Changing light bulbs doesn't please everyone

Posted by jamie — 6 January 2009 at 6:10pm - Comments

So we start to wave a fond farewell to the incandescent light - since its first demonstration in the 19th Century it has served us well, but the brutal march of progress has made it obsolete since the development of CFLs over 30 years ago. Even though the current depletion of 150W, 100W and 75W bulbs being reported in the press is only part of a voluntary agreement (no sensible efficiency standards here), there's a binding EU agreement (of sorts) on the way and the days of the filament bulb are numbered.

This rather quiet victory in the struggle for improved energy efficiency standards has not gone unnoticed by the more conservative sections of the media. The comments attached to the Daily Mail's story (they never fail to stir my blood) are, needless to say, fit to bursting over this intervention in the natural order of things. But is it any wonder when the paper itself explains that the phase-out is "part of a government campaign to force people into buying low-energy fluorescent bulbs".

Also complaining is Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian. I'm not quite sure what his gripe is, but it seems to be based on aesthetics: "...these pendulous pear-like fruits of the Industrial Revolution must die as ugly design extends its endless remit," he wails. Each to their own, I suppose, but artists have been using fluorescent lighting for years such as Dan Flavin and, more recently, Jason Bruges.

But never mind that. Have you seen the pretty pictures of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square? It's stuffed full of LEDs which are even more efficient than the best CFLs currently on the market. They're a bit too expensive for mass consumption just now, but as the price comes down they'll become more common and who knows? Perhaps in years to come, the Mail will be moaning about the disappearance of our traditional CFLs.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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