About Me

My photo
St. Louis, MO, United States
What the name sez, Christian, conservative, 2nd amendment supporter. Physician, wife, daughter and loving mother.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Green Green is Green They Say....

Everything is green, there are green shoots sprouting in the economy (weeds, methinks) and every bill comes with some statement about how this company or that is trying to be greener. AmerenUE is being so green that they are asking the Missouri utilities commission for an 18% rate hike for its electric customers. Now, they minimize this by saying that this represents a paltry 50 cents per DAY increase, but that is $15 per MONTH and $180 per YEAR. Those numbers don't look so paltry!

In the mail last night, I got a progress report from AmerenUE telling us all about the good things they have done to improve our electric service, such as trimming more trees, burying the most vulnerable above ground lines and inspecting their lines more often to minimize power outages and interruptions. In addition, they directed me to their energy efficiency website so that I could see how much I could save on my electric bill by running my dishwasher full and then essentially drying my dishes rather than having the dishwasher do it, or how about setting my refrigerator a little higher so that my left overs and milk go South a day or two earlier. (I suspect that my energy savings will be offset by my increase in my food bill). The best, yet, though is their big push for CFL lightbulbs. They have all sorts of information on their website extolling the energy savings of the CFL bulbs.

I fell for the CFL bulbs several years ago and put them into my lamps and in the ceiling fixtures in my closets. Now I have to squint and strain to read in the evening (helping optometrists and ophthalmologists) and when I pick out my clothes, brown, navy blue and black look almost the same...but what the heck, I am being green. The best thing, however, is that on their website in the Q and A about the CFL lightbulbs they indicate that you should consult the EPA for instructions in how to dispose of burned out CFL bulbs. I did that and followed the steps for finding out the local recyclers in my area and guess what----THERE AREN'T ANY!! There is a center that accepts the bulbs in St. Charles county, but this is for St. Charles County residents only. After listing the sites in Missouri, there is a little fine print that says that some of the centers will accept CFL's from non-residents FOR A FEE!!!

I did find out, however, that Home Depot will accept CFL's for recycling at their stores...THANK YOU, HOME DEPOT.

Then there are the questions about what to do and how to clean up a broken CFL. Again, the EPA comes to the rescue with a 6 step process for cleaning up a hazardous waste spill in your house! That is because the CFL's contain mercury. You know, that slithery silvery substance that used to be in thermometers in every school room in America. That wondrefully mysterious substance that generations of kids knew would make your nickles, dimes, quarters and half dollars shiny and new looking again! They took mercury out of the thermometers and we can't eat fish because of mercury content, but, hey...if its green we can all reintroduce mercury into our light bulbs all over the house in the name of climate change....

From the EPA's own website comes this justification:

Why the EPA, DOE and others are promoting the use of CFLs

CFLs use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs (75% less). If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 800,000 cars. And even though CFLs contain a small amount of mercury that could ultimately end up in the environment, that amount is significantly less than the amount of mercury avoided as a result of the energy savings.

I think that our government has already been overexposed to mercury and that is why they are mad as hatters!

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn,
    glad to see someone else criticizing the craziness - whether one is pro or anti green issues.

    Why ALL energy efficiency regulation is wrong = see

    People choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10.
    Banning what people want gives the supposed savings - no point in banning an impopular product!

    If new LED lights or improved CFLs are good,
    people will buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
    If they are not good, people will not buy them - no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
    The arrival of the transistor didn't mean that more energy using radio valves had to be banned... they were bought less anyway.

    All lights have their advantages.
    The ordinary simple light bulb has for many people a pleasing appearance, it responds quickly with bright broad spectrum light, is easy to use with dimmers and other equipment, can come in small sizes, and has safely been used for over 100 years.

    100 W+ equivalent brightness is a particular issue - difficult and expensive with both fluorescents and LEDS - yet such incandescent bulbs are first in line for banning in the EU!

    There are also problems in achieving small size bright bulbs with fluorescents and LEDS, while halogens, related to ordinary bulbs are only slightly more efficient, and will gradually be phased out too given the proposed efficiency limits.

    In any case:
    Since when do we need to save on electricity?
    There is no energy shortage, there are plenty of local energy sources, Middle East oil is not used for electricity generation.
    Consumers pay for any power stations, just as they do for factories and shops generally.
    Certainly it is good to let people know how they can save energy and money - but why force them to do it?

    OK: Does your light bulb give out any gases?
    Power stations might not either:

    Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
    Low emission households will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology or energy substitution.

    Also, the savings amounts can be questioned:
    For a referenced list of reasons against light bulb bans, see
    http://www.ceolas.net/#li1x onwards