Monday, July 9, 2012

Light bulbs discontinued

A popular song lyric from the 1960’s proclaims, “You don’t know what you have got, till it’s gone”. That situation could indeed be the case for many owners of obsolete, but still widely used T12 fluorescent lighting systems.The "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007" eliminates the common T12 linear fluorescent lamps this month. Hundreds of millions of these bulbs still remain hanging above our heads and are used in small businesses and homes. I'm afraid many Americans will be literally left in the dark and face what can be expensive changes or retrofits because notice of the changes were so poorly communicated. What happened to the "public service announcements", notes and reminders, as well as stories in the media concerning the planed change?

This bulb will simply vanish and be unavailable as part of a law that eliminates from the market most of the remaining commonly used types of T12 linear fluorescent lamps by July 2012. The reason is the relative inefficiency of those T12 fluorescent lamps, compared to more energy-efficient alternatives. The magnetic ballasts required to operate those bulbs lamps were phased out in July of 2010. This legislation will directly affect many commercial, retail and institutional businesses; it will even affect some residences where these lights are often used in places like basements and garages. The poor communication concerning the end of availability means little time for many people to take action and become prepared for the consequences of this law that affects their daily life.

There are several alternative paths to addressing the issue of the pending unavailability of T12 fluorescent lamps. In the short term, having an adequate supply of new spare lamps on hand provides you with the ability to “keep the lights on”, until a long-term approach is selected. But the stock-pile ahead strategy is at best, only a temporary measure; since when the ballast expires, it is “game over”. You should also be aware that ballast failure can be accelerated by not replacing worn out fluorescent lamps promptly, usually in pairs, when they fail to light. The longer term approaches includes the expensive retrofitting of each existing light fixture with an electronic ballast and the same, or a lesser quantity, of T8 lamps,or replacing the existing light fixture with a new fixture containing these more energy efficient ballast and lamps

The lawmakers, with the help of a group of self serving lobbyist from the lighting industry, when making the decision to stop T12 bulb replacement failed to consider that these bulbs often have a lifespan of over ten years. The T12 bulb is still far more efficient then what most people think of as the normal screw in light bulb. A more orderly phaseout would of been more sensible and caused less harm both financially and environmentally as millions of ballast and fixtures, some seldom used, will now, because of this law prematurely find their way into landfills. I want to point out that if a fixture is seldom used, being slightly less efficient becomes less important.

While I advocate and support the goal of higher energy efficiency and had started several years ago to convert my buildings over to the more efficient T8 bulbs, I was blindsided by the phaseout and halt in T12 bulb manufacturing. I only found out about the planned phaseout weeks ago, for you that failed to notice, as my bio states I own and operate a large amount of real estate both commercial and residential. Please note; far better ways exist for government to move America towards more intelligent and efficient energy use then poorly crafted laws like this one that renders fixtures or appliances obsolete and offers next to impossible to use tax credits.


If you are interested in the environment,  I would encourage you to read a few of  my other post concerning the subject:      
                       Tuesday, January 24, 2012  Candidates shy away from "C" word
                       Thursday, April 12, 2012    What’s in a footprint?
                       Saturday, April 28, 2012     Electric cars

1 comment:

  1. Government consumer information is good - but then free choice.
    If the T12s were not so popular, there would be no "need" to ban them.
    And if the alternatives are so "great", why assume consumer stupidity in noticing that, plenty of other
    "expensive to buy but cheap in the long run" products marketed and sold, look at woollen suits, look at Energizer bunny batteries!

    Unfortunately, there is no free lunch:
    All products have advantages - energy saving is only one advantage.

    Besides, the energy savings from lighting switchovers are small for many reasons....
    "The Deception behind the Arguments used to ban Light Bulbs and other Products"