Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Conservative case for Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have become somewhat of a cause celebre for greeniacs. A California Assembly person even introduced legislation to ban incandescent lights in favor of CFLs. And while this is a silly, nanny-state reaction from those who think the government just can't do enough to interfere with our lives, Conservatives are missing a great opportunity to show that we don't burn down rainforests for fun in our spare time.

Eco-freaks talk about how much CO2 is theoretically taken out of the air by using fluorescent lights, sometimes in terms of hypothetical "cars taken off the road". That's all fine and dandy, but there's a much easier case to make that isn't preachy - they're cheaper. Cheaper over the long run to be sure, since the up front costs are much higher, but still, cheaper.

How is a cheaper light bulb not a Republican issue? Better living through technology! Economic development helps fund the research and development that helps us live better!

CFLs aren't uniformly better than incandescent lights. I'd rather read to a "warmer" traditional light than a "bluer" CFL. And CFLs don't work as well in colder environments. In my personal experience, a CFL at 40 degrees F takes a few minutes to gain reasonable luminescence. Still, I'm replacing most of my old bulbs with CFLs because they do basically the same job, they do it cheaper, and I don't have to change the bulb as often.

Honestly, it has nothing to do with saving the environment.

No comments: