Despite Troglodyte Light Bulb Freaks – Efficiency, and Reason – Winning out

March 10, 2019

Remember “Crazy eyes” Michelle Bachmann, the one-time Presidential candidate and whackadoodle Rep from Minnesota?
One of Bachmann’s signature issues was “save our lightbulbs” – the cockeyed crusade against regulations aimed at improving lighting technology and energy efficiency.
The real motivation, of course, was not to save light bulbs, but to save market demand for the dying coal industry that funds Republican campaigns, then and now.


New York Times:

Solar panels and wind turbines get a lot of attention, but a more inconspicuous instrument is helping to reshape America’s energy economy right now: The humble light bulb.

Over the past decade, traditional incandescent bulbs, those distinctive glass orbs with glowing wire centers, have been rapidly replaced by more energy-efficient lighting. The shift has driven down electricity demand in American homes, saving consumers money and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy savings are expected to grow as highly efficient and increasingly inexpensive LED bulbs continue to replace older lights. But energy efficiency advocates worry that the Trump administration could slow the pace of this lighting revolution.

Last month, the Department of Energy said it would withdraw an Obama-era regulation that nearly doubled the number of light bulbs subject to energy-efficiency requirements. (The chart above shows changes for basic, pear-shaped bulbs that are regulated by current rules. Other bulb styles, including globe, candelabra and reflector bulbs, as well as outdoor lighting, are not included.)

Industry groups are also pushing back on new lighting efficiency requirements slated to go into effect next year.



After climbing for decades, electricity use by American households has declined over the past eight years.

“That’s a staggering change,” said Lucas Davis, an energy economist at the Haas School of Business, part of the University of California, Berkeley.

The economic recession in the late 2000s contributed to an initial dip in electricity demand, but as the economy improved, lighting and other energy-efficiency improvements continued to drive down household electricity use.

Politico, January 4, 2012:

If my great-grandfather, Thomas Edison, were alive today, I have no doubt he’d view Congress as most Americans do — with anger and disgust. His reasons would be personal, however. The House Republicans’ effort to stifle lighting innovation flies in the face of everything this great American innovator and path-breaking businessman stood for.

So what’s the light bulb kerfuffle about? Starting Jan. 1, the bulbs you buy must be more efficient and use less electricity, under a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush.

This would have thrilled my great-grandfather. Edison was one of history’s most prolific inventors, with nearly 1,100 patents involving electricity, the phonograph, one of the first ticker tapes and much more.

Many, if not most, of his inventions involved making things work better and more efficiently. He would have been at the forefront of efforts to do the same with his light bulb. After all, innovation and invention defined him.

Somehow, though, this new efficiency law is being demonized and misrepresented by a small group of political ideologues in and out of Congress. They have spun a fear-mongering tale that has left some Americans confused and frightened. There are crazy claims that incandescent light bulbs will be banned, and that Big Brother government is running your life.

This is nonsense. The new standards don’t outlaw the incandescent bulb. Instead, they have spurred much needed innovation and improvements — the kind Edison loved. You are still able to buy incandescent bulbs. The difference is they will use less electricity and cut energy costs.



15 Responses to “Despite Troglodyte Light Bulb Freaks – Efficiency, and Reason – Winning out”

  1. rsmurf Says:

    Whats really funny is that even with all their obstruction incandescent usage has gone down. It must be a good idea.

  2. Anecdote

    Bought my earliest LED replacements for incandescent, halogen incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lights about 8 years ago. Now we have about 20 in total.

    In that entire time there have been 3 failed LED bulbs. This is far better than fluorescent fails (2 in similar period among 4 total), much better than halogens (at least 3 per year among 15) and plain filament incandescent failing at least one pert fitting every year.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I’ve noticed clear performance improvements of the recent CFLs over the early generation ones. I still haven’t swapped out all of my dimmable incandescents (in part because I don’t use those lights much anyway).

      As for LEDs, I can’t help but think how much energy is being saved by converting Christmas lights alone in suburban neighborhoods.

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    We need to be building trillions of dollars of new renewable energy infrastructure. Not patting ourselves on the back for energy efficiency. Energy efficiency has not built a single wind farm or PV field – in fact, it lessens the impetus to build them.

    If you are talking about efficiency gains, you are Not. Serious. About. Global. Warming.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Sorry, GB, but talking about energy EFFICIENCY gains IS serious talk—-it’s accepted as THE “low hanging fruit” that can make serious inroads into the global warming situation. Your confirmation bias is showing (again).

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    Yep, those LEDs are making a HUGE difference. Why, one only has to look at the Keeling Curve to see the dramatic and significant impact those LEDs have made.

    Let’s talk some more about LEDs, can we, can we please? Can we talk about LEDs for another month? Shall we oh shall we => oh, please say we shall!!

    And then maybe we could talk about a possible carbon tax for say, oh, …. how about another decade? And then, ……………………………

    it won’t matter anymore.


    We have twelve years to lower our global emissions by 52%.

    Have you forgotten already how many new wind towers just that requires? Millions.

    New PV panels?


    New LEDs?

    Nobody cares because it is not important.

    If you are talking about L – E -effing -D’s, you are part of the PROBLEM, not the solution.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Not sure whether to accuse you of using straw man or red herring “logic” here, but you most certainly DO have a reasoning problem here (or are you imbibing too much of the Vermont maple syrup vodka again? Putting it on your pancakes?)

      As have other commenters, I too have gone down the CFL and halogen bulb road, and am now converting to LEDS. I have also replaced worn-out appliances, A/C, and furnace with higher efficiency models, put in double pane windows, and increased insulation in the house. ALL of those actions resulted in noticeable drops in my electric bill down through the years—-it is now no higher than it was 20+ years ago, and that’s not something to sneeze at. At the same time, my production of GHG has gone down, which hasn’t hurt the Keeling curve.

      Anyone who wants to grandstand about slow-to-develop RE rather than talk about the immediate and permanent RIGHT NOW positive impacts of energy efficiency is part of the PROBLEM and is ignoring an important part of the solution.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by 2100”


        Now tell us all how switching to LED’s from compact fluorescents is making significant inroads on what we need to do? FFS. when your car is going over a cliff, it is not time to start cleaning the rear view window.

        It is officially time to panic, time to concentrate on the one true task we have – to build trillions of dollars worth of new RE machines. We have twelve years. Every effing second wasted on LEDs or hamburgers or carbon taxes is time we can not ever get back.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          How about sending each of us the $8.99 access fee so we can read it?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          The 9:38 comment was meant for the Nature article.

          And when are you going to stop your outrageous grandstanding?—-“cleaning the rear window when your car is going over a cliff”? JFC!

          Any effort exerted on light bulbs, meat consumption, or carbon taxes is WASTED? Do you really believe that?

          Calm down—-take a pill. Stay away from the maple syrup vodka

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            In twelve years, when we have failed to build that new RE system, and we have therefore relegated mankind to beyond 2C warming, feel free to re-evaluate how helpful was the time spent to discuss LED bulbs and hamburgers.

          • funslinger62 Says:

            The “time spent to discuss LED bulbs and hamburgers” certainly won’t be the reason we failed.

        • funslinger62 Says:

          “Now tell us all how switching to LED’s from compact fluorescents is making significant inroads on what we need to do?”

          It’s reducing the amount of FFs we would be using otherwise. This gives us just a little more time to deploy RE.

          Since you love analogies try this one: changing to LED bulbs is like shifting to a lower gear in your car that’s headed over a cliff.

          Not as good as putting on brakes, but we could do both, right?

          It isn’t rocket science, geez.

    • funslinger62 Says:

      The babbling idiot returns. The one who only wants one solution. Build more RE infrastructure.

      What’s wrong with doing that and anything else that can help? Oh, that’s right. You don’t want to cut back your meat consumption, even just a little bit.

      People like you ARE part of the problem. Not part of the solution.

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    Here is the paper, published yesterday. Read it and weep:

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