stories filed under: "environment"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 26th 2007 10:29am
Earlier this month, we pointed out that Ireland had joined Australia in setting a date for banning incandescent lightbulbs. There had been talk about the US following suit, and now it (almost) has, approving legislation that would phase out inefficient bulbs by 2012, such as the incandescents that most people still use. Once again, though, we have to point out how counterproductive a move like this seems. Already, more and more people were moving to more efficient bulbs naturally, as they realized how much money they actually saved with them. For those who complained about the type of light given off by the fluorescents, that just gave more incentives for the makers of CFLs to make the light better match incandescent bulbs. The competition also gave more incentives to make CFLs cheaper and even more efficient, as well as coming up with ways to make the (already seriously overhyped) worries about mercury, less of an issue. However, if politicians take away the competition from incandescents, it suddenly gives the makers of CFLs a lot less incentive to come up with these kinds of innovations and breakthroughs.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 11th 2007 8:55pm
from the it's-not-a-joke dept
American politicians have been toying with such legislation for a while, and Australian politicians have already approved similar legislation, but it appears that Irish politicians are in something of a rush to ban incandescent lightbulbs. New legislation would ban the sale of the traditional lightbulbs as of January 2009 -- basically just one year. The Australian plan, that was approved earlier this year, would phase out the bulbs by 2010. While we can understand the basic reasoning, it's still unclear why a full ban is really necessary. Fluorescent bulbs keep getting cheaper and cheaper (and better and better in quality) than incandescent bulbs. They last so much longer and use so much less energy that it won't be long until most people voluntarily move to fluorescents, without any unnecessary ban on incandescents.
Thu, Sep 13th 2007 11:23am
from the bright-idea dept
The environment continues to be a hot-button political issue, as it presents a chance for politicians to score some easy points with the public by mandating all sorts of new laws and restrictions to prove their green credentials. But this political grandstanding overshadows the fact that many green or clean technologies offer economic benefits to those who use them -- for instance, making facilities more energy-efficient isn't about companies just wanting to be nicer to the planet, it's about cost savings too. One example of this in the consumer realm is fluorescent lightbulbs. Despite their higher upfront cost, their longer life and lower power consumption offers substantial savings over traditional incandescent bulbs. Given these cost savings (as well as the ongoing improvement in the bulbs' quality and decrease in price), it would seem to be a matter of time before fluorescent bulbs will become more popular and they push incandescents out of the market. But that hasn't stopped politicians from all over to push for laws banning or phasing out incandescent bulbs, and it now appears that the US Congress will add such legislation to a wide-ranging energy bill that's expected to be voted on in October. The legislation would begin phasing out incandescents in 2012, and then by 2020, would call for lighting standards that could be met only by compact fluorescent bulbs or ones with equivalent efficiency. Lighting manufacturers aren't happy with the timetable, saying it's too quick, and add that they're exploring several different technologies to improve the efficiency of lighting, including more efficient incandescent bulbs, new types of halogen lamps and LEDs. It would certainly seem that the market will sort this issue out on its own, as technology improves and more consumers become aware of the cost savings that fluorescents and other types of bulbs can offer. But it would also seem that the brownie points on offer are too hard to refuse for politicians who want to make it look like they're making a difference to the environment.