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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:02 PM
Original message
Germans protest "Light bulb socialism"
www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,638494,00.html

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Germans are hoarding traditional incandescent light bulbs as their planned phase out -- in favor of energy-saving compact flourescent bulbs -- approaches.
.
The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.

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And hoarding doesn't seem to be just a customer phenomenon. The EU law only forbids producing and importing incandescent bulbs but does not outlaw their sale. "We've stocked up well," a spokesman for Praktiker told SPIEGEL. And what's ironic -- in the short term, at least -- is that the companies that manufacture the climate-killing bulbs are seeing a big boost in sales. According to the GfK market research company, sales in Germany of incandescent light bulbs between January and April 20, 2009, saw a 20 percent jump over the same period a year earlier, while CFL sales shrank by 2 percent.......

'Light Bulb Socialism'

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But -- like laws on bent cucumbers -- many have mocked the light bulb legislation as just another example of an EU bureaucracy gone wild. Holger Krahmer, for example, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany's business-friendly FDP party has accused the EU of imposing 'light bulb socialism."



For some, the issue is also one of broken promises. For example, manufacturers of CFL bulbs justify their higher prices by claiming that they last much longer than traditional bulbs. But a recent test by the environmentally-oriented consumer-protection magazine ko Test found that 16 of the 32 bulb types tested gave up the ghost after 6,000 hours of use -- or much earlier than their manufacturers had promised.

And then, of course, there's the issue of the light the bulbs emit. Many complain that the lights are just not bright enough and that they falsify colors. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, for example, recently made a bulk order for 600 incandescent light bulbs to make sure that it can keep illuminating the works it displays in the time-honored way. ..The aesthetic issue is a powerful one. For Munich-based lighting designer Ingo Maurer, the CFL bulbs are ushering in a decrease in the quality of life. "We recommend protests against the ban, civil disobedience and the timely hoarding of lighting implements," Maurer told SPIEGEL. He also adds that he believes the ban might drive more people to use more candles, which are about as bad as you can get in terms of energy efficiency.

As Wiesner sees it, Brussels did it all wrong. Rather than banning incandescent bulbs, Wiesner argues, it should have slapped a 5 surcharge on every incandescent bulb, arguing that it would have made people think a bit more before buying them. "That move alone would have been enough to allow the EU to achieve its goal," Wiesner says.

Reported by Alexander Jung


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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. What a bunch of wet wankers.
I've used the bloody things (CFLs) long before they became this (extended fad) and they're absolutely wonderful.

Indeed, I've had so many fellow apartment dwellers, looking at the bright glow from my apartment at night, ask me if I'm violating fire codes because they're so bright and the fixture's rated wattage is only 60. Nope, I'm only using 26w, using simulated daylight CFLs (they glow a bright white instead of that nasty urine yellow color).

If only they made 60 watt CFLs... aliens a thousand light years away would see it as a signal, no doubt... :evilgrin:

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Here's some 55w spiral cfl's for regular sockets
Edited on Wed Jul-29-09 08:48 PM by bananas
http://www.naturallighting.com/web/shop.php?crn=617&start=2

Replacement Comparison: Compact Fluorescent Equivalent to Incandescent
55 watt compact = 240 watt incandescent

<snip>


Spiral Compact Fluorescent - 55 watt, 2700K (# SP5527)
more detail...
Price: $18.99


Spiral Compact Fluorescent - 55 watt, 5000K (# SP5550)
more detail...
Price: $18.99

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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. "with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs"
Supposedly?

Has someone tested them and found that they're NOT using fewer watts?

What the fuck was the word "supposedly" doing there?
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. I have a roughly 40 year supply of incandescents.
Most of my home uses CFL's, but I have three lamps that I read by that need softer light. Shortly after the U.S. passed the sales ban, I picked up 20 cases of Philips of 60 watters online. That's 80 bulbs for three lamps, which should last me about 40 years assuming an 18 month average lifetime. They'll just sit in my attic until I need them.

I expect the hoarding to begin in earnest once the U.S. cutoffs get closer.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. i`m going to start stocking up on "natural light" ge bulbs
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #5
16. If you want to stock up, order them online from wholesalers.
I bought mine from a bulk discounter and paid about 60 cents a bulb.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. delete
Edited on Wed Jul-29-09 10:57 PM by wuushew
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. i hate the new cfl bulbs....
to expensive and really crappy light.

let`s see...stop making light bulbs in the usa,export labor and enviromental costs to china,then put the light bulbs on a freighter that burns barrels of heavy crude per hour.....ya, real energy savings....
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Have you done much research on them lately?
I've picked up 12-packs of CFL's on sale at Menards for less than $1/bulb, and there are a number of color choices that simulate cool white, natural light, and in between. Even with hard use (flipping on and off more than I should), I get at least 18 months or more out of them.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. i`ll check them out...
i buy all my bulbs from menards..cheaper than walmart
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'm going to stock up on illuminating gas and mantles.
They can't take my warm, natural gas lighting away from me!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. :)
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Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. You can even recycle the mantles
The thorium will keep that breeder reactor in the basement humming!

B-)

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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
9. Actually lighting uses a very small fraction of electricity, even the Gazprom subsidiary of Germany.
Germany is a totally owned subsidiary of Gas Companies, with all of its former Government officials, from the anti-nuke Gerhard Schroeder (Gazprom), to the so called "Green Party" dangerous fossil fuel shill, the so called "environmental minister" of Germany, Joschka Fischer, who works for the Russian dangerous natural gas pipeline company, Nabucco.

Something called, um, "data," - always a problem for dangerous fossil fuel apologists of the anti-nuke type - suggests that in the United States, lighting accounts for less than 10% of electrical use. This should be good news to the 55 year old "solar will save us" crowd, since they believe that electricity should only be available at peak sunlight hours, not that solar electricity has every produced 1% of US - or any other major industrial country's electricity ever.

The data can be read here: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/recs2001/enduse2001/enduse2001.html

The idea that CFL's are going to prove the proposition that (in the anti-nuke faith), say http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html">4,048,969 < 3,353,487 is simply garbage. In fact, the data suggests that if we all agreed to live in the dark, we would not reduce electrical consumption to the level it was at in 1995, even though in 1995 there weren't nearly as many computers running dedicated to saying how wonderful solar energy is.

In fact, the number of computers running to tell us all how wonderful solar energy is could not be run by solar energy, which should tell us all we need to know, unless of course, we are engaged in religious thinking.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-29-09 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. So your argument, in essense if not actual verbiage, is:
you wrote "lighting accounts for less than 10% of electrical use"

Any measure that is not a 100% answer to our energy/climate change problems should be ignored or ridiculed but in no case should it be adopted?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhht....
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-31-09 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
25. Reduce electricity use by 10% and you can shut down 20% of coal plants
Coal generates half of the electricity in the U.S.,
reduce electricity use by 10% and you can shut down 20% of coal plants,
reduce electricity use by 50% and you can shut down 100% of coal plants.
Improving energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way of shutting down coal plants.

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-31-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. That's only important if...
...one's goal is to actually shut down coal plants.

Someone claims to want immediate action on climate change; but they discourage conservation....

Someone claims to want immediate action on climate change; but they discourage energy efficiency initiatives...

Someone claims to want immediate action on climate change; but they reject the development of renewable energy...



They do, however, incessantly and dishonestly promote the use of nuclear power while minimizing its costs.

To me, that is pretty solid proof that the goal has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with building more nuclear plants.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
12. If people aren't willing to make compromises on F***king lightbulbs, we're screwed
We as a species appear dead-set to fight tooth and nail against any attempts to slow the progression of climate change. How unfortunate.

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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Some people aren't willing to make compromises on f***ing anything.
Hell, you can see that most days even on the E/E forum and (apart from
the odd visiting troll) the people involved are at the *smart* end of
the gene pool ... what chance is there with Joe the Couch Potato?

:banghead:
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. The problem is that the manufacturers aren't putting out the quality bulbs.
It IS possible to manufacture a CFL that can match the color temperature and quality of a traditional natual-light incandescent, but few companies make them and they aren't sold via normal retail channels. Instead, we get stuck with flickery lower-quality CFL's that can be sold in bulk for a buck-fifty each. I WOULD pay $5 a bulb for an incandescent quality CFL that fit into a normal lamp, but they won't sell them to me.

I run the N:Vision bulbs through most of my home, which are widely considered to have some of the best light quality available from a mass-market CFL, and it's still easy to detect a HUGE difference in quality when walking into my family room, the only room in my home still primarily lit by incandescents. The light is simply warmer and more natural. Give me that, in a CFL, and I'll switch tomorrow.

Manufacturers don't want to mass market the bulbs because they're more expensive to produce and have smaller profit margins.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Plenty of mass market bulbs can meet your needs.
Edited on Thu Jul-30-09 11:53 AM by kristopher
Perhaps you don't know what to look for on the packaging? Go to the link above (natural light or something) where the post is about 55W bulbs. The website gives the temps for different types of light. I believe you want the low temp bulbs that give off a reddish tint light. I get them at Lowes and WalMart.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. 2700k CFL's are closer, but still don't match incandescents.
The problem is that CFL's emit light in a fairly narrow color band, and while 2700k CFL's look more like natural light at first glance, they still don't render colors properly or naturally because they're simply shifting that band. Rooms may appear "warmer" with the additional yellows and reds, but it comes at the expense of blues and greens, which no longer appear in their natural hues.

In most of my house that's not a problem, and I have 2700 CFL's all over the place. In my family room and bedroom however, I've tried and trashed a dozen different CFL types from various manufacturers because I can't find one with light that I like. I have vision issues and am extremely picky about the light I read by. That's why those three lamps are still incandescent.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Are you sure your judgement of color is accurate? Take this simiple test:
Squares A and B are the same shade of grey.

























proof:



Seriously, it shows that interpretation of color is context-sensitive. You might try changing your decor as well as your lighting.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Spend thousands redecorating my living room to accomodate a lightbulb?
And yes, I'm sure I'm correct. Anyone who has ever had to color-correct a photo taken in a CFL-lit room can attest to the fact that the wavelengths are different.

Hell, for that matter I can simply put a CFL in one lamp and an incandescent in the other, in the same room, and you can see the entire tonal range of the room shift as you switch back and forth between them.

We spent nearly $10,000 redecorating the living room a couple of years ago when we renovated the house. We're not redoing it just to save a buck a month on our electric bill. Most of our house is fairly neutral and doesn't matter, but the walls in our family room are painted moss green and the furniture is deep browns and reds. High-k CFL's make the walls look minty, and low-k CFL's make most of the room look almost black. The spectrum isn't there with CFL's to make the room look right, at the correct light levels.

BTW, I'm a trained graphic artist, and am fully aware of the way context impacts color perfection. It's also made me a bit finicky about colors appearing "right". My average sized 4 bedroom house has 27 windows because I prefer natural light over ALL man-made light. Of the 40-odd bulbs in and around my home, only three are incandescent. Until someone markets a museum-quality CFL, those three will probably remain incandescent.

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Iterate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
15. Bullshit, its media hype, German style,
and without knowing the cultural context the joke will be on you.

First of all there is this Holger Krahmer from the FPD. I dont completely understand this guy, his c.v., or how in the hell he got elected from Leipzig, but the short cultural translation is that hes an undereducated overachieving libertarian who seems to be in awe of business and banking. Keep in mind that representation is proportional by party.

Then there is that phrase light bulb socialism", which strikes me as an odd phrase to use here, sounds like an awkward translation, and is very American in its political context. Dont be surprised if this guy gets a John Stossel interview.

Parse the headlines and they turn out to be either meaningless or misleading, take your pick. The reporter, Alexander Jung , seems to specialize in techy hype and fear reports. Spiegel has it's own style, one that manages at the same time to enforce American stereotypes and mock them as well.

The truth is that CFLs here have been common and much cheaper that the US for at least ten years. Theyve been widely accepted with very little grumbling. It could be that 0,20 kw/hr helps consumers find their self-interest. Old ones are recycled separately. The EU directive doesnt force consumers to buy a particular lamp; it simply sets a standard minimum efficiency and longevity which is implemented in cooperation with the ELC, a federation of lamp manufactures. According to the ELC, 85% of residential consumers in the European market have already made the switch to energy efficient lamps.

pdf from the ELC: http://www.elcfed.org/documents/070702_ELC%20domestic%20lighting%20strategy%20FAQ.pdf

So, it looks like the story is really about that 15% of the population who are the last ones to get the memo. Out of that 15% its not difficult to find a story about some dufus with a shopping cart at the Baumarkt.

So why would Spiegel Online bother with this, in English no less? The dead-enders are not likely to read it in English. German news is more occupied with banking failures and the annual August holiday pandemic scare. Local news, such as it was, has worn this one out. Looking more closely though, most of the story though is really not about CFLs, its about the EU and EU directives. Its something that manages to irk many people from the left, right, and center. Brussells did it all wrong. Thats the message, a political story for the rest of the EU mixed with pandering to the American view of socialist hoarding.

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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Thanks for that very illuminating context!
The original story grabbed my attention precisely because I hadn't heard of any problems in EU up to now -- as you say, they seemed to be far ahead of the US in making the switch. But then, I've been getting that news from the BBC. :)
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