If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Light Bulb Testimonial



Having done one review of a book that welcomes the demise of Edison's simple bulb, a blog like this might balance it with something that does not...
also in these holiday times when a good read might be welcome!

Published last summer 2011,
the latest December Congress developments may have halted things at "Death Row" level, but of course the ban has not gone away...

To begin with,
it should be clear that this cheap e-book, only around US $2 dollars (say on Amazon) is really about 2 lengthy essays or articles, than a book as such.
But for the price of a Cappucino, you certainly get good value, by 2 knowledgeable authors.

I can't better the overall review of the Broadside Book Publisher site:
I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial demonstrates how the American economy has gone from free markets to politically correct, government controlled crony capitalism in the half century since Leonard E. Read wrote the classic essay, “I, Pencil.”

Author Michael Patrick Leahy tells the story of the ban on the current generation of incandescents from the perspective of a condemned 100 watt light bulb. In the voice of the light bulb, Leahy points out the need for political activism to reverse this ban, arguing that it not only prevents an innocent incandescent light bulb from continuing a useful economic life, it also deprives every American of their own economic liberty and freedom of choice.

Readers who buy I, Lightbulb will also receive the bonus companion e-book The Disastrous Lightbulb Ban by Howard Brandston, at no additional cost.

Brandston, the internationally recognized expert on lighting most well known for lighting the Statue of Liberty, explains why the federal government’s ban on the current generation of incandescent light bulbs is such a bad idea.
He explains how in 2007 a Democrat controlled Congress, the lamp manufacturers, the Department of Energy, and George W. Bush combined to force us to replace inexpensive and safe incandescent light bulbs with expensive, unsafe Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs that contain mercury. In this companion book to I, Light Bulb, Brandston concludes by encouraging citizen political activism to repeal this ridiculous ban.

The August 2011 Weekly Standard article by editor Joseph Bottum,
puts the issues raised in a wider perspective. Extracts:

It's Green and Blue, But Not Bright

The two essays in a new pamphlet in the "Voices of the Tea Party" series from Broadside Books — I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial by the editor Michael Patrick Leahy and The Disastrous Light Bulb Ban by Howard M. Brandston — both identify the primary cause as an activist and out-of-control government, manipulated by crony-capitalist corporations:
"If you want to find the ultimate roots of the movement... it all began when Herbert Hoover was named the Secretary of Commerce under Warren Harding, when he set about organizing manufacturers into cooperative industry organizations."

In this telling,
the otherwise forgotten 1924 "Phoebus Cartel" of light-bulb manufacturers looms large, but the story only really gets rolling with the oil crisis of the 1970s, when Congress decided energy policy lay squarely within its remit and began to pass laws mandating all kinds of usage standards for cars and factories.

In those days, of course, the announced purpose was American "energy independence" rather than our currently declared goal of reducing greenhouse gases.
But the real motives, say the Tea Party authors, were always the same: a mistrust of ordinary people and an insatiable hunger for increased government. All of which culminated when the 2007 Democrat-dominated Congress (led by Nancy Pelosi, Nanny of the House) set out to do something, anything, that expanded government power, changed the nation's lifestyle, and rewarded the large manufacturers such as General Electric that had supported the Democrats' election. An inattentive or uninterested President Bush signed the bill, and here we are.

But if it hadn't been incandescent bulbs, it would have been something else.
The truisms of the nannies, the trite expressions of public morality spraying from the religious weight of environmentalism, will not be denied. One way or another, they force themselves out into the public air.

Among Republicans, Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is under some attack for having sponsored the amendment that kept the light-bulb ban alive in the 2007 energy bill. George W. Bush is tarred with the same indictment for having failed to veto the bizarre legislation. But, really, those poor men were just trying to do the right thing. They accepted the faux-science of CFLs and the pseudo-economics because they wanted to believe. They wanted to share in the great public morality of environmentalism, and everyone seemed to be telling them that light bulbs were the way to do it.

In the event, light bulbs weren't the way to do it,
but that's really beside the point.

You want to know where the light-bulb ban began?
It wasn't Nancy Pelosi, and it wasn't Herbert Hoover, and it wasn't even the shadowy Phoebus Cartel, though all who do evil love the darkness.
The light-bulb ban was carried forward by the placards about towels in motel rooms. It was nursed at the local coffee shop, where we are lectured in high moral language about how only sustainable coffee beans — gathered, if the illustrations are accurate, on the misty slopes of Ytaiao Mountain by Rima the jungle girl — can redeem us. Saving the planet, one Starbucks at a time.

The demand for CFLs was inculcated at "Earth Day" plays,
in which grade-school children got to act out the roles of bunnies and butterflies who've come to warn us that we must be nice to the Earth
(As James Lileks once noted, those school plays typically end with "a hymn to nature that makes the Romantic poets look like strip-mining company CEOs.")
The desire to eradicate incandescent bulbs grew up with myths of the Cuyahoga River catching fire and the smog of Los Angeles rolling through the Hollywood Hills like malevolent mud.

The truth or falsity of such things is a trifle, a quibble, a bagatelle.
What matters is that they form our national mythology and our cultural worldview. They form our public religion — the one moral vocabulary that can be spoken in this country anywhere and anytime.

Of course, the result is the kind of general feeling that something must be done about it all, and if that something is rather pointless — the peculiar rush to legislate 1.6-gallon toilets is a good example — nonetheless we have shown a righteous will by trying. We have the guilt-release of a noble attempt. We have the warm feeling of being on the side of good.
We have asserted our standing as children of light, even if rather ineffectual ones. We have followed the sayings of nanny.

I also refer to some interesting passages of the e-book on the Ceolas.net site
in relation to the famous (infamous) Phoebus cartel.

To quote, from Michael Patrick Leahy's I, Lightbulb:

During World War I, the War Industries Board was a government-authorized, industry-staffed effort engaged in industrial planning. General Electric executives such as Gerard Swope participated:
By so doing, and by watching Hoover in action in the sister agency, the Food Administration, they got the idea that by participating in such government authorized planning efforts, they could keep out competitors, control the market, and maximize their profits.

When Swope was named president of General Electric in 1922, he immediately set about applying those principles to the electrical lighting market.
Swope knew that the tungsten patent [vital to well-working light bulbs] would expire in 1927.
How was he going to maintain his monopoly?

The Phoebus Cartel
In 1924, General Electric, along with several major European corporations,
and with the implicit blessing of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, formed a cartel - a cooperative group of competing firms who agreed to fix prices, share technology, establish production standards, and use common marketing practices.

By sharing incandescent light bulb patents that kept competitors out, and by agreeing on exclusive geographic spheres of influence, the member companies could maintain high market shares and high profits.
Called "The Phoebus Cartel" after the Swiss company Phoebus, they set out to keep track of all their activities around the world.

Under the agreement,
General Electric got the United States,
Associated Electrical Industries got the United Kingdom,
Osram got Germany,
Philips got Holland,
and Tungsram got Eastern Europe
The European companies got to share the British overseas territories, and they all could compete in the rest of the world. General Electric was guaranteed that none of the other major manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs would enter the American market.
When the agreement began, General Electric had a 90 percent market share.
When it ended fifteen years later, General Electric still had a 90 percent market share.

Only a few dozen small, scrappy Japanese manufacturing companies dared to enter the American market and take on General Electric:
They ignored General Electric and related Phoebus Cartel patents, copied what they could, and shipped their less expensive, shorter-lasting incandescent bulbs into the United States. When they began to show some increase in sales, General Electric got friends in Congress to slap a tariff on imported incandescent bulbs, and the price advantage disappeared. Japanese inroads were stopped.

When the cartel was first organized, the life span of the average bulb was 1,000 hours. Fifteen years later, when the cartel came to an end due to World War II, it remained the same.
This is not the kind of progress you would expect if the full engineering and research capabilities of General Electric had been tasked with expanding the life span. Word in our family has always been that this was intentional:
Every 1,000 hours, you had to buy a new incandescent light bulb. Why expand the life span to 2,000 hours? You would just cut your sales in half...

Howard Brandston's contribution The Disastrous Light Bulb Ban is again illuminating, if such words may be used, especially in my view his direct personal involvement in light bulb legislation, having been consulted not only in the proposals leading to the 2007 legislation but also more recently in the Senate hearing this year that looked into reasons or not to proceed with the ban ("phase out").

He clarifies how light bulb manufacturers actively sought the ban
(slightly edited and highlighted extracts):
The NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) Lamp Subcommittee was composed of General Electric, Osram Sylvania, and Philips, the same industrial giants who formed the old Phoebus Cartel back in 1924 and was conducting its own research and internal hearings that culminated in a recommendation to ban the incandescent light bulb.
When I asked NEMA for help in fighting the incandescent light ban, I was politely told that they could not be involved in any research program like that...
In April 2007, ahead of Congress hearings, NEMA announced its support for the Government's energy efficient lighting policy.

He also runs through reasons why the ban is wrong,
as I reference to on the website, and is unnecessary to repeat here.


Michael Patrick Leahy
biography, website, blog
As seen, an extensive background in business management and conservative politics.
Michael is currently the Series Editor for Broadside Books' "Voices of the Tea Party" series of e-books.
Also not idle on the light bulb front - helping to put out a rough service bulb that "beats the ban"!

Howard Brandston
biography, commentary, business
As seen well known lighting designer with numerous projects, also a guest lecturer, visiting professor, and as noted the Congress choice of expert opinion on lighting issues.

Has written a book Learning to See, A Matter of Light,
full description here...

As one reviewer puts it,
“This is a gem of a book. For the design beginner it sets the approach to discovery. For the lighting professional it gives insights that can inspire creativity. The teacher will find useful methods for involving students in lighting concepts. The interested person will gain a higher understanding of how light affects the quality of our lives.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Incandescent Jones...
and the Raiders of the Lost Arc Lamp


image  Otitis
"Light Bulb Hoarding means Water Boarding"

The sequel? Why, the Temple of Gloom, of course....

Becoming quite a theme, as seen...

image  David Dees
"Getting a Light Sentence?"

image  AdminGirl
"The Charge of the Light Brigade"


Friday, December 23, 2011

Comparing North America and EU bans


As seen from the recent overview of USA regulations, they are comparable to Canada, but not at all as strict as the EU regulations (regulations for different countries with official links http://ceolas.net/#li01inx).

The EU, then, has not only had an earlier ban, but included most varieties of incandescents, also banning all frosted types (Halogen or not) with immediate effect, on the justification that consumers "can buy the CFLs" if they want opaque bulbs.

There are 2 main reasons for the differences between North America and the EU.

the attitude to climate change a.k.a. global warming:
It should be remembered that reducing CO2 emissions was the original worldwide impetus to ban the bulbs, via Greenpeace and other vociferous campaigns around the turn of the century.
The emphasis on saving energy for society or money for consumers later gained ground to make the proposal more concretely attractive, also in view of a growing scepsis or fatigue regarding the climate change message.
That said, the EU Commission and Parliament - and European politicians in general - have remained strong backers of energy efficiency solutions to reduce CO2 emissions.

the comparably greater cooperation with manufacturers.
Even before the ban, imported CFLs were being tariff-reduced in special deals, and the EU Commission Ecodesign Committee (behind the ban proposals) had an extensive involvement with manufacturers, as covered on the website, from http://ceolas.net/#li12ax onwards, including http://ceolas.net/#euban.

In this regard, the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the EU compared to the USA should be remembered, the EU's own auditors have for the past decade refused to sign off on the accounts, and while for example the USA has open Congress hearings on this and other issues, the EU won't even say who is on the legislation proposing EcoDesign Committee, let alone inform about their meeting activities (I have consistently been refused information about the committee composition etc, one reason seemingly being so that the Committee is not "unduly influenced"... which is ironic of course, since they do liaise closely with manufacturers, as has emerged more and more)

A reason for taking this up here, is also because of interesting documentation that I have come across in the past couple of days, relating to EU manufacturer lobbying, more of which can be seen at http://ceolas.net/#postEUban

For example,

The Unholy Alliance between Philips and the Greens

Guest post by Dutch researchers Joost van Kasteren and Professor Henk Tennekes, on American Climate Scientist Roger Pielke's blog

Some extracts. my emphases:

An unholy alliance (discovered by Elsevier journalist Syp Wynia – see footnote) between a large multinational company and a multinational environmental organization succeeded in their lobby to phase out, and ultimately by 2012 forbid, the sale of incandescent bulbs, because of their low watt-to-lumen efficiency – not only in the Netherlands but in the whole of the European Union.

The multinational company wanted to develop a new market for products with a high profit margin, and the environmental multinational wanted to impress the citizens of Europe with the imminent catastrophe caused by anthropogenic climate change. That would also be of benefit to its battered public image.

Philips, the company involved, started in 1891 with the mass production of Edison lamps, at its home base, Eindhoven, Netherlands. There existed no international court of justice at the time, so they could infringe on US patent law with impunity. In the past 120 years it has expanded continuously, to become the multinational electronics giant it is today. Because nostalgia seldom agrees with the aims of private enterprise, Philips started lobbying to phase out the very product on which its original success is based. They started this campaign around the turn of the century, ten years ago.

Their line of thought is clear: banning incandescent bulbs creates an interesting market for new kinds of home lighting, such as “energy savers” (CFL’s, compact fluorescent lamps) and LED’s (light emitting diodes). The mark-up on these new products is substantially higher than that on old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. The rapid expansion of the lighting industry in China makes the profit margin on ordinary bulbs from factories in Europe smaller yet.

The spectre of catastrophic climate change offered a new opportunity for the strategists and marketing specialists at Philips headquarters.
They changed their marketing concept and jumped on the Global Warming band wagon. From that moment on, energy-saving bulbs could be put on the market as icons of responsibility toward climate change. This would give Philips a head start in the CFL end LED business. The competition would be left far behind by aggressive use of European patent law. That strategy fitted like a glove with that of the environmental movement. For them, ordinary light bulbs had become the ultimate symbol of energy waste and excessive CO2 emissions.

Seeing the opportunity, Greenpeace immediately made a forward pass with the ball thrown by Philips’ pitchers. The incandescent bulb would serve as an ideal vehicle for ramming Global Warming down people’s throats.
No abstract discussions about CO2-emissions any more: a ban on bulbs would suffice.
Not unlike the misguided banning of DDT in the name of environmentalism, which leads to the loss of countless lives due to malaria.

In 2006, Dutch legislators caved in under the combined lobbying pressure by Philips and Greenpeace.
A parliamentary majority in The Hague embraced the idea of banning incandescent bulbs and ordered the Dutch Environment Minister, Jacqueline Cramer, to lobby for an extension of the ban to all states in the European Union. That task proved simple enough. Top politicians in Europe, Germany’s Angela Merkel up front, deeply impressed by Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, were only too eager to project an image of strength and will power concerning imagined threats to the planet. ”Save the Earth, ban the bulb” was an effective campaign strategy.

To make a long story short, it took less than one year to issue a binding European Union Edict ordering the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, starting with a ban on bulbs of 100 watts and more effective March 1, 2009, and leading to a complete ban of all incandescent lighting on September 1, 2012.

The spin doctors at Philips headquarters have got it made.
And if this scam backfires on them in consumer protests all over Europe, they can cover their backsides by claiming that politicians and the green movement are responsible, not they.
Backfire it will. There exist no decent alternatives to incandescent light. None.

Footnote, again quoting the blog post:

Elsevier, the Dutch weekly, is the local equivalent of TIME magazine. On August 8, 2009 it ran a revealing cover story by Syp Wynia, entitled “How war was declared against the incandescent bulb.” Other sources of information include an article by James Kanter in the New York Times of August 31, 2009 and many others, easily found by googling “incandescent bulbs” and “banned.”

Henk Tennekes is an aeronautical engineer. From 1965 to 1977 he was a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. He is co-author of A First Course in Turbulence (MIT Press, 1972 – still in print) and author of The Simple Science of Flight, recently (2009) released in a revised and expanded edition.
Joost van Kasteren is a senior writer on technology and science in Holland. He covers energy, housing, water management, agriculture, food technology, innovation, science policy, and related issues.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

...and Ontario, Canada puts off their Ban

(If this does not work, you may have Flash software issues.. try the YouTube source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N9ehXDdCsjk)

Following the Canada federal decision to delay to 2014 any ban on simple incandescents,
and the likely suspension of British Columbia to continue with such a ban,
now comes the expected decision by Ontario to put off their own planned ban.
This is not surprising for another reason, namely the proximity to the major Ontario population centres of the USA, Quebec and Manitoba, all (in practice) without such bans next year.

As covered by Antonella Artuso, Cnews Canoe December 21:
Ontario is delaying its ban of incandescent light bulbs for two years.
The 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs were set to be outlawed as of Jan. 1.
The 60- and 40-watts bulbs would have been gone as of the end of 2012.
The move coincides with a federal government decision to put off banning the import of regular light bulbs until 2014.

Rob Ferguson in the Toronto Star adds (extracts):
“Did it make sense for us to have a different approach from the federal government on this issue? No,” [Ontario Energy Minister] Bentley said.
“Our thinking is how do we make it easiest for consumers. It would be hard and confusing to do it differently.”
The two-year reprieve for the incandescents ban will give governments time to come up with a “better approach” for disposing of compact fluorescents, he added.

The Star first reported on Saturday that the Ontario promise, made by former energy minister Dwight Duncan in 2007, was in jeopardy because of the federal move.

Some interesting background information from the Freedom Party of Ontario.

Basically, coal-powered Ontario meant environmental reasons were used to justify a ban,
along with the usual supposed lowered energy usage:
But with any surplus of electricity production being sold to the USA anyway,
it would not have reduced the burning of coal in local power plants.
"The oversupply is so bad that Ontario sometimes has to pay American facilities to take our excess electricity"...

In 2003, [Ontario Premier] Dalton McGuinty had campaigned on closing all of Ontario's coal-powered electricity generation plants by 2007 for the purposes of improving air quality. By 2007, he was nowhere close to closing them. He could not do so, because Ontario did not reliably have enough power to meet its needs, and closing the coal plants would have worsened the crisis greatly.
Having failed for almost four years to increase the supply of electricity in the province, the McGuinty government decided to force people to consume less energy: to ration electricity.

Imposing a system of rationing is not a politically popular thing to do, but people generally do not blame politicians who impose rationing if there is a "need" to ration.
Luckily for McGuinty, Al Gore had provided him with the alleged "need" he was looking for. In 2006, Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", had caused wide-spread panic that human industrial activity was producing enough CO2 to cause catastrophic global warming. McGuinty capitalized on that fear. Rather than telling Ontarians that he was turning to electricity rationing because he had failed to increase the supply of electricity, McGuinty told Ontarians that "...Ontario has to start being a responsible global citizen", and that he was working on an "aggressive plan" to "deal with greenhouse gases".

Far from condemning the 2012 ban on incandescent light bulbs, the Progressive Conservatives wanted the ban to start sooner. Then Progressive Conservative party leader John Tory said the Progressive Conservatives wanted the ban to start "as soon as possible" and that the McGuinty government "should get on with it."

However, by that time, industrial and commercial businesses - which then consumed more than 70 percent of Ontario's electricity - were leaving Ontario for places like India and China, where labour costs are exceptionally lower. By 2010, Ontario's industrial sector had been gutted.
The result:
Ontario now has not too little electricity, but too much.
The oversupply is so bad that Ontario sometimes has to pay American facilities to take our excess electricity.

Each kind of bulb has its advantages and disadvantages.
Ontario now has surplus energy.
There is no need to ban incandescent light bulbs.

There is a parallell with this in the ever more connected EU or other international grids:
Any celebrated supposed local lowered energy use by power plants, for whatever reason,
may of course be negated by power plant cross border surplus export!
Politicians won't stop that for industrial political profit reasons.
One message for local environmentalists and consumers,
another message for power-hungry neigbor states waving crisp banknotes under the noses of
local utility owners and legislators.

The local Ontario light bulb ban story has interesting and amusing twists and turns
also for a general audience...

In February of 2006, radical environmentalist Matt Prescott launched a "ban the bulb" campaign to encourage governments to ban the incandescent light bulb and to subsidize fluorescent light bulbs. On April 18, 2007, the McGuinty government announced that it was banning incandescent bulbs starting in 2012. That ban was released as part of a misguided "Flick Off" campaign to discourage electricity use

Aimed at youth, the Flick Off campaign intentionally used a font designed to make the word "Flick" look light a four-letter expletive...

Then Liberal Environment Minister Laurel Broten
introduces Ontario's $500,000.00 contribution to the
"Flick Off" campaign (April 25, 2007). The campaign website's
homepage read: "We need you to FLICK OFF, and tell
everyone you know to FLICK OFF. The more you do it,
the cooler it gets. The planet, that is." The Liberals defended
their half-million dollar expenditure on the campaign:
"It's a suitable website for youth" said Broten.

(If above not work, you may have Flash issues, try original YouTube page, they seem more flexible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ig65TMTMQY)

"At the same time, the McGuinty government forked out taxpayer dollars for commercials in which TV personality David Suzuki is depicted fictionally snatching incandescent light bulbs from the homes of homeowners, and replacing them with fluorescent ones."

[A parody of this was made by cartoonist Niffiwan]

Finally, returning to the Freedom Party Campaign:

As seen, one campaign mainstay is that there is "no Ontario energy shortage that justifies a ban".
Of course the lighting switchover energy savings themselves are small anyway for society as a whole, which is obviously what should count as a society energy policy.
That is, less than 1% of overall energy use on US, EU and international statistics, or 1-2% of grid energy, as referenced here,
with all the described generation, grid, and other energy efficiency alternatives that will be familiar to regular readers of this blog.

Combining the quoted website source with this earlier policy outline on the issue,
Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever states several reasons why a ban is bad,
as also seen in the summaries and links from this blog.

Certainly, people are not "forced" to use CFLs:
But they are often the only practical alternative,
and regardless of any bans they are of course being pushed on consumers via government sponsored industry CFL programs, with all the handouts and subsidies that involves, in Canada as elsewhere.
CFLs are good in some situations, but not in all lamps in North American households with 40-odd lighting points...

Fluorescent light bulbs have some advantages over incandescent bulbs.
They do not give off as much heat, which is good during hot summer months.
It is claimed that they last longer than incandescent light bulbs.
They also require less electricity.

However, fluorescent light bulbs also have some drawbacks:

• some people have reported the explosion of fluorescent bulbs;
• fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which makes them difficult to dispose of in an environmental sound way;
• fluorescent light bulbs are not suitable for exterior use on Canada's freezing cold days of winter, of late fall, and of early spring;
• some people find fluorescent light to be hard on the eyes, especially when reading;
• fluorescent light bulbs do not provide the additional house-warming heat that incandescent light bulbs do for Ontario's cool or freezing days in Autumn, Winter, and Spring; and
• fluorescent light bulbs are much more expensive than incandescent bulbs.

Here are some sobering facts.

Banning 50 cent incandescent bulbs will relieve $4 fluorescent bulb manufacturers of price competition:
the price of flourescent bulbs will most certainly be higher than they would have been but for the ban on incandescents.

Banning incandescents will also relieve bulb manufacturers from competition on light quality: the currently harsh quality of the light provided by non-incandescent bulbs will not improve as quickly as it would have but for the ban on incandescents.

This ban is a bad and harmful idea.
We need more competition and private-sector involvement in power generation and delivery,
not less competition and more government involvement in light-bulbs.

The Ceolas site accompanying this blog has a full account of Why a ban in Canada is particularly wrong (http://ceolas.net/#li11x).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

After the Funding Amendment:
Clear Explanation of American Light Bulb Regulations


#     #     #     #     #

Some additional information on light bulb regulations posted in an 18th January 2012 blog post

#     #     #     #     #

The Republican funding amendment was justified for reasons given earlier,
and the possibilities around continued manufacture (federal ban or not) was subsequently highlighted.

That said, the main point to note for consumers,
is that the amendment makes little difference to them in practice, at least in early 2012.

So, what exactly are the USA federal rules on light bulbs?

For more information on regulation after 2014,
see an earlier blog post.

The 2012 sale of 100W incandescents was never banned,
only the manufacture and import.
So stores can legally sell off whatever they have
- and by all accounts, some stores have stocked up a lot,
lasting well into next year, though naturally prices will go up as stocks dwindle.

Additionally, new package labelling requirements will change the way light bulbs are referred to. Instead of buying a "72 watt light bulb," one might purchase a "1500 lumens" light bulb.

Some edited extracts from the main website

Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007

2 phases, based on 2012-2014 and 2014-2020.
Aim: to reduce the allowed wattage for incandescent bulbs by 28 percent starting in 2012, becoming a 67 percent reduction by 2020 at the latest, in accordance with the defined annual review procedures
By 2020, at the latest, general service incandescents shall have a minimum rating of 45 lumens per Watt
(today's touted halogen replacements are typically 22-25 lumens per Watt).

`(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.

In the first phase beginning January 1 2012,
the manufacture and import of general service incandescent lighting is progressively restricted, beginning with 100 W bulbs, but therefore with certain excepted classes (e.g. rough service, 3-way, and chandelier lighting). Bulbs equivalent to 25W and below, and of 150-200W and above, are also not affected.
However: The sale of 150-200W (2,601-3,300 lumen) incandescents will be specially monitored,
and the Secretary is directed to prohibit them too, should sales exceed a certain quantity (more on the main website).

The important point then is that sales of existing store stock will be allowed, at least in the 2012-2014 phase - the legal language relating to the subsequent phase-out to 45 lumen per Watt is more ambiguous, since the aim then seems to be to prohibit actual sale.

December 2011 oversight funding amendment:
Amendment to Oversight Funding of Implementation December 2011 lasting until 30 September 2012 (see the earlier blog posts for more) therefore does not affect the legality of sales:
It only affects the monitoring of legal manufacture and import.
In the time period to 30 September 2012, it is not likely to make much difference to the consumer:
Since retailers can sell what they have got, and many have probably stocked up well in advance of such a popular product, albeit that the consumer may have to look around and pay a little more.
(in the comparable situation in the EU after 1 September 2009, the bulbs were still available over the following year, albeit at higher prices and in fewer and fewer stores or online retailers, the main stores pushing CFL sales as described elsewhere in the text).

The underlying 2007 legislation specifications
(Basically, regular household light bulbs can be at most 72 Watts from January 2012, and so on with increasing stringency):

Lumenstoday Wattsallowed Wattsmin LifetimeDate Start
1490-2600100721,000 hrs1/1/2012
1050-148975531,000 hrs1/1/2013
750-104960431,000 hrs1/1/2014
310-74940291,000 hrs1/1/2014

Lighting section 321 of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (pdf)
Application: DOE standards homepage, details (pdf), Industry info.
The latter includes information 2012-2014 also on "modified spectrum" (eg Halogen) types.

There are issues over how much of a "Ban" this all is.
Clearly any product or product version that is not allowed by a standard is banned.
However, it is also effectively a progressive ban on incandescent technology for ordinary household purposes, as the more detailed look at phase 2 of the regulations in the earlier blog post shows.
So, as already mentioned, today's hailed "Halogen" type replacements for regular incandescents will also be banned.
As the EIA (Energy Information Administration) puts it,
"essentially requiring general service bulbs to be as efficient as today's CFLs".

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The effect in 2012 on consumers and manufacturers

Update on yesterday's effective postponement of USA light bulb ban
(it will partly run in parallell, to keep them in one place).

To begin with,
according to the Department of Energy, the law prohibits the manufacture and import of new 100-watt incandescent bulbs but does not prohibit stores from selling out their existing stock - nor, of course, does it prohibit consumers from using them.

Therefore, regardless of the amendment regarding oversight funding of the ban implementation, American consumers would likely be able to buy regular 100 Watt bulbs for at least a year, albeit perhaps marked up in price, in stores cannily stocking up on them.
That is also what happened with the EU ban of 2009.

This can easily be confirmed online, for example, NY Times, J&J Tech etc, and several online retailers, apart from the more hidden legal text via official links.

Again, since Canada is delaying a ban to 2014, that offers another way to get the bulbs, even easier if there is no federal oversight of import activities, as per the latest bill amendment.

But that is not all.
While the law does prohibit manufacture, the fact that there is no oversight might see a limited 2012 continuation of American manufacture of the targeted incandescents - even without any local "freedom bills" being enacted.

Take South Carolina:
How the American Light Bulb Co in Mullins, SC is "fired up" against the ban: here
American Light Bulb Manufacturing Co. owner Ray Schlosser said the company is the only independent incandescent light bulb manufacturer in the state. He said the proposed state law will keep his business competitive.

As for Pennsylvania, see the earlier post, noting the manufacturing plant in St. Marys: It is the country's oldest functioning light bulb manufacturing facility, and produces nearly 2 million incandescent light bulbs a day - but being owned by the major Osram /Sylvania maker, would presumably be more susceptible to federal political pressure, and has in any case been taking steps over the past years to convert manufacturing to halogen type bulbs.

As seen, Osram/Sylvania also has manufacturing of some incandescent light bulb types in Winchester, Kentucky.

There are also smaller outfits making and marketing "rough service" legal incandescents (examples: AeroTech and Gadsden).

Texas has no current manufacturing,
but Gov Perry spokesmen told me earlier this year that they were looking for interested companies, after legalisation of local incandescent manufacture in June 2011.
There was the contention of contravening federal laws, but they had been in touch with the Federal Attorney General's office before legalising it locally (as seen from the changes in the bill text).
More on Texas in an earlier (updated) blog post.

One can also note that California had no problem in locally legislating on the issue, albeit the other way round, in the sense of banning local sales of higher wattage incandescents earlier this year.
This is in line with US (and similarly EU) policy of "locally more stringent interpretations of federal laws being allowed",
but invites criticism on the basis that if federal laws are needed in the first place, then they should be equal for all...

Friday, December 16, 2011

About the 9 1/2 Month USA Ban Delay

This will be updated continously for some time ...

# # #
Sunday (final?) update on this post

The initial misunderstanding about this all being about a ban being overturned,
has been replaced by misgivings that it was a futile amendment that changes nothing.

True and false:
As laid out in a new post with clarification of light bulb regulations,
little changes for consumers, since the 2012 sale of incandscents was never banned in the first place (only manufacture and import), and stores were stocking up anyway.

But the further point is that the Republican amendment was all that was achievable in a Democrat controlled Senate, and its most important function was to force Congress to look again at the whole light bulb issue in late 2012, at election time.

In turn,
the idea that light bulbs are an unimportant issue,
does not hold in the sense, as said, that people do use artificial lighting much of their time, and it is of course "bellwether" type regulation for all other energy efficiency regulations on cars, buildings, washing machines etc.

As covered in a preceding post, the underlying desire to save energy and electricity, to whatever extent ideologically desired, can be met much more effectively by other means.

Democrats and Republicans are wrongly ideologically divided on the light bulb issue,
which as explained is wrong in both left-wing and right-wing terms,
and regarding any party members who still believe that targeting light bulbs is a good idea, there are the more relevant described alternative policies, taking in both left-wing and right-wing ideologies.
# # #

# # #
Saturday update

RE American manufacturers continuing to make incandescents:
[ this has since been expanded on in a separate post ]

Aside from smaller outfits making "rough service" and other legal incandescents,
USA has relevant incandescent manufacture in for example South Carolina and Pennsylvania - plants which apparently will continue to make the incandescents in 2012 after amendment provisions, and who are backed by local political representatives also on the issue of the halted federal regulations themselves.
See Pennsylvania bill
More on that and South Carolina etc manufacturing bills here.

Texas has no current manufacturing,
but Gov Perry spokesmen told me earlier this year that they were looking for interested companies, after legalisation of local incandescent manufacture in June 2011.
There was the contention of contravening federal laws, but I understand they had been in touch with the Federal Attorney General's office before legalising it locally
(an issue which was seemingly one reason that Gov Jan Brewer of Arizona did not sign their local bill beforehand). More on Texas in an earlier (updated) blog post.

One can also note that California had no problem in locally legislating on the issue,
albeit the other way round, in banning local sales of higher wattage incandescents earlier this year.

Therefore, even after Sep 2012, it is not clear to what extent federal laws would apply in all states.
# # #

# # #
Update Friday evening
The Hill again
Sen. Bingaman: Light bulb rider will have 'little practical consequence'
“This decision may have little practical consequence on which incandescent light bulbs are available in stores because, starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal to produce or import the inefficient, wasteful bulbs in the United States,”
Bingaman said in a statement.
Some Democrats are as seen pointing out the illegality involved
- which is of course true:
It is simply funding of the oversight of the regulations that has been taken away. This is being compared to voluntarily declaring goods brought into the country, or voluntarily complying with any law, when noone is looking...

That said Republican Congressmen like Joe Barton and Michael Burgess are pointing out the de facto ban delay, as already described, an interpretation which most media commentators continue to share.
# # #

# # #
Update Friday evening
Seen on HyperVocal
The battle over light bulbs seems a silly one, but at the heart of the issue is how Democrats paint Republicans as opposing technological innovation and energy efficiency standards, while the Republicans paint the Democrats as wanting to regulate the homes of Americans.

In this very tiny issue is the larger picture of how both political parties fundamentally believe the country should be governed.
This is no doubt true... Light bulbs are made out to be a silly issue (despite people spending half their lives under artifical lights) but it no doubt also touches some raw ideological nerves, as a very visual symbol either of personal freedom, or of Government doing what is supposedly best for all.
# # #

# # #
Update 3pm Eastern Time:
The Hill reporting Bill passage through House. Extracts:

The House easily approved (296-121) a $1 trillion omnibus Friday,
sending the bill to a Senate for a likely weekend vote.
Senate passage would send the bill to the White House and avert a government shutdown.
Broad support for the bill among Democrats in large part reflected the reality that without passage, the government would shut down at midnight Friday.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said. "This house has spent more time debating light bulbs than we have putting American people to work. It's really been an outrage."
[Ah, Louise...]
# # #

Following on from yesterday's meeting as reported on this blog, an accord was reached last night and confirmed this morning, which effectively delays the ban on 100 Watt bulbs, due to start 1 January, until September 30, 2012.
That is, until the end of the government's fiscal year.

The spending deal still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, ahead of a midnight funding deadline, but this is seen as a formality.

In other words,
the previously described Energy and Water Spending Bill amendment is implemented, that prevents funding of the oversight of ban compliance: a roundabout way of delaying the ban itself.

It therefore does not legally change the regulations themselves, the 2007 EISA legislation is still subject to enforcement, but of course it brings the position forward to 2012 elections.

While the basics are widely covered in media today, Politico has interesting additional observations from yesterday's negotiations...

"There are just some issues that just grab the public's attention. This is one of them," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "It's going to be dealt with in this legislation once and for all."

After giving up in recent weeks on dozens of other riders aimed at stopping EPA rules because of opposition from Senate Democrats and the White House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told POLITICO that the light bulb rider was "going to be in there."

"Speaker [John] Boehner to Chairman [Fred] Upton to Chairman [Hal] Rogers, they all strongly support keeping it in," said Barton, who served as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2007 when the light bulb language got approved. "And it's a personal commitment because of their philosophy."

"It's the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign," added Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee that approved the original language. "What can I say? If we can solve the energy problem with the outcome on the light bulb, America would be a great place."

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the Interior and environment appropriations subcommittee, said Senate opposition to the light bulb provisions had up to this point been minimal.

"Amazing, isn't it?" he said. "They [the Democrats] objected to all the other EPA riders and stuff. That was the instructions from the White House. But apparently the light bulb ones didn't bother them too much."

As Kate Hicks at Townhall and others comment, the fact that Democrats allowed this exception gives hope that it will in fact become permanent later - not least being a decision at crucial election time.

Or to put it another way:
Vociferous opposition is likelier than vigorous acclaim.

That said,
Environmentalists are apparently mounting a last-ditch defense, with plans for a Friday press conference, that includes representatives from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Philips Electronics North America, Consumers Union, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Republicans for Environmental Protection also hope to "shame its GOP brethren into backing down", as Politico puts it.
// Edit: No more news seen on any press conference or protest... maybe they made a wise withdrawal //

EISA regulation, the basics, and official references

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ending the Confrontation over Light Bulbs

Since the US Senate Energy Committee are meeting from 9.30 AM onwards
today, apparently also with Dept of Energy officials about light bulb regulations and their scheduled start January 1,
it seemed apt to remind about lighting policy alternatives,
alternatives to the enforcement or not of regulations...

To recap,
Republicans are being criticized for holding up omnibus spending legislation, with last-minute amendment attempts reported on here a few days ago, and as covered in different media, for example The Hill 2 days ago:
A Republican-backed rider to repeal a slew of light bulb efficiency standards is one of a handful of issues preventing lawmakers from coming to a deal on omnibus spending legislation, according to Senate Democrats.

Most can agree it's good to save energy and emissions (CO2 or not)

How can this best be done,
taking into account the wishes of all sides?

To summarize the issue:

All lighting has advantages, including simple incandescents, and
the halogen incandescent replacements will eventually be banned too
on EISA 45 lumen per Watt end-regulation norms.

The object is to reduce electricity usage (especially coal)
and to reduce CO2 emissions.
Light bulbs don't burn coal, or release any CO2.
Power plants might - and might not
If there's a problem, deal with the problem.

As US Dept of Energy and official EU statistics show,
the overall lighting switchover savings are comparatively small, around 1% of grid use, and even then with reservations as listed and referenced on http://ceolas.net/#li171x.
It also goes into why the supposed consumer savings don't hold up, and the better ways to save energy in dealing with electricity generation, grid distribution and alternative consumption reduction (from actual usage waste, rather than from consumer product choice!).

But OK:
This is all about "significantly" reducing electricity use,
at least as far as Democrats are concerned.
But of course then coal, coal electricity, or any electricity, could simply be taxed, on liberal ideology
(and Govmt tax income could help pay for Budget deficit as well as insulating poorer homes)
- no need for petty usage rules.

if bulbs really had to be targeted, they could be taxed,
and help subsidise cheaper energy saving alternatives, so people are "not just hit by taxes":
Govmt income, equilibrated markets, lowered incandescent sales, and consumer choice all achieved
- same could be done with all other energy efficiency regulations
(buildings, cars, washing machines..) that reduce consumer choice.

Better still is simply to encourage competition,
all along the electricity supply chain:
Electricity companies and light bulb manufacturers then strive to keep down their own energy costs, while manufacturers are also pushed to make energy saving products that people actually want to buy
(and have always wanted, since savings are a marketable advantage:
"Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run"? - look at Energizer bunny rabbit commercials!)
New ideas, energy efficient or otherwise, can always be helped to the market.

lighting manufacturers instead got a much easier way to profits,
in successfully lobbying for a ban on cheap unprofitable incandescents, to sell their more profitable expensive wares, as covered on
http://ceolas.net/#li12ax and onwards, with documentation and communication copies that also cover the CFL programs in different states.

Energy Efficiciency Regulations are the worst option for both Democrats and Republicans.

The US Budget Deficit needs Government income:
Democrats might note that 1 1/2 - 2 billion pre-ban sales
of cheap easily taxable light bulbs would give billions of dollars in coming years on modest taxation, while a large taxation simulates bans while still keeping choice.
And that is just light bulbs.
Then see the massive income from converting energy efficiency regulations on buildings, cars, and all other consumer products to taxation,
always with the possibility of paid-for subsidies to lower the prices of alternatives, given the general opposition of taxes.

However, Democrats might also see that overall energy savings are better achieved via competition measures.

Republicans can more easily see the competition arguments,
less so taxation,
but again, taxation is easier to implement and alter than regulations,
they keep consumer choice, and they are easier to remove when no longer considered necessary, without disrupting manufacture or production.
So it is better than regulations also for them.

In other words:
For both sides, on their declared ideologies,
competition or taxation measures serve them better than regulations do.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update on EU "Heatballs" avoiding Incandescent Ban

// Regular update posts in this blog, search on "heat balls".
At time of this edit, last update February 2012 //

Coming up to the USA ban,
and continuing with a comparative look at how Europeans have thought up ways around the regulations, the attempt to sell 90% heat emitting products as "heat balls" was interesting and imaginative.

Needless to say, the legal heads were not amused...

Update December 14 2011:
They have for the last months been considering an appeal in a higher court and how to go about it.
Meanwhile, in September they tried to have the Heatballs sold in Switzerland (outside the EU) but in October this got a definite no from the Energy ministry official responsible for Energy Efficiency legislation.

Update July 27 2011:
As expected, the decision yesterday (26th July) was that the "heat balls" can not be allowed, in also being a source of light as banned by specifications throughout the European Union
(the name "heat balls", also using English in Germany, was presumably to take away from the light "bulb" idea). More here.

The case was not altogether clear however: So-called "rough service lamps" as used in mines and other such locations are also incandescent lighting as banned in the EU specifications, and there are other exemptions as for small refrigerator lamps and the like.

The issue therefore turns around lighting used as GLS (general service lighting) in ordinary ceiling fittings etc.
So the prospect of, in practice, identical general service lighting being continued was obviously too much:
There might have been (= might be) more chance of success if the light bulbs had a specific screw-in fitting for a lamp with say a reflector in it to "beam the heat".
Of course, enterprising (and determined) people would then put such fittings also in other lamps, but that is another matter...

# # # # # # # #

June 28 original post

Siegfried Rotthäuser and friends in Germany have imaginatively tried to get round the European ban on regular simple incandescent bulbs by marketing them as "Heat Balls" (more).
This is a sop to the frequent ban defence relating to the fact that incandescent light bulbs give out over 90% of their electrical energy they use as heat (nevertheless being much easier to manufacture, when great brightness is required, compared to CFLs or, even more so, compared to LEDs).

The case has gone to the courts for decision, expected 26 July 2011, see announcement (pdf, in German)

Interesting legal argumentation might be expected in court...
a heat ball or rather "heat bulb" market idea to be followed in the USA and elsewhere?

As for light bulb heat "waste", it is often conveniently forgotten that CFLs and LEDs also convert most of their energy use to heat, although the heat is internalized more - in the case of CFLs leading to a recognized fire risk.
More on incandescent light bulb heat, and it's possible benefit here (http://ceolas.net/#li6x)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How many polar bears have you killed today?


Top image       Scary Bulbs
Bottom image  (putting a different light on to the subject - as it were)
Gary Locke, Weekly Standard


Monday, December 12, 2011

New Book on Home Lighting

Update 17 May 2012 with video promotion by the author, see end section

No, not a book lamenting the demise of the simple cheap bright broad spectrum Edison light bulb - rather the opposite, but hang on...

Book Review

Losing Edison
By James Bedell

Available via Amazon for Kindle reader around 11 dollars, other options click on image or the book title above.
Print-On-Demand version coming, says the author.

Since this book was written to show that phasing-out incandescents does not matter in making good lighting choices I was a bit sceptical, on getting a copy for review....

As the author introduces himself on his website
"It is my belief that all good lighting design must be sustainable lighting design."

But don't be deceived by the title,
it does therefore go way beyond that issue.

The author says it was his first attempt at any public writing longer than a blog post, but this certainly does not come across.
It is also well illustrated, both with useful functional drawings by the author, and photographs.

While on the content side I (and others) would argue that with incandescents one can make even better choices in some described situations, it is really a book about understanding lighting as a whole, and about how lighting designers reach their decisions.
As such it is of value not only to anyone making lighting choices, but also I would suggest to lighting designers themselves, in the breadth of the issues raised, which includes a very useful concluding part about how lighting designer work fits in with architects, interior designers, builders...

But to take first things first, in this book of three parts.

Part I,
usefully covers definitions such as lumens (which everyone will have to deal with rather than Watts), color temperature, color rendering index (CRI), and their roles.
It also covers Halogens, CFLs and LEDs in that respect, with good tips on what to look for in buying them, depending on the purpose they are for
- and with a good US Department of Energy Lighting Facts Label illustration.

EISA specifications follow, that is until 2014
(EISA specifications will also rule out the replacement Halogens in following years,
but fortunately for the sake of lighting advice, given also that the author is not overly fond of their still relatively high metered electricity use, Halogens are included in the book).

Then, different uses of different lighting and typical running costs based on defined electricity rates finish the first part.

In Part II,
the three basic concepts of residential lighting are covered,
ambient, accent, and task lighting,
with explanations of the principles involved in reaching relevant decisions of what
to use and how to use it.

Apart from the various types of lamp lighting and uses,
natural light and fire in various forms are included too, in a comprehensive overview.

Lighting control is not forgotten,
explaining the three major types of control systems:
local dimming/switching, single area controls, and whole-home systems.

As the author says, a common failure in lighting control is that the controls, whether a slide dimmer or a keypad, are misplaced in the room.
Ever on the sustainability note (which recurs with useful savings tips throughout),
a reminder how dimming makes lighting more sustainable.

for completion, outdoor Lighting is also covered:
Acknowledging that not everyone has such surroundings (or control of them),
entryways driveways and Walkways, patios and decks, trees/shrubbery are mentioned:
"Outdoor and landscape lighting is probably the least thought-out aspect of residential lighting for most homes."

The final Part III,
then takes a given lighting idea from concept to implementation.

Or, to put it as an edited extract:
"Having a lighting designer on board, let's figure out who else should
be on your team. I'm going to assume that all projects have an
electrical contractor and, in many cases, a general contractor.
Since we're talking about lighting design here, I've broken down potential
projects into three basic categories, which will serve as a rough
guide to who should be on your team:
1. Re-lighting a room. Here's a good opportunity to work with a
lighting designer; no other designers/collaborators are necessary.
2. Redecorating a room. If there are one or more spaces in your home
you'd like to redecorate, it's time to bring in an interior designer.
3. Total Renovation. If you are gutting one or multiple sections of
your home, you'll need the most complete team. Here's where bringing
in an architect."

Helpful advice on finding good architects, interior designers and lighting designers follows, along with choosing and working with project managers,
creating project budgets - and indeed sticking to them, and to any time limit that may apply.

Again, with practical and easily forgotten tips,
such as designing with an eye toward maintenance,
and guides to buying light fixtures as well as light bulbs.

The author also helpfully offers to give further advice to readers, in respect of his time.

To sum up then,
do not be misled (one way or the other) by the title of the book.
Edison is still included, of sorts, in describing the use of Halogen incandescent derivatives, and the book usefully covers home lighting in all its aspects.

(Look forward to that whiskey bottle now James ;-) )

Here is an update video by James himself talking about his book, including promotion price $4.99 for May 2012:


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Screwing the EU with a Condom... again

Continuing on the Condoms for Light Bulbs Theme
See the previous post.

In Europe, as in some other places, there has been a gradual "phase-out" (read ban)
of incandescent bulbs.
However, in addition, the EU Commission banned all non-transparent (frosted, opaque, white, opal) incandescent light bulbs, including those of Halogen type, with immediate effect in September 2009.
That is, after available stocks were gone, that was it.

Nobody who knows how the EU Commission works can be surprised at this:
The full story of how the EU banned the bulb can be read here.

Their justification in banning all frosted incandscents was not to save energy:
There is either minute or no difference in savings between using frosted and clear bulbs.
It was simply, as they have publicly stated, that they considered that those who wanted frosted (opaque) bulbs could simply choose the CFLs.

As it happens, the frosted bulbs are (were) the most popular bulbs in Europe.
In Northern Europe, overwhelmingly so, being 90% of bulb sales, one reason being the glare from exposed filaments.

Needless to say, the profit-seeking ban-lobbying CFL light bulb manufacturers and distributors had nothing at all  to do with this decision... :-)

An acquaintance had a witty short-lived blog on the EU ban.
I am reproducing one or two posts for the sake of posterity...
the blog may or may not still be here in future.

EURO-CONDOM: one size fits all stupid bulb bans

Just two months into the EU’s incandescent bulb ban, and you are already out of frosted bulbs? Don’t fret; the EURO-CONDOM, Ingo Maurer’s statement against the EU’s bulb banning madness, may also be the answer for those who haven’t stocked up on non-glaring incandescent lamps.

This friendly chapeau above is EURO CONDOM by Ingo Maurer, a silicone light bulb cover currently produced by Colourcover in England. It will try its best to protect you and your incandescent light bulb from the EU’s recent bulb ban madness.

Any one of the differently colored packaging variants contains an identical, translucent white bulb cover. Note the user instructions on the packaging. Sorry, no scents, all very neutral.

The shocking image above shows how the agents of the perverted Empire of EUville  wish you’d use this product: All wrong!

Much better, this is one thinkable way how you could use the product to protect you and your family from ugly light. But then, do what? Better keep the EURO CONDOM, and send the CFL to your favorite pro-CFL parlamentarian or EU office as a gift!

Finally, this shows the correct application of a EURO CONDOM.

While carefully rolling down from the top to the bottom of the bulb, build up and keep some tension in the semi-elastic condom. Try to keep the center tip right on top, and try to keep layers of silicone rubber from folding up. Fits snugly on 60 mm bulbs, a bit loose at the base of recent 55 mm diameter bulbs. Currently, no (refractive-index matching?) gel is supplied with the EURO CONDOM, thus it’s a rather dry procedure as the silicone tends to stick to itself and the bulb’s glass. Luckily, most folds can be carefully picked and pulled to shape later because the silicone cover seems to be much more resistant to damage than customary condoms.

Otitis Media di Monaco!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Progress Report on Congress Ban Repeal Efforts

(Updated during the day)

As posted before,
action on repealing the coming US federal ban on regular 100W incandescent bulbs has stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate Energy Committee:
From the anti-Republican NRDC blog post by Scott Slesinger, 17th November, the day after the relevant HR 2354 bill was up for consideration:
"The Senate has set aside work on a spending bill for energy and water programs for now, but earlier this week the possibility that it could come up prompted Senate Republicans to offer a cornucopia of counter-productive ideas....
(the) bill was shelved, at least temporarily"
Included among the amendments,
just in case the bill was actually going to be considered, was
Amendment No. 988
by Senators Enzi (R-WY), DeMint (R-SC), Paul (R-KY) and Johanns (R-NE),
the text of which apparently had no time to be filed,
(it is supposedly also in the linked Congressional Record as S7573, but not listed there)
which I understand essentially repeats the Michael Burgess House amendment
to cut funding for oversight of the 2012 100 Watt incandescent light bulb ban.

As reported earlier, it seems the original Burgess House amendment of the Bill was not going to be considered anyway as part of the Bill by the Senate Committee...so the new amendment was perhaps more for the record.

A Daily Caller article by Caroline May from the 6th of December, confirms the overall stalling of the bill, with further information, extracts:

According to spokesman Daniel Head, Enzi has filed an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to delay implementation of the incandescent phase-out.

Head noted, however, that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday that the Energy and Water bill would likely not be considered by the Senate.

According to spokesman Sean Brown [spokesman for Rep. Joe Barton, behind an earlier specific bulb ban repeal bill], Barton plans to work on passing legislation that would permanently overturn the ban during the second session of Congress.

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller that there remain avenues for Republicans to stop the phase-out, including attaching language to the payroll tax cut bill or an omnibus bill.

“There are at least two vehicles here at the end of the year we could use to get this done,” Ebell said.

Further updates possible in coming days...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reasoning against the regulations...

The media and online arguments over the coming USA light bulb ban tend to focus either on how much of a "ban" it is, or how terrible or not the main pushed alternatives are, the fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

Understandable enough, in letting people know what is happening. But there is a lack of wider perspective.

This video interview extract from a couple of days ago by Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie (pictured) with host John Stossel on Fox TV was a welcome change:
Short enough (5 minutes), and with a song interlude, but having time to mention why great products "getting better" should be bought voluntarily irrespective of price, and the big business push behind it.

The John Stossel site (http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/) has more about the show, and other clips from it - it was about the "unintended consequences of big government meddling in our lives".

It also covered the oddness of regulations reducing electricity use and emissions by targeting products people like to use, and how energy efficiency regulations anyway effectively mean cheaper use and greater (wasted) use, negating supposed energy savings.

One could add that the savings involved are very small in overall terms anyway, and all the other reasons against the regulations including the tax alternative for bankrupt governments (California) as summarized in a preceding post on this blog, but it is good to see the issue widened here and there in the media.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Charge of the Light Brigade


Photo by AdminGirl at iowntheworld.com


Screwing the EU with a Condom...

Also see the more recent December blog post for someone else's witty take on this.

An earlier post described how some canny Germans were trying to get round the EU light bulb ban, by marketing incandescent light bulbs as "Heat Balls",
making use of their 90% energy consumption being converted to heat
(a much repeated fact by the pro-ban brigade, who carefully avoid saying that CFLs release 80% of their energy consumption as heat, LEDs 70%, and that their heat is internalized, giving a recognized fire risk with CFLs).

Well, German inventiveness has not stopped there....
Even before the EU ban ("phase out") started in 2009,
the well known Munich and New York based lighting designer Ingo Maurer, who has featured in many exhibitions, craftily designed a light bulb condom...

The reason for it is that even the EU Commission managed to over-do themselves in their customary nit-picking,
by banning the manufacture and import of all frosted incandescent light bulbs, Halogen or not, with immediate effect in September 2009.

Their justification was not to save energy:
There is either minute or no difference in savings between clear and frosted bulbs.
It was simply, as they have publicly stated, that they considered that those who wanted frosted (opaque) bulbs could simply choose the CFLs.
Needless to say, the frosted bulbs were the most popular type of bulb in Europe, and the ban-lobbying CFL light bulb manufacturers and distributors had nothing at all to do with this decision... :-)

Old blog coverage on Gizmodo

Ingo Maurers website: http://www.ingo-maurer.com/