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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bah humbug

From Australia’s Courier & Mail on Christmas Eve:
SCIENTISTS have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs.

CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

He said: "Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights."
Reader reaction was vocal (243 postings thus far) and fairly harsh:
Dear CSIRO, RE: fairy lights and the harm to planet EARTH..ABSOLUTE BOLLOCKS! For gods sake use my tax dollars on something real, or pack up all your wrong forcasts and .........thank goodness for censorship. ..

Posted by: Graham Keech of Brisbane 9:05pm December 25, 2008
At the West household, our Christmas lights have been on a timer since we moved to San José in 2002. (In our house before that, there wasn’t a good place to put the timer).

This Christmas, we’ve started to see LED lights in our suburban neighborhood. We have been considering converting to LED lights: the incandescents burn out and as with other incandescents, waste a lot of energy due to heat. We held off because we assumed they were too expensive.

However, Amazon has a 17’ string of LED lights for $30 (marked down after Christmas to $7-$20). They conform to standard lengths and are even designed to look like C7 Christmas bulbs. Not surprisingly, LED lights are prominent among all the Christmas lights being sold by Amazon this season. Clearly it’s a growth industry.

To me, this suggests that the idea of publicizing LED lights is timely, but the way it was expressed (as often is the case with scientists’ public policy opinions) could have been more tactful. It also doesn’t help that the comments were made by a government employee, and thus smacked of a government mandate to some people.

1 comment:

Lillie said...

I have to recommend the online lighting store I bought my LEDs from lately. They had great personalized service (good phone and email support), excellent FAQs so I knew what I needed, very competitive prices, and their shipping was fast and the LEDs were just as advertised. www.Eaglelight.com. Excellent web shopping experience.