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City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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The quietly approaching deadline

Some unscientific surveys have shown that some 2/3 of people are completely unaware that, after December 31 of this year, they will no longer be able to purchase 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.

Over the next two years, incandescents 40 watts and greater will be phased out, as well.

Philips Lighting – Understanding the new Federal Energy Efficiency Legislation

Energy Savers – New Lighting Standards Begin in 2012 (notice how the “inefficient traditional” bulbs “give way” to “choices”… the choices have been available for some time now, it’s just that now, they are removing one… but they have to make it sound good, like they are helping you)

This is supposedly being done in the interest of saving energy and, by extension, the environment.  However, the bulbs we are supposed to replace incandescents with simply cannot compete with the modern Edison bulb.

One option, compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, gives off cold light that tires my eyes and doesn’t light as effectively as incandescents.  They do not last nearly as long as they say they do (I never had one last anywhere near as long as an incandescent).  In addition, proper disposal of them is not easy, as they contain small amounts of mercury, a highly toxic metal.  Throwing them in the trash is actually a felony, if I recall correctly, so you are supposed to find a place to recycle them.  And if one breaks in your house, the mercury immediately escapes as a toxic vapor.  You are supposed to immediately evacuate the house for 15 minutes, and then somehow clean the mercury out of the house.  I’m not sure how you are supposed to do this, when you can’t see where it landed.

Another option is LED bulbs.  These are very expensive, and are being touted as the safe alternative to mercury-laden CFLs.  How interesting to learn, then, that they contain lead, nickel, arsenic, copper, and other ingredients that can be toxic — enough that, though they are not currently required to have special disposal instructions, researchers suggest similar handling to CFLs.  Now, we certainly do have small LEDs all around us in our everyday lives, but replacing incandescent light bulbs with them would increase that amount exponentially.  And these LEDs get so warm, they have to have heat dissipators, whether finned heat sinks or fans, to keep them cool enough not to fail.  Does the heat of the bulb cause toxins to be given off into the air?  I don’t know.

Another consideration is this:

These bulbs are supposed to save energy.  However, I seriously doubt they actually do.  Oh, I’m sure they do on the consumer side.  But how much energy does it take to make these things?  Incandescents are easy to make.  I’ll bet it takes way more energy to make a 100-watt equivalent CFL or LED light bulb.  These things are way more complex.  The LED ones even have circuit boards in them.  Are we really saving energy?  I don’t think so.  This isn’t about saving energy or the planet.  It’s about governmental control over the minutia of our lives.

My mother has macular degeneration.  She needs strong light.  We don’t have 100s all over the house, but we do have them in a few key places.  I have been buying boxes and boxes of 100s while I still can.

This is part of my collection of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. The bulbs I have stored should be enough to last for many, many years. By the time the last one burns out, hopefully, this nation will have returned to sanity. The Sunbeams are 130-volt bulbs. They will burn slightly less brightly on the typical American 120-volt house service, but can take more energy fluctuation without burning out than 120-volt bulbs, which are in the majority.

I have been buying my incandescents at the Dollar Tree.  A box of four is $1, which is the best price by far that I have found!  I’ll be making a couple more trips there to buy 100s before the end of the year.  After that, I’ll be stocking up on 75s and 60s before they meet their phaseout date.

Correction, sort of… well, not really – okay, I found an old article.  You’ll be able to buy incandescent bulbs, but they’ll have to be “energy efficient” ones.  As far as I know, the odd-wattage bulbs I see in the store now are still the same bulbs, just reduced in wattage slightly.  Not enough to comply with the new standards.  So, in order to meet continuing demand for incandescent light,  but still comply with the new laws, researchers have been trying to increase the efficiency of incandescent bulbs.  Okay… that’s fine if it works out, but as far as I can tell, there’s not a lot out there on the subject.  This article is well over two years old:  Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge.

Right now, for the sake of our health, our eyes, and my mom’s limited vision, I’m sticking with what I know already.  If all these new bulbs were so great, they wouldn’t have to force us to use them.

UPDATE 12-1-11:

Mercury from CFLs causing an “acute” situation in Sweden, state of emergency declared:
http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.svd.se%2Fnyheter%2Finrikes%2Flena-ek-situationen-ar-akut_6651732.svd&act=url

Rugged 100W bulbs will still be available after 2011… for a while, anyway:
http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/12/letter_re_an_exception_to_the.html

By 2020, the efficiency standards tighten the noose around all current incandescents, as well as their “energy efficient incandescent” replacements, and even the “efficient halogen” replacements that have recently come out. What is banned and when:
http://ceolas.net/#li01inx
(This comes up at the middle of the page for a chart. Once you look at the chart and its notes, scroll up and read the whole, long, eye-opening, infuriating page. Make sure you have time and snacks. You will be enlightened… I really didn’t intend that pun, but there it is.)

 

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22 Responses to “The quietly approaching deadline”

  1. dumansark says:

    I am glad I read your post – I have been buying mine at Walmart to stock up and they ARE more expensive than the $ Tree – I will be checking ours out to see if ours carries the 4pack of bulbs. Great article!

    Nicole
    DumansArk.Etsy.com ~Art, Jewelry, and Gifts for the Pet Keeper~
    http://www.DumansArk.com

    • Miss M says:

      Thank you, Nicole! I hope you are able to find them at your Dollar Tree!

      You know, the Walmart here doesn’t even seem to carry incandescent light bulbs in normal wattages any more. Maybe it’s just the GE bulbs. I don’t remember. But all I saw were the lowered wattages — you know, the 62s, the 90s… I don’t even remember what they are. That was the last time I looked at Walmart for bulbs. I discovered them at Dollar Tree by accident!

  2. Miss M says:

    Mercury from CFLs causing an “acute” situation in Sweden, state of emergency declared:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.svd.se%2Fnyheter%2Finrikes%2Flena-ek-situationen-ar-akut_6651732.svd&act=url

    Rugged 100W bulbs will still be available after 2011… for a while, anyway:
    http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/12/letter_re_an_exception_to_the.html

    By 2020, the efficiency standards tighten the noose around all current incandescents, as well as their “energy efficient incandescent” replacements, and even the “efficient halogen” replacements that have recently come out. What is banned and when:
    http://ceolas.net/#li01inx
    (This comes up at the middle of the page for a chart. Once you look at the chart and its notes, scroll up and read the whole, long, eye-opening, infuriating page. Make sure you have time and snacks. You will be enlightened… I really didn’t intend that pun, but there it is.)

    • peter says:

      Thanks Miss M… I think :-)

      That’s updated and should be easier to read
      (yes, it’s deliberately all in one place)

      Otherwise see
      http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/2011/12/after-funding-amendment-clear_18.html

      The 2012 US sale of regular 100W incandescents was never banned.
      Only the manufacture and import.
      Since stores are stocking up, the Republican amendment you may have heard of will not change things for consumers short term.

      But the amendment was not pointless:
      It was all they could do in a Democrat controlled Senate,
      and it means Congressmen are forced to look again at the whole issue in election year 2012.

      Long term is a different story:
      incandescent technology for ordinary lamps will effectively be banned, on the mandated 45 lumen per Watt end regulation standard, as linked from the above.

      • peter says:

        ps good luck with the rabbits… ah the beautiful furry creatures ;-)

      • Miss M says:

        Thank you, Peter, for visiting my humble little blog! I guess your host let you know you had been linked to. :)

        Thank you for the clarification. So we’ll be able to buy the regular 100W bulbs as long as stores have them in stock, but no more will be manufactured. I don’t know how long the stocks will last. I’ve been to Dollar Tree several times since this post, and come away with only two more boxes. I guess I will have to start buying them elsewhere. Though the Sunbeams are 130V, so “ruggedized”, so they should still make those.

        I appreciate the amendment, but the bill it was attached to is an atrocity.

        • peter says:

          humble little blog miss m… a lot better put together than mine (not too hard that, admittedly!)
          I saw rabbit talk among blog visitors so it had to be investigated of course :-)
          yes best stock up, while they are still cheap too…
          (bulbs I mean, not rabbits, though maybe that’s also true)

          • Miss M says:

            I’m up to 44 boxes of 100s and a partial. I’ll probably still get more when I have the chance, especially the 130V ones. The 120V 100W bulbs may be all gone by now.

            Good idea to stock up on rabbits, Peter… you should start yourself a backyard rabbitry. Have you checked out the meat prices at the store lately? Atrocious!

            (Hope you see this, it took me way too long to reply!)

          • peter says:

            (replying to last Miss M comment)
            long time since eaten rabbit…remember I liked it though

            As I guess you might be using some specialty bulbs
            maybe you saw I updated the http://ceolas.net/#li01inx link

            `(i) The term ‘general service incandescent lamp’ means a standard incandescent or halogen type lamp that—
            `(I) is intended for general service applications;
            `(II) has a medium screw base;
            `(III) has a lumen range of not less than 310 lumens and not more than 2,600 lumens; and
            `(IV) is capable of being operated at a voltage range at least partially within 110 and 130 volts.

            So from (I) and (II) smaller chandelier “candle” or “flame” shaped lighting, fridge lighting, small christmas lighting etc excluded,
            and from (III) 25W and less and 150-200W regular incandescent bulbs in principle excluded, though ultimately dependent on lumen rating – and 150W+ (2,601-3,300 lumen) bulb sales will be monitored, such that if exceeeding 100% yearly sales increase, a 95W maximum is imposed for the 2,601-3,300 lumen range, and those bulbs may then only may be sold in 1 bulb packages -yes that’s right, they even define that! Presumably buy 20 times for 20 bulbs (“packaging sustainability”, not).

            List of further exceptions:
            Appliance lamps, Black light lamps, Bug lamps, Colored lamps, Infrared lamps, Left-hand thread lamps, Marine lamps, Marine’s signal service lamps, Mine service lamps, Plant light lamps, Reflector lamps, Rough service lamps, Shatter-resistant lamps (including shatter-proof and shatter-protected), Sign service lamps, Silver bowl lamps, Showcase lamps, 3-way incandescent lamps, Traffic signal lamps, Vibration service lamps, G shape lamps with a diameter of 5” or more, T shape lamps that use no more than 40W or are longer than 10”, and all B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G-25, G-30, M-14, or S lamps of 40W or less.
            (whatever those lamps are… ;-))

          • Miss M says:

            Oh, wow, you’re subscribed to this post! I didn’t know if anybody would actually use that feature! I’m so excited… A little over a year ago, when I started this blog, I didn’t know if anybody would ever read it!

            (It doesn’t take much to make me happy.)

            After reading your updates, and some of the posts you link to, I am just — I don’t know how to put it — angry (yeah, I know, I just said I was happy), mind-boggled, I don’t know. Wow. I mean, just how many layers of stupid can you paint onto one law?!?

            They ban bulbs based on wattage, and then enforce the ban based on brightness? What? http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/2012/01/usa-regulation-absurdity-dim-100w-bulbs.html

            And from “(IV) is capable of being operated at a voltage range at least partially within 110 and 130 volts”, I take it that my 100W 130V bulbs don’t survive the cut after all.

            I can hardly wait to see what assortment of light bulbs I get to choose from in 2020, when this ban is complete. It’ll be interesting to watch what they stick on the chopping block at that point… you know they will, and the law actually specifically provides for it! How considerate.

            Time to go see if I can find some more light bulbs. Grrrrrrrrr…

            Thank you for keeping your page updated on this issue. It ought to be criminal for them to write laws that are worded such that it takes years to get full clarity on it… if clarity is even possible.

          • peter says:

            Miss M,
            I look forward to a future invitation to the Rabbit Ranch Family to enjoy some fine rabbit stew…. in candlelight, what else (as in, what choice anyway ;-))
            I’ll bring the wine.

          • Miss M says:

            You have a standing invitation, Peter. Thankfully, we have plenty of candles.

            By the way, I saw that you consider smart meters to be a good thing. I see them as intrusive and vulnerable. Have you considered the negatives?

          • peter says:

            Re You have a standing invitation, Peter
            Did I not say thank you? Where are my manners?!

      • peter says:

        smart meters… yes I just took them up on the energy saving issue,
        it helps power companies in the sense of overall saving,
        and in allocating resources and so on,
        but of course the individual freedom loss of being monitored by the
        some authority should not be forgotten… including the possible abuse, eg some power company guy passing on info to Robber Jack that “Hey, nobody seems at home there this last week, on 453 Philadelphia Avenue!”…

        • Miss M says:

          Smart meters are also vulnerable to hacking. People who like taking things like that apart and fiddling with them are shaking their heads at just how poorly secured they are.

          Many people who have had their meters changed to smart meters have reported their bills skyrocketing. They can find no good reason for the increase. Granted, some people say the meter saves them money, but a disturbing number have huge jumps in their bills.

          • peter says:

            Hacking… rise in bills…did not realize that
            Though i did read somewhere that they themselves draw more energy,
            and possibly measure energy use in a different way.

            After all:
            The ordinary meters underestimate the actual energy usage of most CFLs – by half! (There are a few”balanced” CFLs, but they cost much more, and are rarely sold to residences)
            Of course people have to pay for that too, eventually.

            Just another con behind the light bulb regulations.
            It’s all about “power factor” (PF) and phase differences
            http://ceolas.net/#li15eux
            As seen with references, incl Dept of Energy and Osram/Sylvania manufacturer = who freely ADMITS that the energy usage at the power plant from the CFLs is twice that shown by the local traditional meter.
            Incidentally, LEDs are also unbalanced, without costing more for correction.
            Incandescents have PF of 1 and so use energy like it says on the tin.

          • peter says:

            More about the many deceptions that are used to justify light bulb regulations
            http://freedomlightbulb.blogspot.com/2011/11/deception-behind-ban.html

          • Miss M says:

            You have done so much research, and so many are benefiting from your hard work, I am sure! I think when I get a few spare seconds to rub together, I’ll update my blogroll and put you in there. This info needs to be available.

            You can find some information about the downsides of smart meters at http://stopsmartmeters.org among other places. Much of the info there is subjective (and somewhat sensationalized), but that appears to be because so little is known about them. It appears they haven’t even been sufficiently tested.

            One guy’s experience looking into the innards of a smart meter: http://rdist.root.org/2010/02/15/reverse-engineering-a-smart-meter

        • peter says:

          thanks miss m!
          yes, noticing the conclusion in that reverse engineering article, basically =
          “Remote reading ok…but not remote control with it”
          the power to just turn off whole streetblocks, by a hacker,
          as well as privacy and surveillance aspects…

          • Miss M says:

            You’re welcome! :) Hopefully, I’ll get it up there in the next few days.

            It is pretty disturbing that we are installing these things far and wide, and they have so little security. It’s as if it doesn’t occur to them that someone might try to gain control over it. Experience has shown that if control can be gained over something, people will be in line to do it.

            I was a bit disturbed by the fire pictures, as well. Yikes.

  3. Brad Buscher says:

    As this article states, CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury. While it may not be high in quantity, it is still important for consumers to realize that they require special handling. The mercury vapor can be detrimental to handlers’ health—from those involved with handling new bulbs to people involved with storing, packaging and shipping used lamps. Mercury vapor, which can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, can cause neurological damage, and when it gets into water, it can enter the food chain through fish. Read more about the dangers of mercury exposure here: http://vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/preventing-health-and-safety-hazards.html.

    If a bulb is broken or burns out, it should be properly cleaned up and recycled—it should not be disposed of in landfills. To reduce the risk for mercury vapor exposure, CFLs and fluorescent lamps should be safely handled, stored and transported to recycling facilities in a package that is proven to effectively contain hazardous mercury vapor. Find out more about how to minimize environmental risks and safely package CFLs here: http://vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/layers-of-protection-packaging-used.html
    If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here: http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html

    • Miss M says:

      If anybody finds themselves tempted to buy a CFL, please go to this man’s blog, and take a thorough look around. It should cure you.