Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Flick Off Incandescent Bulbs

As usual, Richard Branson knows how to grab everyone's attention. And the Liberal Ontario government paid him half a million to ride along on that flicking train. The Environment Minister, of course, is all innocence over the logo and Branson's slogan "Flick Off." It's just a way to get young people (you know, the ones always behind the older folks on environmental trends) to start turning the lights off in order to save energy so that Toronto Hydro can charge us more per kW to make up the even greater shortfall in their revenues. Meanwhile the Conservatives had to look up "flick off" in the Urban Dictionary to learn what it meant, and they're suitably outraged at both its meaning and Branson's rather ingenious logo. The media got in the act and showed the logo round to regular folks on the street and got their requisite giggles.

Meanwhile the Conservatives in Ottawa have followed the Ontario Liberals and will ban incandescent bulbs by 2012. Fortunately, GE is developing an incandescent bulb that will be as efficient as a CFL (that's the flourescent light bulb not the football league) and will be available in 2011. My fear is that these governments will ignore the efficiency and ban that one too, just so they can say we're banning the big bad energy wolf from the door.

Now don't get me wrong, I've been flicking off for as long as I can remember, causing numerous complaints from certain family members that they can't see, and I've also bought CFLs and put them in every hard-to-reach fixture plus some. I even turned them on in the store to check for light colour and brightness before I chose which ones to buy. But I find I just can't stand the light from these bulbs, especially when I have a migraine or am even in a little pain. (I'm just speculating here, but I think CFLs flicker at very high frequencies, which my eyes pick up on. LEDs and incandescents "look" different to me.) And since pain is my life partner, it gets a bit difficult in rooms where a CFL is the only source of light. My energy bill is happy though -- until Hydro dinged me for my conservation. However, I would be much happier with readily available LED alternatives to CFLs and that highly efficient incandescent bulb GE is working on. After all, no CFL or LED in their current incarnations can replace the warmth and dimmability of an incandescent, particularly on a romantic night.

3 comments:

Martin said...

I agree. The move is a good one however they need to make allowances for newer technology. I think the ban should be based on energy used rather than the type of bulb. It also appears that the federal government is going to follow suit with the same kind of legislation.
http://martin.eclecticblogs.ca/2007/04/do_your_part_earth_day.html

talk talk talk said...

Having a ban based on energy use rather than type makes eminent sense.

Good info in your post! I couldn't put CFLs in all my fixtures, some wouldn't take them, being antiques, and some for reasons I couldn't fathom. But the best reduction I ever got in my energy bill was by switching off lights of whatever type, unplugging those big transformers when not in use, and shutting down the computer when not in use.

Bill said...

I was all for the incandescent bulb ban until my uncle pointed out that without a plan to lower the cost of flourescent bulbs the poor end up bearing a heavier load as the conversion takes up more of their limited disposable income immediately, even if it will save them money in the long run. If a 4 pack of incandescents costs a buck at a dollar store and one energy saving flourescent costs $10.00, on a weekly income of $200 are you going to spend 5% of your weeks income on bulbs?