Switch­ing to en­ergy-ef­fi­cient bulbs a bright idea

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - DAVID SQUARE

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.

PHO­TOS BY DAVID SQUARE / WIN­NIPEf FREE PRESS

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.

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