LED Bulb Revolution

This week’s two major U.S. news stories give hope to environmentalist and everyday consumers – like you and me.  Maybe our federal government will finally step up to the plate about climate change and get serious about reducing the U.S. carbon output in a meaningful way.  The purposed legislation is not a perfect solution, it has been diluted through compromise, but it is not a bad start.

On the heels of last week’s oil gusher, two big steps were taken in the right direction;  the introduction of the American Power Act and the EPA’s public proclamation to provide all available resources to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

We’ll have to watch how this all unfolds and as individuals we need to continue encouraging our elected representatives with our points-of-view on this matter, all the while taking our own personal steps to reduce our personal CO2 output.

Gore made an interesting point on the BP disaster. “This is a consciousness-shifting event.  It is one of those clarifying moments that brings a rare opportunity to take the longer view….”.

So what’s this mean in every day, every Joe terms?  Joe the Carbon Guy?

Two things.  At the higher level, let’s keep the pressure on our elected officials – at all levels of our government – to keep pushing the climate agenda forward – no matter how much the conservative ostriches continue to deny that any real changes are taking place in our climate around us.

In terms of denier rebuttal, check out some pretty amusing and information video clips can be found on YouTube – Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

On the individual consumer basis, there is some breaking news about one of the more simple things in life – changing a light bulb.  Yes, some say it’s mundane, but it can really make an impact mostly because it is something we can all individually control.  And there is no such thing as clean coal and nothing to that effect in any of our lifetimes.

Surprisingly there are plenty of people out there who are still buying old fashion, energy-gulping incandescent bulbs just because they have outdated information when they make their purchase decision.  About two years ago, Congress passed legislation to phase out incandescent bulbs starting next year.

More LEDs are hitting your local hardware store shelves

I’m handy around the house, so I frequently shop at either my favorite local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowes.  Over the last three years, I’ve been watching the household bulb display slowly migrate from mostly energy-gulping halogen and incandescent light bulbs to a larger and larger percentage of shelf space for CFLs.  Until recently, LEDs were nowhere to be found on these shelves and were only available through specialty stores and online retailers.

But earlier this week, while at my local Home Depot, I noticed a new eye-catching display section with an assortment of LED’s, at affordable prices – around $15 each!  I purchased two to give them a try.

When making the purchase decision for LED bulbs, you have to adjust to a different set of purchase economics. We are accustomed to buying a bulb with hardly any up-front purchase costs, but then we pay through the nose for high-energy consumption at the back-end …. But you can recover your up-front investment in less than a year and immediately reduce your carbon footprint, your output of greenhouse gasses.

Consider either one of these “bright” green hostess gifts:

These new LED bulbs cast out the equivalent of a 40-50 old fashion watt bulb and only use 5 watts, about the same of bathroom night-light.  No hum, no warm-up, no mercury worries, absolutely no tradeoffs.

Plus their estimates of your savings on the package, in my opinion, are understated and because its based on 10 cents a kilowatt which factor in cheap energy states like Montana and does not include all the taxes and surcharges tacked onto your electric bill that add another 30-50% to the electric cost.   Here in the Washington, D.C area, we pay 18c a kilowatt, bottom-line.

I used the two LEDs that I bought to replace a few slow-lighting CFL’s and find the quality of light to be very comfortable.  Like an incandescent in color, brightness, and instant-on, but at a fraction of the carbon output and energy cost.

As exciting as this sounds, maybe its time to re-visit your favorite hardware store and take a new look at your bulb options.  Hope is on the shelves!

Time to Toss Out Your Incandescents

Looking into the near future, earlier this week, Philips Electronics introduced a new LED bulb that will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010.  It’s called the Endura LED and is designed to replace the most popular 60-watt incandescent light bulb and save you 80% in energy usage. This LED is rated for 25,000 hours, so it will be years, maybe even a decade, before you have to shop for a replacement.  Plus think of all the carbon you’ll be saving.


About the author

Keith Blizzard

A life-long environmentalist, Keith set out on the never ending journey of adjusting his lifestyle to a more sustainable one, with a goal of annually shrinking his carbon footprint. When he looked around for a dependable source of meaningful carbon footprint reduction ideas, it was pretty lame - so he launched Green Blizzard loaded with eco-friendly lifestyle tweaks. When he's not managing Green Blizzard, you'll find him on the trails around Mid Coast Maine with his trusty trail companion mutt, Moose.