Idiots All–Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Edition

That’s how I feel about the recent teapot tempest over energy-efficient light bulbs. The misguided sense of purpose of conservatives who would emphasize that as an important issue right now–I mean right this very month when we are fast approaching U.S. default on its debt payments–is mindblowingly difficult to comprehend. Especially when anyone with a grasp of elementary-school math and a rudimentary understanding of the Constitution could figure out that the chances of success are zero. These people just may be the worst–most juvenile, deranged, and deeply stupid–set of congressmen ever elected.

But the arguments of the liberals who support the legislation piss me off nearly as much. Fred Clark argues that “oil-puppets like Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, are fighting to waste your money on lousy, obsolete, 20th-century light bulbs by repealing efficiency standards that will save taxpayers $12 billion a year.” No, no, no. How on earth would the repeal of the legislation waste my money? And why is he talking about taxpayers? Lightbulbs are not bought by government and then distributed to us. It’s not taxpayer money but consumer money, and as consumers we can choose to continue to buy energy efficient light-bulbs even if the legislation is repealed.

And Ed Darrell mocks “nuts who who are incompetent to shop for light bulbs.” That is just sheer moralism at its finest. If you don’t value what I value, there oughta be a law making you act as though you do. The problem with the moralistic approach is that it’s not generalizable–it’s not an approach I’m willing to accept when the other guys are in power, so the only legitimate stance is to reject it when I’m in power. (I’ve often said that libertarianism isn’t about disliking all regulatory goals, but being willing to sacrifice those you like to avoid having to accept those you dislike.)

I like both Fred Clark and Ed Darrell. And they’re both very intelligent. But they’re just wrong here. They’re not wrong to support the goal of energy efficiency, but wrong to assume that each good goal justifies using the coercive power of the state to achieve it. With the widespread support the legislation had, it’s very likely that there was a market for energy efficient lighting, and so a non-coercive solution was available. If the response to that is, “but people wouldn’t buy more expensive light bulbs,” the I’d have to say that’s evidence that energy isn’t (at least yet) as scarce as we think it is, or the savings would be sufficient to motivate people. (Yes, some people can’t look past upfront costs to long-term costs, but a) forcing them to suck up the upfront costs isn’t necessarily doing them a favor (you don’t know what their opportunity costs are) and b) thinking about how widespread that problem is ought to give one pause about the wisdom of using it as regulatory justification.)

One commenter on Ed Darrell’s blog pointed out that light-bulb producers pursued federal legislation on this to avoid a patchwork of state regulations. That’s true enough, and it’s easy to understand why they would do so. But supporters of the bill would have supported individual state action in the absence of federal legislation, so it doesn’t address, much less rebut, the criticism here about people’s political motivations.

I am fully in favor of greater energy efficiency, with the caveat that it be cost effective. (I.e., I could save money on my heating bill next winter by replacing my century old single pane windows with new triple-pane argon-filled windows, but it might not be cost effective for me at this time because a) I would have to take out a loan to pay for it (on top of the loan I had to take out to pay for getting a new driveway put in, after my old one was torn up so we could replace the broken plumbing), and b) I might have even better uses for that money). I have in fact replaced most of the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact fluorescents,* both for energy efficiency and to save money (and annoyance) replacing incandescent bulbs (they burn out frequently in my house, and I suspect it’s because some of my wiring is still the ancient asbestos covered stuff (which I am replacing bit by bit)). So it’s not the goal I oppose, and I think anyone who simply sneers at the idea might as well wear this T-shirt.But good goals don’t in themselves justify legislation that coerces people’s individual choices. Market solutions are possible. If energy is really scarce, or if we improve our internalizing of the effluent costs so that consumers are paying the real cost of their energy, then there is incentive for people to become more energy efficient. If a utility finds the cost of building a new production facility when there is rising demand cost prohibitive, they may find it cheaper to subsidize or even give away energy efficient bulbs, as well as providing rebates for energy-efficient windows, improved insulation, and so on. Energy companies already do that.

The beauty of it is that it is both effective and voluntary.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________
*Yes, I know the legislation doesn’t ban incandescents. At both blogs commenters were quick to point that out to me, so I think my saying I replaced incandescents with fluourescents inadvertently suggests I didn’t know that.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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30 Responses to Idiots All–Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Edition

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    And Ed Darrell mocks “nuts who who are incompetent to shop for light bulbs.” That is just sheer moralism at its finest. If you don’t value what I value, there oughta be a law making you act as though you do.

    I just report the facts. It’s not moralism — it’s a relatively close paraphrase of Sen. Rand Paul’s rant at the hearing, first that he hasn’t been able to buy a toilet in 20 years (my wife found good ones locally and cheap in 20 minutes) and then that he needs the “right” to force light bulb manufacturers to keep making light bulbs that the market has passed on (look up the definition of “socialism” and “totalitarianism” sometime — clearly Rand Paul doesn’t have a clue, but that’s no reason for us to remain in the dark, as he chooses to or is incompetent to light a candle). (I’m taking a pass on Paul’s suggestion that right to have a water-wasting toilet or energy-wasting light-bulb can be compared to reproductive rights — the market’s leaving buggy whips and wasteful incandescent light bulbs is not the same thing as abortion, not by any rational stretch.)

    Some people think it would be fun to live in a von Mises-style anarchy, with no government regulation. That’s not life in a well-running (or stumbling) republic in the 21st century. The air pollution alone to be emitted from the 20 or 30 power plants we’d have to build to fulfill Sen. Paul’s and Rep. Barton’s bizarre fantasies would sicken tens of thousands and kill a few dozen, maybe a few hundred. If coal-fired, it would pollute the land with dozens of times the mercury from millions of CFL bulb, and don’t let us dismiss the environmental and social effects of the strip mining or deep mining of the coal (include the beneficial effects, and it’s still a losing proposition for the nation, and for millions of people individually including most of the residents of Kentucky who vote for Rand Paul). Other fuels offer variations on the harms.

    I don’t think we gain much when silly or destructive freedoms are defended by the unhinged or incompetent — near-terminally under-informed at best — with rules that most people don’t want and don’t need.

    Barton’s and Paul’s problems could be cured with a good class in shopping. Isn’t that what a free-market republic in the 21st century should require — as a social norm, not as legislation?

    You know what Cecil says: “Fighting ignorance since 1974 — it’s taking longer than I thought.” Rand Paul and Joe Barton want to fight learning with guns if necessary, or ruining the economy if it can be called a poke in the eye of environmental protection. The war on ignorance shouldn’t require guns and knives.

  2. James Hanley says:

    Ed–OK, I’ll agree that by Rand Paul’s own arguments he admits being an idiot shopper (color me shocked that he’d say something that dumb), but his idiocy is not representative of everyone who rolls their eyes at the law. As to him claiming a right to force manufacturers to keep making inefficient light bulbs, I’d like to see a citation rather than take that at face value (not that I’d be terribly shocked–I’m not exactly an admirer of his towering intellect).

    But if, as you say, the market has already approved the idea of more efficient light bulbs, why is this law necessary? You’re arguing both that the market favors energy-efficient bulbs and that we need a law requiring people to buy them.

    If the concern is purely the externalities of energy generation, why don’t we directly address those instead of taking these roundabout measures that merely try to ameliorate, rather than eliminate, them? Plausibly this roundabout way of making marginal improvements is more politically feasible, but if the issue is the horrendous environmental damage in West Virginia from strip mining, or the mercy contamination from coal-fired power plants (e.g, what’s happened on my local waterway, but downstream from me), I just don’t see that this is serious progress compared to what a more direct policy would be. And while I firmly agree that externalities are one of the generalizable standards of justification for legislation, that’s not what I’m hearing for the most part–most people are arguing about how much energy is wasted by individuals making their own choices, which is a moralistic argument. (If I bought gasoline by the truckload full and burned it just for fun in a warehouse, with excellent pollution controls that kept the pollution below the level of the best available technology on cars, whose business would it be?)

    As to the totally un-regulated Misean society, no one’s arguing for that on this blog. Perhaps Paul and Barton think they are (although I’m sure they love them some regulations on my private life), but that’s not really pertinent to my criticism of the law.

  3. James Kessler says:

    To quote:
    I like both Fred Clark and Ed Darrell. And they’re both very intelligent. But they’re just wrong here. They’re not wrong to support the goal of energy efficiency, but wrong to assume that each good goal justifies using the coercive power of the state to achieve it.

    Yeah of course the problem with your contention is that, with regards to lighbulbs, the “coercive power of the state” has been used for 40 years now. So tell me…exactly how did the idea become so unberable now? How did it become so unbearable 5 years, nearly, after the updated standards were introduced with barely any controversy except for my dingbat Congresswoman? And how did it become so unbearable nearly 40 years after Reagan signed off on the original standards with nary a word of complaint?

    A little late to the party don’t you think?

  4. Matty says:

    I’m inclined to agree, energy efficiency comes with so many carrots (direct savings, subsidies from energy companies who want you to save them money) that reaching for the stick instead seems, shall we say, unimaginative. I would like to see more discussion of how environmental costs can be internalised more generally but paying less for electricity cause you use it more efficiently is an easy one.

  5. James Kessler says:

    Okay, Matty…what sticks?

  6. Pinky says:

    Check out the Frankfurt School and its version of Critical Theory. Especially, I think Jurgen Habermas has a lot to say about your point which amounts to a great example of distorted communication.

    And, your question is right on! Why ARE we given stories on the media about murders in L.A. and Orlando along with stories about some hottie movie starlet getting busted for being DOI or having a baby out of wedlock instead of what really counts–like the national budget and the turkeys in our Congress?

    Ask Habermas.

    I’m no expert on Critical Theory; but, I’m trying to get a blog started on American Society while I learn about and apply Critical Theory.
    .Here’s the link if it’s ok to post it. Otherwise, you can edit it out: http://americansociety-today.blogspot.com/.

  7. James Hanley says:

    James Kessler,

    of course the problem with your contention is that, with regards to lighbulbs, the “coercive power of the state” has been used for 40 years now. So tell me…exactly how did the idea become so unberable now?

    I think you misunderstand me. I have explicitly argued that the law is not unbearable; that I wouldn’t find it worth lobbying against. And while I don’t find it “unbearable” enough to lobby against, I also I would argue that the state should not have been regulating light bulbs this way, period, whether for the last 40 years, the last 5, or just now. The fact that it’s been going on most of my life makes it neither better nor worse. Maybe I am late to the party–that doesn’t mean the party’s been going in the right direction prior to my arrival.

    Pinky–“Check out the Frankfurt School and its version of Critical Theory.” Ah, respectfully, no thanks.

  8. Matty says:

    James Kessler, I am cheerfully ignorant of the details of this particular law but mandating that something must be done implies some kind of penalty if it is not done. If this law does not do that then I withdraw my use of that analogy but am left wondering why it is being called a mandate rather than a request. That said if as you say this is something that has been there for years with little complaint it is bizzare to make an issue of it now. I might add that from the little I’ve heard about Rand Paul it might be worth passing or keeping a law just to annoy him.

  9. James Kessler says:

    THe only thing, Matty, that was mandated was that light bulbs be made more energy efficient. Nothing was banned, no penalities exist that I know of. The regulations in question was requested both by the industries that create light bulbs and the industries that sell them. Why? Because it is cheaper to adhere to one standard…then 50+.

    As for your argument, James, using your logic we should get rid of all regulations or most of them. Sorry, to be blunt and perfectly liberal..the reason regulations exist is because companies can’t be trusted to do the right thing over the cheapest thing. That when you have a group of people whose primary focus is their own greed..yeah they have to be reined in. And you can’t possibly argue that a light bulb that emits 90% heat and 10% light…basically what existed 100 years ago qualifies as being somehow protected from progress even if it is at the hands of government regulation.

    I respect you but with all due respect so called libertarianism is a load of bull. And dangerous bull at that.

  10. Matty says:

    As I said if the law doesn’t impose penalties for non compliance I withdraw my comment about carrots and sticks. Can anyone give me a quick rundown of exactly what the law does? The rest of your reply is confusing me though as you seem to say the same companies wanted and didnt want regulation.

  11. James Kessler says:

    The light bulb makers and the stores that sell them asked for the federal regulations because they wanted to abide by one set of standards rather then leave it up to the whims of the states which would create, basically, 50 different standards. Its the same reason that gas mileage standards are based on a federal standard. Because if they weren’t the states would come up with standards that differed from state to state.

    So basically the opposition is a bunch of people who want to spend more money on less efficient lighbulbs, want the country to use as much energy as possible and don’t care about the consequences because, at least as far as the right wing goes, they believe in the “magic” of the so called “free market.” If the market worked like they pretend, just for examples, SUV’s wouldn’t have survived the first year. Or we wouldn’t have gotten into the financial hellhole that we’ve gotten ourselves into thanks to the self serving interests of the large financial institutions and their paid servants in government.

    As for the rest of what I said, yeah I know its a bit in conflict with what I said about the light bulb makers and sellers. occasionally you get a company that does the right thing even if their reason is because of money. But without regulations more often then not a company would do the worst thing possible because that usually tends to be the cheapest choice. Case in point…Massey Energy.

    THere are some studies that say when in a mob type situation a group of people will lose their sense of ethics and morality because it becomes much easier to justify such poor choices when one is part of a group. Well…top executives at a company usually operate in such a fashion. Their primary focus becomes their own greed and they’re willing to make incredibly poor and wrong choices just as long as it brings them more money. Like I said…Massey Energy is an example. BP is another. Or News Corp’s little problem with hacking into other people’s emails and phones. Or Enron or Bear Sterns or the list goes on and on.

    THe point is if companies could be trusted to do the right thing all the time there wouldn’t be any need for regulations. The problem is..they can’t be trusted. Nor can the people be trusted to choose the right thing all the time either. So…nudging at times is required.

  12. James Hanley says:

    James Kessler,

    The light bulb makers and the stores that sell them asked for the federal regulations because they wanted to abide by one set of standards rather then leave it up to the whims of the states which would create, basically, 50 different standards.

    I agree, and I am sympathetic with the challenges companies face trying to deal with a myriad of state rules. However I did address this above–I don’t agree with pursuing moralistic regulations at the state level, either. But given that it will happen, I don’t blame companies for trying to pre-empt them.

    So basically the opposition is a bunch of people who want to spend more money on less efficient lighbulbs, want the country to use as much energy as possible and don’t care about the consequences because, at least as far as the right wing goes, they believe in the “magic” of the so called “free market.”

    You can’t honestly have read what I wrote and think that’s my position. You’re working off a simplistic political dichotomy, but I don’t see anything in there that represents my stance on the issues. I think you’re wrong, as you think I’m wrong, but I hope I haven’t misrepresented you as badly as you’ve misrepresented me.

    THe point is if companies could be trusted to do the right thing all the time there wouldn’t be any need for regulations.

    A) I don’t trust companies to do the right thing–I trust them to meet consumer demand.
    B) References to “doing the right thing” bring us right back to moralism. You have the freedom to take policy positions based on moralistic reasoning; I have the freedom to criticize taking policy positions based on moralistic reasoning. But as long as you’re beginning with a moralistic position and I’m beginning with a non-moralistic position, there’s precious little likelihood of us coming to agreement or even real understanding because our premises are so fundamentally at odds. I don’t think that makes you a bad person, however. Nor is Ed, with whom I agree on a good number of issues.

  13. James Hanley says:

    James Kessler,

    As for your argument, James, using your logic we should get rid of all regulations or most of them.

    No, James, my logic certainly does not support the idea of getting rid of “all” regulations. Actions that harm others are wholly subject to regulation. Lead paint? I’m wholly for continuing the ban on that because it harms innocent children. Pollution? I don’t think it’s regulated strictly enough.

    But regulations that a) protect a particular group, b) limit behavior “we” don’t like, or c) are too round-a-bout, those I would mostly repeal. a) I would repeal taxicab medallion laws because their sole purpose is to increase the profits of cab companies at the expense of consumers. b) I would deregulate drugs. c) I would repeal regulations on how much water toilets use and just raise the price of water.

    You seem to think that favoring market solutions means trusting businesses–nothing could be further from the truth. Being pro-market is not being pro-business. Unfortunately, too few people, both liberal and conservative, don’t understand that.

    with all due respect so called libertarianism is a load of bull

    Well, with the strawman version of it that you present, I would agree. Fortunately, my version of it isn’t that comic-book version that those who aren’t libertarians seem to think is a complete and accurate depiction of it. I do invite you to stick around and learn that there’s more to libertarianism than that (begin by clicking on the “what is marginal libertarianism” link above). I don’t ask you to agree, and I’m not under any illusions that you’ll be persuaded into libertarianism, but I am optimistic enough to hope that you’d come to a more accurate understanding of what libertarianism is. (And I sincerely hope that didn’t come out snarky or condescending–internet writing can too easily sound so, but I don’t intend that. I honestly do not expect to persuade people, and just as honestly want to get more insightful understandings of libertarianism by those who disagree with it.)

  14. James Hanley says:

    Sorry, one last response:

    you can’t possibly argue that a light bulb that emits 90% heat and 10% light…basically what existed 100 years ago qualifies as being somehow protected from progress even if it is at the hands of government regulation.

    This is an example of the simplistic dichotomy to which I object–the assumption that anyone who opposes the regulation must also oppose progress. But there’s no logical relationship between the two. And if you can find anyplace, either here or at Ed Darrell’s blog, where I argued that light bulbs ought not be improved, I’ll send you a check for $100. Seriously.

  15. ppnl says:

    Compact florescents dude? Seriously? That’s so last Thursday. You need to go to Home Depot and get yourself some LED bulbs.

    Anyway the politicians are just posturing for their constituents.

  16. James Hanley says:

    ppnl,

    I so want some LED bulbs and am anxiously awaiting the mass purchases from folks like you that will ultimately bring the price down to something I can afford. Not at Home Depot, though. That orange gives me headaches.

  17. Ed Darrell says:

    If the concern is purely the externalities of energy generation, why don’t we directly address those instead of taking these roundabout measures that merely try to ameliorate, rather than eliminate, them?

    Energy conservation is the most direct, most efficient, and most permanent way to address the issue. We don’t need to build capacity that isn’t needed.

    The appliance standards to promote energy conservation provide the most direct addressing fo the problems.

  18. James Hanley says:

    Ed,

    As I’ve noted a couple times, energy production companies have long been in the business of avoiding building new power plants by encouraging conservation. So, A) why are you seeming to suggest that what has already been happening in the market requires a government solution, and B) why is it a federal problem instead of a local utility/power company problem?

  19. James Hanley says:

    P.S. Is there something wrong with your sight? For the last two hours, I’ve been unable to connect to it.

    [edit: “site” that is–I hope your vision is ok.]

  20. ppnl says:

    Well LEDs cost close to three times as much as CFLs but they last close to eight times as long. And thats if the CFL lives up to its rated life time which apparently they have not been doing. Buying an LED bulb is like buying three CFLs and getting five free.

    LEDs also have a big percentage increase in efficiency over CFLs. But really this isn’t a reason to buy since they both reduce energy use to such a level that there is only a few watts between them. So it probably makes no sense to simply change out your CFLs but you should consider replacing them with LEDs as they burn out.

  21. ppnl says:

    Ed Darrell,

    Energy conservation is the most direct, most efficient, and most permanent way to address the issue. We don’t need to build capacity that isn’t needed.

    Energy conservation is the most immediate and economically valid way to reduce the impact of energy generation. The problem is that this is not a permanent solution. It is a stopgap at best. There is a serious limit on how far you can reduce the per capita energy usage. The only permanent solution is to replace coal and petroleum. Hopefully whatever you replace them with will have fewer externalities.

  22. James Hanley says:

    ppnl,

    Well, maybe I’ll take a close look at LEDs next time a CFL goes out. I’m all for not having to buy light bulbs over and over. But I’ve been surprised at all the claims about CFLs not lasting long, because I’ve had good luck with them (except for the three-stage ones).

  23. Rob Monkey says:

    I guess what I don’t get is why I should trust the market to make progress over just kicking it in the ass and getting it moving. Lighting a house can be 25% of the energy that house uses. That’s a very significant percentage of the energy use in this country, and we’re pissing it away using relatively ancient technology. You make a good point about raising energy prices, but I see this as a way of avoiding that consequence. People can’t be trusted to make mass good decisions very often, especially when their own relative cost for making the worse decision is not only fairly small, but spread over a long time. So if in the end we require people to replace inefficient bulbs with efficient ones, and it delays the building of power plants/reduces peak load/decreases imported energy/etc., then why not? It seems like this is less onerous to business in general than a massive increase in energy cost, at the expense of some whining from people who liked the bulbs the way they were.

  24. James Hanley says:

    Rob Monkey.

    You make a good point about raising energy prices, but I see this as a way of avoiding that consequence.

    We’re viewing the world through very different lenses. I see the price increases as signaling the consequences of using too much energy, not avoiding it. And if there is no such price signal, then one or both of two things is/are happening: either the resource is plentiful enough we don’t need to make a big deal about using it more efficiently; or some of the costs are not actually being included in the price. I think in this case the “both” applies.

    As to onerousness to businesses, I honestly couldn’t care less what’s onerous to them. There are few things more onerous than market competition. And if forcing them to pay more for energy because it’s getting scarce, or forcing them to internalize currently externalized costs, is too onerous, then the business is not economically efficient.

  25. Rob Monkey says:

    I guess part of why I view this differently is that I know energy is, and has been, one of the most heavily-subsidized industries in the modern era. I kind of accept that as a consequence of having stable energy prices that aren’t subject to bubbles and collapses (Enron notwithstanding). So if we’re already going to artificially deflate the price of energy, which I think has boosted innovation, as well as raise the standard of living for a great many people, then I accept a little further meddling in the form of a little forced conservation. To be fair, I’m a lot more forgiving of legislation that forces people to do something to benefit the environment than in other cases, mostly because unlike other species we seem to love shitting where we eat and, especially in America, we refuse to look environmental problems square in the eye and see the scope of them.

    Maybe this analogy only makes sense in my head, but consider recycling. Since I’m lucky enough to have curbside recycling I recycle every damn thing I can. I think there’s a lot of advantages: I only have to take out the kitchen garbage once every two weeks or so, the garbage isn’t full of bulky packaging materials, and I only have to wheel the big can to the curb about once a month. I’ve probably reduced my landfill trash by 75%, by doing the oh-so-arduous task of breaking down a couple cardboard boxes and half-assedly rinsing out cans or jars before tossing them into the bin (single-stream recycling is the bee’s knees). Many of my neighbors and friends, however, say “fuck it.” They throw everything in the trash, and every single week the street is full of giant garbage cans mostly full of perfectly good recyclable materials that are now ruined after mixing with actual landfill waste. These lazy assholes (and yes, I call my friends that when it’s warranted), can’t be bothered to do the literally less than 5 minutes a week extra labor to recycle, but who’s going to pay for a new landfill when we’ve filled up the old one? All of us of course, even those of us who tried to actually live in a way that says, “I give a fuck about my community, so I’m going to do the paltry amount of first-world ‘work’ involved in not being a selfish douchebag.” So in the end, I guess I’m a lot happier forcing lackadaisical luddite losers to adopt new and better technology than I am happy supporting an electric infrastructure designed around less-than-rational consumer “choices.”

  26. ppnl says:

    But I’ve been surprised at all the claims about CFLs not lasting long, because I’ve had good luck with them (except for the three-stage ones).

    Well they do last long in comparison to incandescent bulbs its just that they don’t last as long as they are rated for. There were no independent checks before they went on the market. As a result there is variation between manufacturers and probably between batches.

    Independent testing of the life of LEDs is part of the energy star certification.

  27. James Hanley says:

    Rob Monkey, If energy is in fact that heavily subsidized (and I’m in no position to either verify or dispute that claim at the moment), then I think the proper solution is to stop doing so. As I said upthread, if those are the real issues, then mucking about with lightbulbs is not a very direct way to solve the problem.

    I’m a lot more forgiving of legislation that forces people to do something to benefit the environment than in other cases,
    Well, yes. Despite my bitching about the moralism that lies behind this policy for so many of its supporters, I’m definitely more forgiving of this particular law than many other moralist laws.

    ppnl, So how long are LEDs supposed to last? And I assume they’re making them compact enough to fit in enclosed light fixtures? (Sometimes compact fluorescents aren’t quite compact enough, which has caused me problems in a couple of fixtures.)

  28. ppnl says:

    So how long are LEDs supposed to last? And I assume they’re making them compact enough to fit in enclosed light fixtures?

    Here is the one I use……

    http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Light-Bulbs-LED/EcoSmart/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbm79Z4b8/R-202188260/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    It claims a 50,000 hour life span but that may be the time till it loses 15% of its brightness. Here is the 60 watt bulb……

    http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Light-Bulbs-LED/EcoSmart/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbm79Z4b8/R-202668646/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    Notice it is over twice the price and half the life span. It’s still decades of normal use but still wherever possible it is better to use two 40 watt bulbs. Thats 20 more watts total with twice the life span at a lower price.

    It is still a new technology and I expect in the near future you will replace your circuit breaker more often than your light bulb.

  29. ppnl says:

    If energy is in fact that heavily subsidized…

    Kinda depends on what you call a subsidy. Do we count one or both Gulf wars as a subsidy? How much do we charge for the mess from the Gulf oil spill? Oh wait that is payed for. In fact according to some we owe BP an apology for making them pay so much.

    The thing about externalities is it can be hard to put a price on them.

  30. James Hanley says:

    Kinda depends on what you call a subsidy

    Yeah, those questions can be tricky, especially when all of us are influenced by our ideologies.

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