Originally Posted by SDW2001
So, a few minor (very), real-life dilemmas for me:
--To replace or not to replace my incandescent light bulbs with CFLs. Electric rates are going up big-time in PA, and I'm considering it. However, I HATE fluorescent bulbs. I am very sensitive to types of light and I'm pretty sure I have some version of Seasonal Affective Disorder. When I built my house, I even got rid of the fluorescent light in the kitchen, using high hat floods instead. I have not ONE fluorescent in my house. They are also expensive. I hear there are "full spectrum" and "natural light" CFLs. Thoughts/experiences?
--Whether to go with LED bulbs for Christmas next year. They are also more energy efficient and last longer. However, I'm sort of a purist when it comes to traditional colors, and LEDs are quite different. I'm thinking I might stay with traditional lamps for my tree, but go LED outside.
Very minor things, but could lead to savings.
The CFLs are getting better (more options, better light, faster on, three ways and dimmers, etc.) and cheaper. We use a mix. There are some places where it just doesn't make sense or is a step back (right now) like rooms where you only go in for a few minutes and your our and the light is off before the CFL had time to even get to full brightness.
On the Christmas LED lights...these have also improved just in one year...but they're still expensive and, for us, the payoff was like 10 years! Now we don't do the whole Clark Griswold thing...just two simple trees in the house. So maybe the math works out differently if you do a lot more.
When the appliances start crapping out (please not this year!!!) we'll certainly get more energy efficient devices (we assume...more on that in a moment)...fridge, dryer, etc. are like 15 years old.
Overall though, our electrical usage is below national averages and probably slightly below our state average. In general we don't turn lots of lights on. We love the natural light we get during the day. The kids were well trained to turn lights off when not in use.
One thing though...and this is what that speech I posted gets to (on the specific topic of packaging)...much of the whole consumer energy efficiency "solutions" are focused at end-point solutions and fail to take into account the broader picture. Example: We recently replaced a dying dishwasher with new more water "efficient" one. Well...it isn't really...it uses less water per run...but it also washes less well so we a) run it more frequently, with fewer dishes and on the "heavy load" cycle. Oops.
We found something similar in an experiment we did with shower heads. We got a couple of shower heads that could easily be hacked to higher flow shower heads. Water usage actually went down
! Why? Better shorter showers vs. worse, longer showers that actually used more water. Oops.
Same story with toilets. With solid waste the low flow toilets often need more flushes. Oops.
What should be done for water conservation is to privatize water utilities and go to market-based pricing. This will automatically cause people to adjust their water consumption and usage to the most valued uses and consider dropping the least valued uses all without mandating what kind of toilet or shower head one can put in their homes.