With pending ban, people hoard light bulbs
Sales of 100-watt incandescents have spiked before new energy-efficiency standards take effect on Jan. 1.
This post comes from Anne Kadet at partner site SmartMoney.
Karen Beseth is all about energy conservation. She shuts off the lights when leaving the room and sets the thermostat at 67 degrees through her small town's blustery winters. But there's one concession the DeWitt, N.Y., insurance consultant won't make -- she loves her incandescent light bulbs.
No surprise then that in advance of the federal phaseout of traditional bulbs starting Jan. 1, she's stocking up. Her garage and basement shelves are filled with 100-watt four-packs. "There's just some things we put our foot down on," she says.
Polls show that many Americans aren't even aware of the pending ban, but 13% say they are hoarding to prepare for a time when the 134-year-old technology joins heroin and sea-turtle meat in the banned-products pantheon. Home Depot, which supplies nearly a third of the bulbs that plug into the nation's 4 billion light sockets, says that as 2011 draws to a close, incandescent sales have jumped.
House Republicans succeeded in eliminating funding for enforcement of the new efficiency standards from the Department of Energy's budget last week. However, major makers of light bulbs have already made the switch. Also, to be clear, the new standards don't ban incandescent bulbs, but require that they be more efficient.
Experts like Bill Hamilton, Home Depot's merchandising VP for electrical, say alternatives to old-style incandescents have vastly improved -- light quality is up, and prices are falling fast. But not everyone's convinced. Post continues below.
I just tried replacing the incandescent bulb on my nightstand lamp, and the results weren't pretty. The $3.50 halogen bulb was decent, but halogens don't save many watts. LEDs use 80% less energy, but the $40 bulb was dim and the angular device looked clunky in my lamp. The real shocker was the $6.50 compact fluorescent. Its thin, cold glow gave my bedroom the look and feel of a state-run psych ward (don't ask me how I know this). Even my dog looked sickly.
Of course, for many folks, the objection to the bulb ban goes beyond aesthetics. Bulbs.com CEO Mike Connors says most of his business clients, like hotels, happily embraced the new technology -- they love the savings. The hoarders are often consumers with a political agenda: They don't like the government dictating choices. "There's a combative feeling," he says.
In the House of Representatives, some Republicans are still hoping to see the ban repealed. And in Texas, the state legislature passed a bill declaring it legal to manufacture and sell incandescent bulbs within state lines -- never mind the fact that there's not a single bulb factory in Texas. "Everyone loves it," says a spokesperson for George Lavender, the representative who wrote the bill.
This is hardly the first product ban to meet resistance. The Department of Energy recently cracked down on showerhead makers that were circumventing water-flow restrictions with multiple-head systems. On eBay, opportunists sell used '60s-era toilets that offer a "big flush" -- for $700.
John Maly, a Colorado intellectual property strategist who uses a high-flush toilet imported from Calgary, Alberta, says he gets several hundred hits a day to his website, FreeExistence.org, which provides instructions on how to install your own commode and jimmy your showerhead to remove the regulator.
Of course, the light bulb ban could create new opportunities. In Europe, where the phaseout launched in 2009, retailers that stocked up are making out like bandits. LightBulbs Direct in the U.K. says demand is huge for its stash of 100- and 60-watt bulbs, which sell for about $1.50 -- a fat markup over the pre-ban price of 60 cents or so.
And in Germany, a genius entrepreneur concocted the ultimate work-around. He's marketing his bulbs as miniature space heaters. Billed as "the best invention since the light bulb," his "heatballs" sell for about $2.30. Who says government regulation stifles creativity?
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While some are standing by the new light bulbs, they should start reading up on them. The green peace idiots have no idea what they are creating. Fluorescent light bulbs are more efficient energetically but they don't share the advantages of the incandescent light bulbs. Photographs taken under these light bulbs don't look great. Moreover, they use mercury and mercury is a poison that pollutes unpredictable places of the environment. The mercury from one fluorescent light bulb can pollutes, according to some scientific communities 6000 gallons of water beyond levels safe for drinking. In 43 U.S. states, it is legal to dispose fluorescent bulbs as universal waste. Which means all you save the planet freaks are doing just the opposite and don't even know it. If you think Fluorescent light bulbs are good, be careful what you wish for. You are probably making the environment worse.
the manufacturing ban is stupid. I can only guess it was submitted by a congressman who has stock in CFL producers, or is getting money from a CFL lobbyist, or is getting porkbarrel money
Do CFLs work in closed fixtures? no
Do CFLs work outside in 5 degree weather? no
Can you find a candelabra-based dimmable CFL? no
To remove incandescent lights, I would have to replace half the fixtures in my house - the switch would cost me about $7000.
And, CFLs have about 1.5 times the life of incandescent, no more than that.
And their rating is abused - a "60 watt equivalent" CFL only produces about 85% of the light of a 60watt incandescent. So, to get what you know as 60 watts of light you have to get a "75 watt replacement " CFL.
The stupid thing about these worthless lightbulbs is not so much the crappy light they give off, but the fact that not one of them is manufactured in the U.S.
Way to go dems, lets build a better economy by FORCING! Americans to purchase foreign products.
It was deemed extremely important by the government that in the middle of a recession, an environmentally safe product made in the USA would have to be banned and factories here shuttered so a mercury filled and inferior product made in China could be required instead.
The mercury bulbs burn out as fast as conventional ones for me, at least in my fixtures, and they are more expensive and full of percury. One popped in a room I was in a couple years back and I had trouble breathing for two days. The worst thing is the possibility they will make their way into schools or homes with kids. Read the instructions on how do dispose of one sometime, it's like a bomb disposal manual. I, like most people, can't find a mercury disposal center so wrap them in plastic newspaper bags and toss in trash. It isn't like the government has made any effort to get proper facilities to deal with them set anyway. But hey, Americans get thrown out of work & more jobs and money go to China, that's the important thing for the "Party of the Blue Collar Worker" and the "Party of the Little Guy."
It is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard of, and
bow this just take the cake! I have several VERY old ( going back to the 20's ) lamp fixtures that have shades that actually attach to the light bulb itself. The biggest problen with the curly bulb is just this; yes they save SOME mony on usage but noone has yet been able to determine the best way to dispose of them as they contain mercury, and we all know the damage mercury can do!
Why is it we have to have it just one way! For the people that think these new bulbs will save the planet use them, for the others that don't think it makes a dimes worth of difference, let us use the old bulbs. If they cost us more money to use, the last I heard it’s ours to spend any way we like. It seems that everything has to be the environmentalist’s way without regard to the 90% that don't think it really matters. I don’t care who signed the bill, it should be repealed. If someone invents a better light bulb that uses less energy and is as good as an incandescent bulb, people will not have a problem using them, but until that day comes, we should be free to use the light bulb we prefer.
"This post comes from Anne Kadet at partner site Smart Money" on Mon, Dec 19, 2011. Maybe they should check facts before writing. The ban doesn't start Jan. 1st. It was pushed back until later in the year while they talk about a possible repeal of the ban. And I say it's a good thing too. I for one am tired of being force fed government regulations on everything and told what I can and can't buy. Also at a time when we need to be saving jobs this ban will be destroying good paying jobs because some bulbs are made here in the USA. (I work at a GE plant).
Personally I prefer to use a mix of bulbs - fluorescent for lights that stay on for a long time, and incandescent for lights that need a quick fire up and are on for a short time. Without incandescent, I'll have to deal with dim lighting because of some hippy nonsense. And I'm not paying 30 dollars for an led bulb either.
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