OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Being a dick about Earth Hour

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  • Tim McKenzie,

    Don't fluorescent bulbs badly affect some autism spectrum people? I'm sure someone else here (e.g., Russell) knows more about this than I do, but that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the idea of banning incandescent bulbs. I think I was in Canada at the time, studying maths. There was a guy in my building there who left the (fluorescent) lights off in his (windowless) office, and worked by the light of a lamp on his desk.

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Crikey, google "CFL wiring" and you quickly find out who are the real experts on such things are. Some very enthusiastic amateurs out there amongst the indoor gardening community...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Unless you're suggesting that scientists and academics made all that shit up?

    Well, duh. All that Scientific Method stuff is sooooo twentieth century. We just try to draw graphs that look pretty. Right, Bart?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Don't fluorescent bulbs badly affect some autism spectrum people? I'm sure someone else here (e.g., Russell) knows more about this than I do, but that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the idea of banning incandescent bulbs.

    I'm aware of that -- and of people having to avoid fluorescent lighting in offices.

    But there seems to have been zero impact on our kids. Which, I hasten to add, doesn't mean that the new bulbs aren't a problem for some people on the spectrum. I just don't know of any cases.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    We just try to draw graphs that look pretty.

    It's so easy now too, just push a button in excel. Oh and we just download the data from teh interwebs straight into excel. Hardly takes any time at all and we can go home early and hoon around the streets in our Loti.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    If you have purchased quality bulbs and have more then one blow out in under a year I'd say that suggests your wiring is wonky, not the bulbs are crap.

    Fair enough, although I am not certain I did in fact get quality brands... Can anyone give a recommendation of a brand? Perhaps I can help if someone is not allowed to suggest/recommend a brand: reply if you consider "ecobulbs" a high quality brand

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I still haven't bought any of these new-fangled lightbulbs - not because I don't think they are a good idea, but because none of our old incandescent bulbs have blown in the last couple of years, apart from the little halogen jobbies that we have in the lounge. Do they make the CFL-jobbies that will replace those? Oh, and the ones in the lounge are on a dimmer, too. I understand that makes a difference.

    I will be happy to replace any of our old 'standard' incandescent bulbs with CFL ones when they finally go 'plink' - but the consensus seems to be that I should replace them even before plink-point. Is that right? It would go against the grain of my Scottish heritage but I am prepared to make concessions for the fate of the planet.

    And I'll try to remember not to take the V8 to the shops to buy them.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Ecobulbs, Phillips and Osram are all good

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    "I don't particularly like the light given off by CFL's but word has it that they will be available in different colours soon"

    Soon has been and gone... available now.

    When I was in CFL buying mode about 18 months ago..... Mitre-10's home brand called "Basix" had in-store demonstrations of their two available colours.... cold white (brighter, blue-ish) and warm white (slightly dimmer, yellow). They were about $2.50 from memory?

    I have over 20 CFLs in our house.... Some are the "quality" ecobulbs, some are Basix from mitre-10, some are RED from the warehouse, and some are Philips..... I've had one fail as in stop making light... but four of them from 3 different brands have had one of the bayonet mounting pins fall out, so they dont sit in the bulb-holder properly... I find this strange because its the same mechanical design as the incandescents I've been using for my whole life and have never had this type of failure before.

    In the case of one RED bulb, the pin was missing from new... the Warehouse exchanged it without issue. I havent tried to get refunds/exchanges on the ones that worked for a while then fell out...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Um, I'm not sure if it's been mentioned here, but there wasn't a ban.

    There was a minimum energy performance standard (MEPS). Important difference. Not all incandescents were knocked out by it.

    It's a very useful policy instrument, and can be used to great effect. The Japanese have applied moving minimum standards for the last two decades now,where "manufacturers produce products that are better than products with the highest energy consumption efficiency of all the products in the same group that are currently sold on the market."

    Too bad we can't even change a bloody lightbulb.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    The idea being that the reduced heat output from bulbs (powered by hydro) will be replaced by increased central heating (powered by burning natural gas).

    Interesting. I can see the fuel replacement argument, but surely, a lightbulb on the ceiling (with 50+% of the heat going straight up) can't be that effective as a heater, right?

    Besides, the answer is to just get blimmin' electric heaters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    but the consensus seems to be that I should replace them even before plink-point. Is that right? It would go against the grain of my Scottish heritage but I am prepared to make concessions for the fate of the planet.

    It is right, let your inner Scotsman know that it is costing him more to run the GLS bulbs then it is to buy and run a CFL. Its becasue a GLS (standard lightbulb) is basically a small heater that happens to give off a bit of light. You can justify the replacement from a purely selfish point of view, the fact it is a good thing to do is a bonus.

    Energymad do do a halogen replacement unit too

    Ordinary dimmers are not good for ordinary CFLs, gets a bit specialised/technical but if you really really want to you can get dimmable CFLs, but really who cares.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    I actually liked 'Fuck Earth Hour' better as a title.

    Well, the reference to the Dimmer Brigade in the first draft read: "Fuck you you shiteating fucknuts. Fuck you to hell and then fuck you to hell some more."

    A literary gem, really. But it broke the narrative stride, I thought.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I don't think we have an incandescent bulb left in our unit now - not even in the globe fitting that lights our front door. Every time an incandescent died we've thrown in a CFL. To date, not a single one has died on us - not even the RED brand bulb I put into our elderly desk lamp more than three years ago.

    Won't hear a word against them, but then we don't have dimmers, so we would say that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Um, Keith, aren't you out by a factor of 1000?

    (Panic!)

    Wait, don't freak me out like that. 8-) I used Wh for household consumption, and I divided it by 1000 for CO2e/kWh.

    38 checks later, yes, that is still right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    What really gets me going though is plasma TVs. They're a nightmare. Their consumption is extremely high, much more so than CRT, and much much more than LCD TVs, which are slightly more expensive but deliver high picture quality anyway.

    The Greens suggested a standard that would effectively exclude them from the market. The same standards that are being applied in the UK, EU, Japan, and California, among other places. The dimwits were oh so glad that the New Zealand Government has no intention to insist that such appliances are efficient.

    Cause, y'know, standards are bad, or something, y'know.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Jeez, Keith, does having a dimmer in the lounge make me a "shiteating fucknut"?

    And there I was thinking I wanted to be able to reduce the light levels so our* smoochy tv-watching would be just a tad more romantic.

    * 'Our' being me & my sweetie, not me & Keith

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Its becasue a GLS (standard lightbulb) is basically a small heater that happens to give off a bit of light.

    Now that the insulation fund has been scrapped,and no higher standards will be put in place, poor and rich New Zealanders (insulation is generally still terrible in most expensive homes) will need all the heating they can get.

    Even if their lightbulbs are heating their uninsulated ceilings.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    CFLs are cheaper at producing power, through savings in replacing incandescant bulb usage, then building new power stations by a factor of about 7

    Thanks for your input on the thread Andrew - it's always great to hear from the guy who was actually at the heart of it. Out of curiosity, did you see the Chandelier Defence coming? While writing this, I tried to put myself in your shoes, and I'm not sure if I'd be fucked off or just completely dumbfounded at the energy efficiency arguments being countered by "but my chandeliers won't sparkle".

    We were not in favour of a full ban on incandescant bulbs.

    We thought a market based solution with high quality products demonstrating benfits was better then forcing people into behavioural changes. We had some evidence from the UK that home owners were removing dedicated CFL fittings and putting standard light fittings in becasue they didn't like being forced into having dedicated CFLs.

    I didn't realise that "people being dicks" was actually factored into your consideration. Still, changing sockets and stockpiling bulbs is a pretty high barrier ain't it?

    Surely, the Garth George types must suffer the same kind of credibility gap as environmentalists who are all talk and no action. "Meh, all my friends know I'm wasting energy, so why bother actually making an effort to waste energy?"

    There are issues with power quality when you increase the penetration rates of CFLs (they are non linear loads that cause power factor issues and harmonic problems - which can mean extra problems elsewhere in the supply system and yoour appliances). The quality of the bulbs has a major impact, banning bulbs would allow a flood of the cheaper CFLs in that excacerbate these issues.

    Didn't know that. Interesting problem...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    We were not in favour of a full ban on incandescant bulbs.

    Andrew, was this public information at the time? I don't recall this being reported, since presumably, Brownlee would've been all over it, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I've linked to this about a trillion times (not here though), but it's worth repeating.

    Business has a lot to gain from efficiency (we all do, of course). It's not just hair shirted hippies endorsing this stuff.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    I just wish that larger CFL bulbs (i.e. >20 watts = >100 watt equivalent incandescent) were more generally available. I have seen bigger ones in specialist stores but their colour temperature was all cold-white rather than warm-white. Cold-white may be fine in a workshop but in a domestic situation they are the pits.
    I don't mind the soft-start to CFL bulbs, but I find that a maximum of 100 watts-equivalent in a medium - large sized room just isn't enough.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    I hate earth hour! It just feels so sanctimonious and smug. I think I'll go and turn on every light and apppliance while its on ;-)

    I was pissed off with the ban on incandesant bulbs, just because of the way it was done - I'd already swapped most of mine over, quite happily, but I didn't like having another ban imposed.This is one area where the market would have led people naturally to the better environmental choice.

    Michael:

    No. Because a) there was so much misinformation going around about safety and functionality, and b) because the price signals for electricity doesn't get through. Power gets charged in one big bulk, and you don't know what you're being charged for, or where the savings comes from. And because the savings for a lightbulb is spread out over its lifetime, people don't buy a lightbulb and immediately see the savings. Hence, the market doesn't work in this situation.

    There are plenty of situations where the market doesn't work and the state steps in. It's not a lefty thing, it's an economics thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewMcilroy,

    Another place to buy the energy savers (Marexim brand) is:
    http://www.energysmartschoolstrust.co.nz/

    All the different types catered for (and they were really good about sorting out when we ordered screw ins instead of the bayonet jobbies. 2 years into their 9 year life we've had no dramas with any of them

    Best things about these is they aren't the hideous looking curly ones so most people can't tell! - and less kids trying to hock off chocolate at your door every 2nd day!

    Disclaimer: As this sounds like a sell job: I don't work for them but I know someone who used to work at Marexim and he put me onto them

    BOP • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Ahh, agree with Stewart.

    Fucked to hell and back if this shiteating fucknut is going to replace the one dimmer in his house to accommodate the only two incandescent bulbs which it drives. Besides, doesn't dimming the lights reduce the amperage of the electricity we're consuming? (admittedly, physics ain't my strong suit).

    I've got enough on my plate getting the insulation up to scratch (thanks EECA & Right House!).

    Of course, CFLs are used wherever possible. But removing the only type of bulb which a certain type of system can use seems draconian.

    Also, local bodies have a long way to go to make CFL recycling (which contain mercury) more available to jo blow. Compared to glass, plastic and paper, you really have to work hard to know how to ditch the the things.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

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