if you have to enumerate an infinite number of possibilities to establish the truth of a proposition, you will not be able to achieve the proof in finite time. This is often stated as "you cannot prove a negative". If I were to state "there are no pink unicorns" then a single pink unicorn would suffice to prove me wrong, but it would take the examination of the entire space and time of universe to prove I'm right.

                  There are several problems with invoking this principle here, however. First off, science does not really deal with "proof" in the mathematical sense, as much as popularizers of the subject may mislead you into believing that it does. Second, despite the superficial syntactic resemblance, the proposition "there is no global warming" is not actually an instance of the "cannot prove a negative" principle: the spatial scope is limited to earth and the time is limited to now. And third, there *is* abundant evidence that the global average temperature has increased beyond "natural variation" since the dawn of the industrial age, that there is currently an excess of CO2 over equilibrium in the atmosphere, and that this excess CO2 has contributed to this warming, and will continue to contribute for the forseeable future.

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

              Re: name

              "wheres the proof that global warming is happening because of humans?"

              Short answer: we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas; we have been mining carbon, and burning it to CO2 in abundance since the dawn of the industrial revolution; we can tell from isotopic analysis that fossil carbon now constitutes a portion of our atmosphere, at a level adequate to contribute to CO2-based warming feedbacks. For a longer, more detailed, and more convincing analysis, read the


              "this planet has been much warmer than it is now"
              Yes, but not in the history of primates.

              "hell, its also been much colder"
              Yes, but not in the history of post-agricultural man.

              "why is everyone so fixed on *keeping things the way they always been*"
              Because modern humans, with their agriculture and their technology, have taken advantage of the details of the world as it has been during the Holocene, not how it was in other epochs. We *might* be able to adapt to a significantly different climate, or we might go extinct. Nature doesn't care either way.

              "unfortunately no matter what you do its not going to stay the same"
              True. But why accelerate things? If we had 400 years before we started seeing any effects, then sure, make your bets on fusion and interstellar travel. But 40 years isn't enough time to transform those fantasies into reality, yet with BAU (business as usual), 40 years is plenty of time to see dramatic changes in climate.

              "as for all our crops dying off because the climate in that particular region has changed, and theres mass famine, just grow corn in Alaska instead of in the lower 48 states"
              It isn't that simple. For starters, even with a warmer Alaska, the growing season up there is still going to be shorter, because they have very dark winters. You might make up _some_ of the difference by finding a way to make use of the abundance of summer daylight, but not without re-engineering the corn (or whatever) genome.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

              Re: name

              "wheres the proof that global warming is happening because of humans?"

              Short answer: we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas; we have been mining carbon, and burning it to CO2 in abundance since the dawn of the industrial revolution; we can tell from isotopic analysis that fossil carbon now constitutes a portion of our atmosphere, at a level adequate to contribute to CO2-based warming feedbacks. For a longer, more detailed, and more convincing analysis, read the IPCC report. Somewhere in-between, you could read the resources on realclimate.org .


              "this planet has been much warmer than it is now"
              Yes, but not in the history of primates.

              "hell, its also been much colder"
              Yes, but not in the history of post-agricultural man.

              "why is everyone so fixed on *keeping things the way they always been*"
              Because modern humans, with their agriculture and their technology, have taken advantage of the details of the world as it has been during the Holocene, not how it was in other epochs. We *might* be able to adapt to a significantly different climate, or we might go extinct. Nature doesn't care either way.

              "unfortunately no matter what you do its not going to stay the same"
              True. But why accelerate things? If we had 400 years before we started seeing any effects, then sure, make your bets on fusion and interstellar travel. But 40 years isn't enough time to transform those fantasies into reality, yet with BAU (business as usual), 40 years is plenty of time to see dramatic changes in climate.

              "as for all our crops dying off because the climate in that particular region has changed, and theres mass famine, just grow corn in Alaska instead of in the lower 48 states"
              It isn't that simple. For starters, even with a warmer Alaska, the growing season up there is still going to be shorter, because they have very dark winters. You might make up _some_ of the difference by finding a way to make use of the abundance of summer daylight, but not without re-engineering the corn (or whatever) genome.

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: lol

        "seriously, our main goal as a species is to progress. this would mean adventually leaving Earth. wow, look at that. we dont really need to worry about this planet ne more. we can now go to any other other billions upon billions of other planets."

        If that ever, ever happens, it will be the remnants of a dying human species, on the verge of extinction. And, billions of planets? Maybe if we spend a few billion years traveling to them.

        "maybe this fussion BS will work out someday soon?"

        Nope, probably not. We can't even sustain a fusion reaction, much less extract any useful energy from it. And, it produces radioactive waste! Gasp! It really is not as "clean" as everyone thinks. It also needs radioactive fuel (tritium).

         

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          name, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: lol

          well if humanity is traveling in space then we have an eternity to reach any planet we choose. imagin having colonies traveling the universe. i know it may sound obserd but if we were able to go to the moon in 1969 then where can we go in 2969? all im sayin is that, at most, we only have to worry about sustaining life on this planet for a short period time more (relitivly speaking). so if global warming isnt going to happen tomorrow then im either going to not be on this planet, stuck on this planet cause im a degenerate (cant have one rotten apple spoiling the gene pool of all the space travelers :D), or, most likely, ill be dead.
          Earth is a resource. one of many resources in this universe. instead of spending trillions on fixing something thats broke lets spend it on advancing technology, move on, and spread the gift of life throughout this universe.

          fussion is in its infincy. time will change that.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 8:23pm

      Re: Nuclear Power

      I'll be in favor of nuclear power as soon as they find a way to safely store the "spent" fuel.

      It shouldn't be a problem except that:
      - the "spent" fuel only remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years
      - no containment method for the "spent" fuel has been invented that will last tens of thousands of years
      - nobody wants to store the "spent" fuel anywhere near where they or their future generations will live, and they are correct.

      You want eased environmental restrictions? Screw that!

      How did you like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl? How do you like the nuclear plant they built on the San Andreas fault?

      Government is bought and paid for. I don't trust them to do the right thing - and we all have plenty of reasons to have reached that conclusion.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 3:33am

        Re: Re: Nuclear Power

        I'll be in favor of nuclear power as soon as they find a way to safely store the "spent" fuel.
        It's already been done. One method is called vitrification. Basically, it involves turning liquid waste (radioactive, poisonous, corrosive, and prone to leak) into cylinders of glass (just as radioactive, but is not corrosive and cannot leak). The glass will remain intact long after it has lost its radioactivity, and even if it does break you just get broken chunks of glass rather than liquid ooze.

        Another method of disposal (which could be used in conjunction with vitrification) involves burying the waste in a subducting tectonic plate. The waste gets sucked into the Earth's mantle where it mixes with the rest of the molten rock.

        A third method is to basically reformulate the spent fuel and use it again. We get more power out of the fuel and the remaining fuel is less radioactive. Repeat until you can't recycle it anymore and then dispose using one or both of the above methods.

        Another thing to consider is that nuclear power plants of a modern design are much safer and more efficient than the ones designed in the 50's. They extract more of the power from their fuel, which means that the spent fuel is less radioactive.

        Are you convinced yet?

         

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    Bob, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:29am

    How about letting people use whatever the hell they want to use like we did 50 years ago. It is a free country. Im so sick of these damn environmentalists spewing false numbers so the 2 or 3 hundred of them get their way while the rest of us are inconvenienced beyond belief, having to deal with shoddy inferior products just to "save the environment" when science has proven that there is no such thing as global warming and even if there as who cares, just turn up the air conditioner up a little more.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      "How about letting people use whatever the hell they want to use like we did 50 years ago. It is a free country. Im so sick of these damn environmentalists spewing false numbers so the 2 or 3 hundred of them get their way while the rest of us are inconvenienced beyond belief, having to deal with shoddy inferior products just to "save the environment" when science has proven that there is no such thing as global warming and even if there as who cares, just turn up the air conditioner up a little more."

      Well, I think the temperature rise has more effects on our environment than our personal comfort.

      I am 100% with SPR. Nuclear power allows us to have a large-scale deployable reliable source of energy without any carbon emissions. I am also for renewables like wind and solar; but, we have to use them all in combination. And, if we start reprocessing spent fuel in the US, there is no limit to how long we can run off of nuclear power.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:16am

      Re: global warming

      just to "save the environment" when science has proven that there is no such thing as global warming
      You must be joking. I haven't heard of any climatologist who still claims that global warming is not occurring, though I think there are still a very small number of holdouts who still claim that human activity is not a significant contributor.
      and even if there as who cares, just turn up the air conditioner up a little more
      I repeat: you must be joking. The air conditioner may make the inside of your home and car and office more pleasant, but contributes even more to the climatological problems of global warming.

       

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    Jerry, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:33am

    Im with Bob on this one. Im so sick and tired of being inconvenienced by those damn air dryers in bathroom, half assed light bulbs that arent bright and white, slow, no power hybrid and electric cars, freon free air conditioners, low flow shower heads etc... They all suck

     

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      Roderick, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:30am

      Re: REDNECK

      Its the gas guzzling, leave the lights on rednecks like this that think wasting the earth is their god given right.

       

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        transit60, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: REDNECK

        Just because I leave all of my lights on for my pit bulls when I take my second cousin/wife in my F-350 dulee to the monster truck rally does not make me a redneck.

         

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        Ajax 4Hire, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re: REDNECK

        So true.
        Freedom is the ability to squander your resources any way you want regardless of the color of your neck.

        Let me decide how I want to squander my resources;
        let me decide the color of my lightbulb, the temperature of my home and its insulation; let me decide to drive a Hummer or a bicycle; let me decide to recycle; let me decide to use vegatable oil to run my Diesel Mercedes; let me decide to hunt for my own meat or buy steaks at the grocery store; let me decide.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:35am

          Re: resources

          "Freedom is the ability to squander your resources any way you want"

          Your freedom to swing your fists ends at my nose. Your freedom to squander resources ends when it impacts the quality of life for my grandchildren.

          Look, I agree that the gov'mt shouldn't be micromanaging people's lives, but I believe that it *should* be in the business of setting public policy for the general benefit of the populace and posterity, because it is the only entity we have that has a chance of "doing the right thing". I readily admit that the big G does a lousy job at times, but we really don't have any better institutions available for taking the long view (where, pathetically, the "long view" is anything more than five years out).

           

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    BigJim, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:35am

    Talk to the governor of IL

    The asshat parading as governor in IL flies from Springfield to Chicago as many as 4 times a week. At state expense. In a jet airliner. Think of how many #$@%@$% light bulbs worth of electricity savings that wipes out!

     

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    transit60, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    "How about just outlawing flood lamps? Of course - you wouldn't be able to go to a sporting event at night"-Overcast, actually, the flood lights used for this purpose are very energy efficient and have been for years.

     

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    Boo (profile), Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    What adbout folks with Dimmers?

    About 90% of the light fixtures in my home are all on dimmers. Try sticking a flourescent light in a fixture that is controlled by a dimmer... :)

     

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    Joe Smith, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Dimmer

    Personally. I am slowly replacing lights in my house with fluorescents. One of the places where you cannot use a fluorescent is on a dimmer switch. Since the rooms we spend the most time in all have dimmer switches that limits which lights we can replace. The market needs to produce an efficient bulb that can work on some form of dimmer switch - the solution will probably have to be based on LEDs.

     

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      Jason, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:03am

      Re: Dimmer

      They make these, small, large, etc.. They make 90% of the requirements out there, you just have to look for them.

       

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    Robert Thille, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:55am

    Dimmable CFLs

    Jesus, get off you fat lazy redneck asses and just fucking google it.

     

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      transit60, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:28am

      Re: Dimmable CFLs

      Point taken, Robert. And for the record, my neck is more of a pale pink, not red. As for the dimmable CFL's you so thoughtfully provided links to, changing out my 3-way 50/150 watt bulb for a 25 watt CFL isn't what I would call a good replacement. 25W CFL's = 60W output. Not a good replacement for a 150W reading light.

       

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      Joe Smith, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:00am

      Re: Dimmable CFLs

      Point taken.

      I did not think that it was even physically possible to create a dimmable CFL. You learn something new every day.

       

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    Overcast, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:01am

    How about letting people use whatever the hell they want to use like we did 50 years ago. It is a free country. Im so sick of these damn environmentalists spewing false numbers so the 2 or 3 hundred of them get their way while the rest of us are inconvenienced beyond belief, having to deal with shoddy inferior products just to "save the environment" when science has proven that there is no such thing as global warming and even if there as who cares, just turn up the air conditioner up a little more.

    Yeah - maybe these politicians could lead by example and turn off some of the lights in their mansions?

    Or maybe it's just another example of "Do as I say, not as I Do."

    And it's really more like 'DICTATING' more than anything.

    I find it's just better to turn off lights when not in use, I try to keep them off - if for nothing else, just to save on the power bill.

    I have already bought energy efficient light bulbs where I can use them. I Don't need the Government telling me what to do; however.

    It's just a lot of hype - it's a matter of fattening the bank accounts, vote tallies, and stock portfolios of some.

    For if these politicians TRULY cared about the environment and saving energy - why wouldn't they be doing it themselves?

    Doesn't it seem simple?
    Ask yourself personally - do you care about the environment?

    I do and I take personal steps to reflect that. So - if our 'leaders' really cared, why wouldn't they be doing their part too?

    Or are people that big of a sucker to believe whatever the Government and Media try to force-feed them.

    Saving the environment is good - Government Dictators Mandating stuff for us - it not.

     

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    beowulf888, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    Isn't there mercury in those fluorescent light bul

    Is it a myth, or is there mercury in those fluorescent light bulbs? If so, how are we supposed to dispose of these things safely?

    --Beo

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:15am

      canard

      Strictly factual, but not useful in this context. Usually this came up as a troll comment months ago amongst those searching for any reason not to be efficient and save money. Surprised it's still around as a legitimate factoid. I invite you to google it to educate yourself.


      Having said all that, bring on the LED lightbulbs.

       

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    Shawn, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:10am

    Moving the expense

    With 60% of these "green" solutions we are just moving the problem to a different pile.
    Fluorescent bulbs, lower electric consumption but put more mercury into the land. Electric cars, less auto pollution but requires more from power plants which generate more pollution.

     

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      chris (profile), Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:56am

      Re: Moving the expense

      yeah, CF bulbs won't fix every problem there is so we shouldn't bother at all.

      we should continue to wait until the perfect, effortless solution materializes from nowhere.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:57am

      Re: Moving the expense

      Fluorescent bulbs, lower electric consumption but put more mercury into the land.
      But balance that against the mercury that isn't released because less coal is burned. And the release of mercury is also mitigated if bulbs are properly recycled, instead of being dumped into a landfill.
      Electric cars, less auto pollution but requires more from power plants which generate more pollution.
      But the net pollution is less, since power plants are more emissions-efficient in general than internal combustion engines, plus point-source emissions control is a much easier problem than per-tailpipe controls.

       

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      Wrangler, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:18am

      Re: Moving the expense

      Actually, the amount of energy from a fossil fuel plant needed to burn an incandescent bulb pumps far more mercury into the air than it would to manufacture a fluorescent. You're using far less energy as well as putting far less mercury back into the environment if you use fluorescents.

       

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    Ajax 4Hire, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    Very simple solution to the conservation movement

    If you want people to conserve water make it more expensive.
    Let them know that water is precious, treat it that way by increasing the cost.

    Raise the price of gasoline and people will be conscious of the MPG rating on their car, they will start to seek lower costing higher MPG solutions.

    Increase the cost of Energy and people will be more conservative about how they use that energy.

    Quit complaining about the high cost of gasoline and be thankful that it sparks the conservation that you so desperately want.

    Duhh!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:13am

    Just ban ALL lightbulbs

    We save energy, don't put more heavy metals in the ground, save money, and daylight saving time might become relevant again, somehow.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:19am

    Answer.

    The government shouldn't be looking to *mandate* anything.. if they want to urge people to buy the eco-friendly stuff, do it with positive reenforcement, aka, tax cuts and such to make buying the stuff more appealing. You know, like they did with Hybrid cars.

    Though, I've switched all the bulbs I thought I could with the CFL bulbs solely because it makes the power bill lower, which makes the Jack Daniel's allotment go up. I, too, was unaware about the dimmable ones-- I thought I knew how CFL bulbs worked, and that inherently resists the idea of dimming-- but hey, now that I know I'm certainly going to check it out!

    Everything I do, I do for Jack. WWJDD? :P

     

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    Overcast, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Yes - and why doesn't the government just do something like waive sales tax on Eco-Friendly devices - why must it be decreed by Caesar, err I mean - mandated by the Government?

    Or perhaps give out tax credits on income taxes? Just provide receipts of the stuff you bought that's 'Eco-Friendly'?

    Perhaps give incentives to manufacturers and retail to drop the price so that they are cheaper than other products?

    Or maybe they could just give them out free?

    Why must it be 'mandated' when I can sit here and think of good ways to implement energy savings incentives in 5 minutes? How can 'dictating' to us what we HAVE to buy with our 'own' money be a better answer? Are these politicians really that removed from the rest of us?

    I tend to agree, most if not all of 'Global Warming' is natural, but also - there's no reason, as the technology exists to not conserve power.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    I wonder how much electricity we would save if Vegas shut down all their signs between 2am and 6pm?

     

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    JasonR, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:20pm

    What happens when that Lighbulb Breaks?

    CF Light bulbs (Compact florescent) contain Murcury.. If you break one in your home the cleanup cost is ~$2,000.

    How many low/middle income families are going to be able to afFord that? If they even know there is a danger, will they tell the next people who move into the house?

    How many people just throw the new bulbs away instead of checking the packaging for proper disposal?

    This is a HUGE environmental disaster waiting to happen.

    -Jason

     

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    Brent, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

    I live off the grid and make all of my own electricity. I recently built my house and every light fixture is off the shelf from various building material retailers or lighting suppliers and all are attractive and modern. Every bulb in my house is CF, even the 40 watter in my range hood. There are no obstacles to reducing energy demand and consumption except some peoples' lack of desire to do so.

     

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      Vincent Clement (profile), Jul 12th, 2007 @ 10:57pm

      Re:

      See, the thing is, you made the decision to live off the grid. You made the decision to use energy efficient lighting.

      The real obstacle to reducing energy demand is subsidized electricity prices. If consumers were charged the actual cost of producing electricity (on an hourly basis), you would see an increase in energy conservation. Unfortunately, certain groups scream about low and fixed income households.

       

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      dazcon5, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 5:16am

      Re: grid

      That's great if you can afford it, and that is one of the main issues. I had decided I wanted to make my existing home energy independent. After much research I discovered I did not have (or be able to afford) the ~$60,000 to purchase and install all the required equipment to fully convert my home to solar energy. There is a company out there that is going to "rent" solar energy packages.
      http://renu.citizenre.com

       

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    Michael Long, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:41pm

    There's more to it than light bulbs,

    Just look at this chart.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/07/a_picture_is_wo.php

    The US uses more gasoline than the next top TWENTY countries in the world. Is it no wonder as why we're embroiled in wars in the Middle East?

    Saving power and gasoline can do more than help the environment: it can also help ensure that your son or daughter isn't growing up just to die in some future war over an oil well.

     

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    Jonathan, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    CFL Problems

    I bought into the CFL story early but am becoming increasingly disillusioned. Although advertised to have long life, my experience with several different brands is that they may even be worse life than std incandescents. I suspect that the long life claims are if left on continuously, which goes against normal home usage.

    CFL's are not very tolerant of cold temps. I have to leave my porch light on 7x24 because a cold CFL won't restart reliably outdoors.

    My big concern is that disposing of old CFL's means dealing with hazardous waste! How many households are going to make a special trip to their local Hazmat facility to throw away a light bulb? This begins to sound like the argument for "clean" nuclear power. Please don't ask me to support it until you have a way of disposing of the hazardous waste.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 12:51pm

      Re: CFL Problems

      Nuclear waste is a problem. If we reprocess the spent fuel, waste will be drastically reduced in mass and radioactivity. Then, we bury it. Sounds better than burning coal, which not only releases carbon, but lots of radioactive material as well.

       

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    Brad, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:12pm

    A simple start..

    Just turn off the lights at night. Anyone who's flown into a major city at night has to marvel at why every darn bulb is on at midnight...

    Here's a shot of the U.S. at night from 1996 http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap960617.html

     

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    joe kewl, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 1:21pm

    WWJDD??

    JDWDM: Jack Daniels would do ME!!!!!

     

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    James W., Jul 12th, 2007 @ 4:08pm

    Wow...

    So many people are selfishly focusing on themselves or America and how rights are being infringed upon. This is insane to read.

    The government wants to mandate usage of more efficient bulbs in lights. WOW! Big deal. Most countries in the EU and Britain outlawed, or are in the process of outlawing, incandescent lights because they're seriously inefficient. No one's complaining about the fact that they're saving money and the governments have recouped millions in energy expenditures. In turn, that also means less fossil fuels are burned to light your house up.

    Who hates saving money? Apparently America.

     

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      Bob, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 7:02pm

      Re: Wow...

      The CFL still suck. Use one and see the nasty yellow tint and they arent bright. Then use a GE 100W Reveal bulb and see the difference. Im not going to yellow my home just to save the earth. Just another half assed invention to "save the environment" that doesnt perform as well as the product they are replacing just like every other eco friendly product

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 5:25pm

    global warming

    I've read somewhere here a comment somewhat like this: "Why accelerate it? If we can postpone it 400 years then let's do that."

    If we really are accelerating the process and it's going to get much warmer in 40 years, then doesn't it stand to reason that we're also accelerating it's effects?

    Why stand the four hundred years of heat when we can keep doing what we are and cut that time in half? Sure it will come sooner but if the earth keeps to the constant climate change it's been on, then we're not really making any real difference, just time.

    I also remember quite a few climatologists that believe global warming is a hoax, and if you haven't heard of them, you are only hearing about the ones that believe the way the media and all the hippy (or left wing) nut-jobs approve of. Take into account the media and political bias that most of the US is under at the moment, and tell me you consistently hear both sides of all stories.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 6:44pm

    "I also remember quite a few climatologists that believe global warming is a hoax"

    There was also quite a few Nazi's who believed a dead jew was a good one. I don't think that just because you have a group of paid-off science jerks lying through their teeth to support a political agenda that you can just nod your head like a sheeple. Life requires more action than following the lemmings off the cliff.

    "and if you haven't heard of them, you are only hearing about the ones that believe the way the media and all the hippy (or left wing) nut-jobs approve of"

    Oh yes, lets once again reduce this to a political pissing contest!

    "Take into account the media and political bias that most of the US is under at the moment, and tell me you consistently hear both sides of all stories"

    What is this tripe? You get your scientific facts from the NEWS!? You must be frigging insane! Why not try reading some REAL scientific articles about the situation.

    Then again, that would require effort and you just want to sit there and nod your head....

     

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    Charles Griswold, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 6:51pm

    If you really want to help the environment . . .

    If you want to help the environment, reducing your energy usage, recycling, etc. are all good starts. If you're really serious about it, though, the single biggest thing you can do to help is very simple. Become a vegan. I myself am not a total vegan, but I am (for health reasons) moving in that direction.

    IMHO, anyone who proclaims themself to be an environmentalist and isn't a vegan is either uninformed or a hypocrite.

    Learn more. Make a difference.

     

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    name, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 10:17am

    wow

    glad i could help spark some life into this discussion.


    we are all screwed anyways so who cares?

     

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    rcyran, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 11:27am

    "The government wants to mandate usage of more efficient bulbs in lights"

    Govts mandate things all the time, some good, some bad.

    Mandated elementary education was somewhat unpopular at first. So was mandated desegration of universities, vaccinations (and still are unpopular among some numbnuts who don't understand herd immunity), the clean air act and giving the vote to people who didn't own land.

    It's about time the government forces us to do some easy things to cut back on energy use that we are too lazy to do ourselves.

     

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    bob, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:55am

    bob

    bob says that you have too many comments

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    bob, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:55am

    bob

    bob says that you have too many comments

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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