Greenius Readers’ Lighting Reports

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Green Greetings All,

The response to last weekend’s “Greening My Lighting” report has been fabulous.  Several of our readers were kind enough to share their own experiences with us and here’s what they had to say: 

Hey Joe,

OK, here are my experiences with CF lighting. As you know I travel to Philadelphia to visit my mom. She is 87 and has the usual issues with being that age. One thing she does which bothered me is that she feels safer with lights on in the house day and night!  This habit drove me nuts because every time I would visit I would be replacing lamps since some were always burned out.  Mom is on a fixed income and was paying a high price for electricity since her 1953 original Levittown house is completely electric. 

Well, on one of my many visits I replaces every light in the house, which by the way cost me approximately $105.00, a high price you might think. Well I have to announce that she noticed a $20.00 dollar decrease in her bill the first month! It has been 2 years now and I have not had to replace a lamp and i estimate that she has saved almost $500.00 since the installation, great for her and the environment.

As for my own home I also did the same but was having a difficulty with the lights in the house that were on dimmers. The problem is solved “Greenlite” makes dimmable CF along with three way ones for your old style floor lamps. I found these on the web at “SmartHome.Com“, they work great. I still have a few incandescent lamps left in the house but I am planing to exchange them by the new year. I will also say that my wife, Tracy, has noticed a difference on the electric bill which by the way she pays. My investment was minimal since you informed me of the “K-Mart” program.

Thank you Mr. Joe and keep up the green work.

Your friend, Burt

Burt really knows lighting, – as well as electrical, plumbing, construction auto mechanics and probably quantum physics as well – he’s been a technical director for huge live shows and events for as long as I’ve known him.  The “K-Mart” program he mentions is actuallySouthern California Edison’s lamp exchange program where they’ll take your incandescent desk lamps and halogen torchaire lamps and exchange them for compact fluorescent lights.

Joe,

This is such a great site!!

I have trouble with the bulbs when I need to put them on automatic on and off or photocell outside. I tried to go over to a lot of bulbs at the hangar but in most of our areas we have auto on and off and I have to find one that will work with that kind of switch especially for the long fluorescent type bulbs. Then at home on the exterior I like to use a photocell and the only place I found something compatible was at this bulb store in the Valley (I forget the name) and the fixture is expensive and blows out a lot. It is very inconvenient to go to the specialty store all the time. So there is my comment. Let me know what you think. 

Love ya, Jude 

Jude owns an airplane hangar which is used for TV/Film shoots, live special events and all manner of cool gigs for the Lakers, MTV, Nickelodeon and others.  I have had the very same problem she talks about with the new Compact Flourescent Lights I used to replace my garage flood lights.  They were the DuraBrite brand.  I use screw in photocell adapters which have worked great for the last 15 years with my halogen floodlights.  But the CFL bulbs flickered when I put them in and then went dead less than 24 hours later.  It could be that they’re not compatible with my old photocell adapters.  If that’s the case there’s money top be made for someone producing photocell adapters that WILL work with these bulbs.  I’m going to contact the manufacturer and see what they say. I will say that the two bulbs I put in the motion sensor fixture on the back of my garage have worked great.  Like other CFL bulbs though they take about 20 seconds to warm up to full intensity.

Joe,

The only problem I have with the bulbs that you didn’t discuss (as an artist, I still don’t particularly like the color they give off, either) is that if you’re prone to headaches (luckily I don’t get migraines, but have several friends who do), fluorescent bulbs make them worse and in some cases set them off. That’s a bad thing. 

There’s a guy at work, for example, who works in the dark with just his desk lamp to prevent the fluorescent bulbs from setting off his migraines. It’s a serious consideration for folks like that. 

Kitte 

Kitten works for an environmental engineering firm.  Here’s what I wrote to her:

Hi Kitten,

Thanks for weighing in. You always bring up points no one else does. I know quite a few people don’t dig the CFLs because they don’t think the color is as good as incandescents. But I like the full spectrum CFL bulbs in reading lamps like the ones Deb and I use at home from Full Spectrum Solutions. We have a 55w and a 70w reading lamp. 

Here’s a link:

These produce pretty close to outdoor daylight in the color temperature. I have heard people complain about the old style of long tube fluorescent in terms of headaches and migraines but I haven’t heard anyone bring this up with the CFL bulbs.

Here’s a possible LED based solution for that I just read about on TreeHugger. 

They’re expensive but superior in a lot of ways.

Your friend, Joe

One of my good friends who I first met in high school in New Jersey, Bets is a museum curator now living in London, England and provided this trans-Atlantic report about lighting there.  She’s only been there about a year:

Hey friend,

Well…more complicated here, I think: we have little halogen spots in our rental flat, which probably eat up more energy than a resurrected jesus. The builder was obliged to have 10% ‘energy efficient’ lighting, which means that the lights in our hallway (only!) are of that type–I don’t know if they are CFL or what. I don’t know what sort of bulbs are available here–they’re still using a perplexing variety of methods to fit the bulb in the socket–some screw in (different sizes), some are ‘torpedo’ or ‘bullet’ fixtures, some have two little pins that you line up and turn to lock… If I can figure this stuff out and find bulbs that are compatible with whatever weird fixtures we have, I’d do it. If we owned our own home, I would try to ensure that all were green fixtures.     Recycling is pretty well the norm here (papers, plastics, cans and glass), and there’s a lot of concern about one’s ‘carbon footprint’. For ex., in the travel section of the paper travel articles are accompanied by an estimate of carbon output the journo expended and what the paper did to offset that. And lord knows Britain’s never been real strong on central heating so we’re ahead of the curve there.

Looking forward to reading more on the website. 

Love– Bets

Interestingly England hasn’t standardized their lighting the way we have in the USA.  They have many more types of bulb connectors as Bets reports.  But one thing they are doing in England that we are not is by legally mandating better energy efficiency.  Here’s a great article about what’s going on over the pond.  

“The most energy-guzzling light bulbs in Britain will start disappearing from shop shelves early next year as part of efforts to cut CO2 emissions, Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn said this week.

The voluntary initiative, which is being led by major retailers and energy suppliers, will see energy efficient light bulbs replace their least efficient equivalents on shop shelves over the next four years”

Thanks again to those of you who wrote in to tell me about your experiences.  I’ll keep you updated on this issue and pass along other comments as they come in.

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