The death of the Plain Jane fluorescent tube is in the cards. Lighting legislation signed into law in 2007 has been coming at us for 5 years. Fuel economy for vehicles, bio-fuels, lighting fixtures, lamps, appliances and building energy savings were all targeted, along with other items too numerous and way over my head. In 2010, manufacturers were no longer able to manufacture magnetic ballast. These were the coil and core ballast that weighed a ton.
When suppliers started to run out, your only choice was electronic ballast. You know, if you’re old like me you can remember when those ballasts stuck their heads out in the 70′s, and after all the smoke from lawsuits and finger pointing cleared, they hid their ugly heads for 25 years. In 1995, when you took your 40 watt ballast to the hardware store, it had to replaced by a 34 watt. Now when you take your 34 watt ballast in, you get this little lightweight thing to put in your fixture. “How can I be getting my money’s worth? This thing is too light!”
In 2010, if you had to change your fluorescent fixture, you had to start using those skinny tubes. “Light-weight fixtures and skinny tubes,don’t take me for a fool!” Starting July 14, 2012, the manufacturers will stop making all the old fashioned T12 lamps. With a few exceptions, when you take that 8 foot tube in your garage to get it replaced, or that wimpy 34 watt 4 foot tube in to get a replacement, not only will you have to buy a new fixture, you will also have to take the evil old lamps back with you, because they are now hazardous waste. “These kids now-a-days don’t know nuttin!”
If you are one of the few that read the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” you might make heads or tails of it. If you understood it, then English must be a second language. But the good news is: it’s working for the most part. It is costing us an arm and leg, but it’s working. Now when you and I have the simple job of changing light bulbs, it becomes a major DIY project. It is costing us. Now what do we get out of it? More power. Since it has security in the title, do we get to carry a gun? Heck No!
Out of all the energy used in the US, 25% is used in homes and 19% is used in commercial buildings. It was estimated that energy use would spike 44% from 2005 to 2030. Seven years later it looks like that spike will only be 14%. If you do your math like our politicians, we will save 68%. But it’s 68% of nothing, and this time nothing is a good thing. You can look at it and say we saved 68%, or you can look at it and say we created 68%. It’s not from some new wind, sun, aluminum foil technology, it is a new technology. A technology called “Renewable Energy”.
Now, when you do your honey-dos, whether it’s caulking, insulating, installing blinds, or sitting under the shade of a tree you planted years ago, you know that you are pioneering new grounds.
On the numbers I used, I didn’t just grab the first numbers I found, I did try to check their sources. Probably the best source is EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2008.