Switching to energy-efficient bulbs a bright idea
RENOVATION time is a good time to save moolah. It’s easy. Just ensure any new light fixtures you buy are equipped with Energy Star approved bulbs and, at the same time, replace existing incandescent lamps in your home with energy-efficient ones. Potential power savings can be almost $140 per bulb. To lighten up this dry subject — that includes words such as lumens and watts — I was going to tell the old gag about how many men it takes to screw in a light bulb. However, in this multicultural, enlightened age, such jokes are considered politically incorrect, especially if you are running for office. But I’m happy to report some feminist friends of mine still delight in telling their version of the aged joke: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two: one to call Gloria Steinem for instructions and another to convey Steinem’s instructions to her husband.
At left, halogen-quartz lights are ultra-bright, long-lived and reasonably inexpensive compared to LEDs and CFLs. Unfortunately, these incandescent hybrids operate at extremely high temperatures, making them inefficient as well as potential fire hazards in enclosed areas.
At left, a 9.5-watt LED bulb looks like a traditional 60-watt bulb and screws into a standard socket. Last fall Manitoba Hydro promoted high-efficiency lights at participating big-box stores by offering the bulbs at up to 50 per cent off retail prices. Whether Hydro will do the same this year, remains a dark secret. The A19 (style of bulb) in this picture normally retails for over $20. Above, clear incandescent bulb shows the tungsten filament set between two electrodes that glows when power is turned on. Most lights in homes are powered by AC current that comes directly from outlets. However, any device that uses transistors requires DC current to operate including computers, printers, TVs and many other digital devices.