It's important to save energy. Growing up, we learn to turn off the lights we aren't using. It saves money on the electric bill and saves the environment, too. But a government mandate to purportedly save energy by replacing our light bulbs is taking it too far.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will begin taking 100-watt incandescent bulbs off the shelves starting January 2012. These will be replaced with supposedly more "energy-efficient" fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescents are now widely available through retailers, but their sales account for only 5 percent of the light bulb market.
If fluorescents are really saving energy and thus saving people money, why aren't more people buying them? Not only are they more expensive, they have some real negative features. Typical fluorescent light bulbs don't dim. You have to buy special ones for that. And while they usually last longer than incandescents, you have to be careful if one breaks because they contain mercury.
Granted, fluorescents themselves use 3.9 times less energy than incandescents. But when it takes six times more energy to produce a fluorescent bulb than a single incandescent, we have to wonder if saving energy is really the government's goal.
Salt Lake City
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