12 February 2007

Bright ideas

Welcome to a new segment to the blog. Ignoring the Family Guy copyrights for the moment, this section - What really grinds my gears - is the true impetus behind his blog. For those of you who know me, I tend to get really work up over the mundane and pedantic. Does this mean I am actually flustered? Most of the time, no. It is just my overly exuberant personality on overdrive. With this in mind, let the rant begin.

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Can someone please explain to me why the people at General Electric are still wasting their time manufacturing incandescent light bulbs? I mean, come on. The compact fluorescent light bulb was brought to market in the 1980s, but with increased marketing and improved technology, has only really made an impact since the mid to late 1990s. The very appearance of the compact fluorescent light bulb should have signaled the end of Edison's invention. The compact fluorescent light bulb has somehow managed to live on despite its gross inefficiency and lack of sex appeal (honestly, you know I'm right on that one too).

Just to be completely clear, when I say compact fluorescent light bulbs, I'm referring to these lights bulbs:


The energy saving light bulb, as some of you may know it, creates energy in the form of an electrical current from the ballast that flows through the gas, causing it to emit ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light then excites a white phosphor coating on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light. Compared to the incandescent light bulb (ILB), the compact bulb (CFL) performs as follows:

CFL = 8000 hours
ILB = 500-2000 hours

Furthermore, in terms of power, here is another comparison:

CFL = 15 Watts
ILB = 60 Watts

So in terms of both lifespan and power, the CFL is about 4 times for efficient. How does this translate to cost? We will assume 8 cents per hour for electrical rates. This number is meaningless, since it would a constant in either equation. Moreover, in the equation below, it would take 1 CFL to make 8000 hours, whereas you would need at least 4 ILBs. So -

ILB = 75 W x 8000 HR x [$0.08/ (1000 W * hr)] = $48.00

CFL = 20 W x 8000 HR x [$0.08/(1000 W * hr)] = $12.80

So are you one of the freakin' eejits who is still buying ILBs? You may be phasing them out, which is great. But this is really what grinds my gears. WHY DO MANUFACTURERS STILL MAKE THESE PIECES OF SHIT? You know why? Because they can make more money from the. Incandescent bulbs are currently cheaper to buy. So, morons with one-dimensional brains only see the price in front of them. They don't see the fact that buying 6 light bulbs at 99 cents is more expensive than buying one at $2.99. They also don't see the savings in their electrical bills when they are standing in line at the store. All they see is the fact that the ILB is cheaper than the funny looking spiral ones. What a bunch of absolute duds. The light is not on upstairs, if you'll pardon the pun.

Of course, this is why legislators should ban the manufacturing of ILBs. I'm not joking. Make it illegal to buy these things, and people will switch over pretty darn fast. Not only that, manufacturers will be able to sell the CFL bulbs at cheaper prices by achieving economies of scale and by limiting the market to superior products. What a bright idea!


Anonymous said...

Hey nerd! Of all things that grind your gears you choose to open up with light bulbs?!? Two words: peanut allergy!

Moving forward though, I wouldn't hold your breath on the outlawing of more environmentally unfriendly/inefficient lightbulbs. You'll remember that such policies are usually handed down by the government which by the way is run by a group of ineffiecient dim wits.

Anonymous said...

Second thought... you should also comment on your love of royalty... just a thought...

p.s. I want some damn sport musings... remind me why i'm paying this bloody subscription fee if i'm not getting what I want?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Hey Rich. You make some extremely valid points, however, I have to say that I do not buy the squiggly light bulbs. Yes, I attempted to do my part, and tried them, and I hate them. I hate white almost-fluorescent light. I live with it all day at work, I lived with it growing up, and I hate it. I like nice, cozy yellow light when I get home at the end of the day. Give me a squiggly bulb that gives off cozy yellow light, and I'll buy it. Until then, I'll use my inefficient light bulb for the 3 hours a day that I have a couple of lights on in my house. Sorry, but guess you have to blame me for the energy crisis. :) Ali

Anonymous said...

I agrees with ali, I take a serious approach in what concerns the lighting in my house, them newfangled bulbs don't cut it. My like the yellowy old bulbs +
in fact I feel that along with Shang tsung, fluorescent lights are responsible for theft of hundreds of Seouls in industrialized society

Anonymous said...

Yes you do make valid points about the floresent lightbulbs! I do actually enjoy the bright floresent bulbs as opposted to the more "dim" lighting, however it really depends of what area you are talking about lighting. Of course there are a variety of moods you could be trying to get with lighting and sometimes lighting is more of as asthetic pleaser rather than a pratical fact. With all this said, I actually cant' believe that I have found a spare second to comment on lightbulbs...lol But, indeed I have. Thanks for the compliment on the pic, but by the way, you look good in that pic too. Cheers :) Vee

Anonymous said...

Cudos Richard.
As for the two entries (one by an anonymous person....'nuff said) who vow never to switch to the highly superior CFL - get over it!
In order to make our planet healthier and more efficient for the generations to come we are all going to have to give up something. Including your "cozy yellow light".
Welcome to the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Rich, I have a question... Is it true that you can't use the compact bulbs with dimmer switches? We put good bulbs in all the places we could, but in the living room and bedroom the ceiling lights have dimmers, and the bulbs say you can't use them. Is this bull? hmm... We also have one of those lamps that needs a 3-way 30-70-100 watt bulb, and until they make compact bulbs for those we're stuck with incandescent. bah!

p.s. our compact bulbs do emit yellowy light. We got them at Ikea.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for getting us to think about this and do some research! I just googled "3-way switch compact fluorescent" to find out that they DO manufacture these bulbs to use with 3-way switches and dimmer switches. hooray! I'm off to the store to stock up!

Anonymous said...

Hey Rich-nice blog you got here. I know this is an old post, but i just wanted to leave a comment on this issue since i do try to use the CFL bulbs and i do live down under.

The problem with these bulbs (besides that the high costs hurts the pocket of a struggling med student) is that they need to be recycled because of the toxic mercury they contain. However, people don't always recycle them and they end up polluting our earth to a tune of 30,000 pounds of mercury per year in the US alone.

So be careful not to break one in your house!!!

Anonymous said...

The CFL come in two types. they actually have a yellowish and a white one. i have two yellowish and a white in my room and i love it cause its alot brighter. They save money and power. If the government and the companies didn't need money we wouldn't have anymore oldy ones. Please recycle! Take shorter showers! Dont litter. stop using hairspray and airfresheners with chemicals that destroy the environment's ozone layer! u want skin cancer? i didnt think so. Stop Global waring

-green girl

p.s. the environment rox!

Anonymous said...

u vent crazy dude ;) *wink wink* ahahahahah woooo

Anonymous said...

Mabye the toxic mercury gas is a detterent to some consumers.

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