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The contemporary incandescent light bulb is basically the same as Thomas Edison’s primitive 1880s version: a thin wire element heated white hot that produces heat, heat and more heat and consumes huge amounts of electricity to produce crappy quality light and has a short life-cycle.

You are aware that up to 38 percent of the heat load in a 40-story high-rise building is attributable to incandescent light bulbs. This means that the capacity of the chiller systems, pumps, piping systems, cooling towers, air distribution systems and electrical systems must be sized up accordingly. This also means more labor to operate and maintain these systems. A union building engineer’s loaded hourly rate is between $60 to $90 an hour depending on geographic area.

You are aware that due to the incandescent bulb’s short life, most large commercial facilities must incur the costs of a lighting company on an ongoing basis or hire a full-time utility person to replace high frequency incandescent bulb burnouts, including fire and life safety signage, which must be inspected daily. If this task is performed in-house, building management must stockpile hundreds of incandescent light bulbs … idle capital sitting on a shelf.


Here are the facts: The compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL, lasts up to 20 times longer, produces virtually no heat and consumes only 25 percent of the electricity of the incandescent bulb. The CFL bulb produces full spectrum light that is very similar to natural sunlight. One CFL bulb can replace up to three incandescent bulbs in lighting value. The CFL bulbs are available in dimmable versions and in shapes that look almost identical to all popular incandescent bulbs. The shapes are made from high impact polycarbonate shatterproof plastic that will not burst or break. Hit them with a hammer, stand on them – they will not break!

The CFL bulb contains four milligrams of mercury, about the size of a 12-point period dot. Compare that to the glass thermometer containing 500 milligrams of mercury that your mama inserted in your mouth or up your rectum. This is the same thermometers that kids used to purposely break so they could play with the balls of mercury. (Speaking of mercury, how much mercury is contained in children’s inoculations?)

Most cities operate high-temperature waste disposal incinerator/boiler co-generation electrical plants that accept fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs. Because the utility companies pay for the co-generated electricity produced, the waste disposal rates are minimal. The incinerated by-products are wisps of inert ash.

CFL bulbs have been widely accepted and used in all sectors. The free marketplace is working just fine. Government mandating is as stupid as talk radio hysterical rants based on shallow analysis and obstinate ignorance. This does an uncalled for disservice to hard-working, highly qualified, innovative people and companies. Talk radio fear-mongering tactics are no better than the tactics used by radical environmental lunatics.

Every summer when dry bulb temperatures exceed 90 degrees F. and relative humidity (wet bulb) increases (dry bulb + wet bulb = total heat), utility companies and their operators struggle to maintain electrical continuity for air conditioning systems from window rattlers to huge central systems in high-rise buildings unnecessarily throttled up to deal with the additional internal heat load from primitive incandescent light bulbs. Independent operators like California ISO have little choice but to initiate rolling brownouts or blackouts in non-critical areas. Electrical power plants built 20-30 years ago are at full throttle and stressed to the limit. System failures happen when equipment is over-stressed, especially older systems.

Since the energy industry is being held hostage by the environmental lunatics and no new nuclear or clean coal generating plants will be built until the people of this country wake up and start voting in real conservatives to government leadership, what in hell are we to do? Complain, whine and make ignorant, fear-mongering cheap-shots to confuse/scare people and screw up the work of trained engineers, scientists and informed technicians, then more complaining and whining when we suffer through brownouts, blackouts and more stupid government mandates? There are distinct consequences between reactive (whining) and proactive (action).

We have technologies that can reduce demand on aged electrical generation and fragile distribution systems without compromise to quality of life. Buy a National BOMA Exchange Manual. It documents the operating costs per square foot in most real estate markets. For example, there isn’t a mechanical/electrical/utilities operating expense in a large high-rise building that cannot be reduced by 20 percent and more likely 30 percent.

Its called OPTIMIZATION ENGINEERING … optimizing existing systems to operate at peak efficiency, minimizing operating costs and capital outlays without cuts in quality or essential services, maximizing net profits, value-added directly to the bottom line.

The CFL bulb represents one of the available proactive technologies. So what is your problem with win-win-win proactive solutions! This epitomizes conservative talk radio of today – minimal, if any, proactivity, just reactive WHINING! Disingenuous FRAUDS!

Robert Dickman


Related special offer:

“I’m pro-choice on light bulbs” bumper sticker

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