L263: Lighting Purge

Six years ago a friend helped me in my home bathroom remodel by removing an ancient lighting fixture and installing a 3’ long fluorescent fixture I happened to have in the garage. The only thing was it was pretty ugly and I had to have him install it vertically in the tiny space. My idea was to find dozens and dozens of incandescent bulbs and to glue these bulbs (with silicone) to the outside of the fluorescent fixture. Well I searched high and low for some killer deal on incandescent bulbs with no luck. This was long before we were being told to get rid of our incandescent bulbs and to replace them with the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

I have been thinking of this project again. It seems there should be so many incandescent bulbs lying around or burning out. I have 2 incandescent bulbs myself that I won’t be using and I figured my neighbors might have some too. I put a notice in the newsletter and a box for light bulb donations in the laundry room. I see that someone put some short fluorescent tubes so far. I have some of these too.

I’d like to try something like it for the ugly exterior fixtures at the driveway entrances to where I live. Or maybe for a mock chandelier outside my back door. I don’t have anything definitive in mind. I just love the idea of using up these cast-off light bulbs as a massing around a light source. I do have this image using the long fluorescent tubes. I may have to punt.

This whole project is dependent upon what comes my way both in bulbs and in inspiration. I welcome ideas for both in the comments.

I am envious of the Irish experience. A woman soon to be a new neighbor shared her story of living in Ireland when plastic bags had to be paid for and how this changed the Irish overnight into cloth carrying consumers. Related to light bulbs I read this:
In a bold and laudable move, Ireland has just announced plans to ban the sale of incandescent light-bulbs by the year 2009. This makes it the first European nation to outlaw the old energy hogging bulbs.

John Gormley, the Minister for the Department of the Environment states: “The aim of such a move will be to end the use of incandescent light bulbs in Ireland. These bulbs use technology invented during the age of the steam engine. By getting rid of these bulbs we will save 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. It has been estimated that consumers will save €185 million in electricity costs every year as a result of the measure.”

All old incandescent light bulbs will be phased out of the Irish market starting in January 2009. As incandescent bulbs break, Irish citizens will have to replace them with more energy efficient options such as Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs.
GO IRELAND! Let’s step it up US!

Hat tip Inhabitat

You know, I have the CFL bulbs in my home now, but I have been thinking about the following for awhile. I am selfishly going to cobble this product plug at the tail end of this post in hopes that I will remember where to find the information when I happen upon the several hundred dollars I’d need to replace everything with LED.


A bright way to be good to the Earth You want to be environmentally conscious, but doing so can be damned inconvenient. For example, replacing one of your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents can save about $30 of power over the lifetime of the bulb. Not bad, but fluorescents are dim, and they flicker. Plus, while they do last 10 times longer than incandescents, throwing them away is a pain in the neck due to the mercury content.

These new LED light bulbs are tons brighter, don't flicker, don't require special handling, and last fifty times longer than incandescents! What's more, they use even less energy than fluorescent bulbs. The Bright Star bulb puts out as much light as a 100 watt bulb, but uses only one-tenth the power. Plus, it can burn for 11 years! All told, factoring in the cost of bulbs, that's an estimated savings of $430 throughout the life of the bulb. Sure, they cost more than a normal bulb, but they last so long and save so much in electricity costs, they more than make up for it in less than a year's usage. Choose from the wide-range of bulbs we stock.
$49.99 - $119.99

Or for a little less expense option . . .


A great idea in lighting The light bulb is often used in cartoons to depict the formation of a great idea. We think that building LEDs into a bulb that can be screwed into a standard 120V light socket is a great idea. These LED Light Bulbs come in three different sizes with an output up to 120 Lumens.

The bulbs are also long-life and low power consumption. Vivid - This 18 LED light bulb makes an excellent high definition reading light. Perfect to help you not feel guilty about leaving an accent light on all night. Run it for twelve hours a day for a whole year at a cost of about 80 cents. Makes a great reading light. Vivid Plus - Turn any household lamp into a low cost, high-tech marvel by installing the Vivid Plus LED Light Bulb. This ultra-bright light bulb shares the energy efficiency of the Vivid and casts a broader array of light. Particularly well suited for reading. 36 LEDs. Spotlight - A money-saving LED bulb that fits your porch spotlights and the motion-sensor lights on your garage or roofline. Spotlight uses just 8 Watts of electricity to power 60 ultra-bright White LEDs.

The light is ideal in pitch-black conditions, and casts the signature blue-white light that's as soothing as it is bright. On average, it will cost you just $4.00 per year to run this LED Spotlight in your home or workplace. Fits PAR 38 sized fixtures. LED Light Bulbs also have these great features. * Long life - up to 10 years * Low power consumption (about 1/30th of a standard bulb) * Output: Vivid (31 Lumens), Vivid Plus (60 Lumens), Spotlight (120 Lumens) * Great in a directional lamp for reading, mood or porch light * These bulbs are generally not intended as a complete replacement for incandescents - these bulbs are lower output but more focused * 120V bulbs * Two-year warranty
$21.99 - $35.99


Rosa said...

Our house is old, and some of the wiring is not as stable as it should be. We tried to switch to all CFLs and failed terribly - one actually smoked when it shorted out. I didn't even know they could do that, but there's a smokestain on the ceiling where it was. Our basement burned out a CFL every few weeks until I gave up and went back to incandescents.

So I'm really hoping the incandescents hold out until we can get decent LED lights. Right now I have a solar lantern down there, but in the winter it doesn't get enough light to last until after dinner when I usually do laundry (It's going outside soon - I need to be able to see to unlock the garage when I get home in the dark at 6pm in late October.)

katecontinued said...

Rosa, I have never heard of CFL's doing as you stated. It makes me think of all the old trailers around me and the old wiring. This could be really dangerous.

In Phoenix my wiring was very old - as my friend discovered helping with my bathroom and kitchen lighting.

Before I sold my home I considered having a new line run within the house to some key locations. I was going to surface mount the electrical pipe above the base boards. I figured I could live with the look or design around the aesthetic. My point was to at least get minimum safety (nothing was grounded) and my primary electrical receptacles up to code at the lowest possible cost.

More than a 150 years ago they used prism glass for underground (like your basement) or at sea. I find them beautiful and I think we should bring them back into design. The picture of Penn Station at the link is a stunnning example.

The low-tech version of this is the soda or wine bottles laid into concrete walls.

Rosa said...

ooh! We saw a lot of that in our underground tour of San Francisco, too (prism glass). I would still need lights down there - in the winter there are a few months when, if I work from 8-5, I am not home during any daylight weekday hours.

Our house is mostly-rewired - the kitchen even has grounded outlets now! But the basement & basement stair lights (where we lost the CFLs) are pre-1950 wiring, possibly the original from when they took out the gas lamps in the '20s. Everything else is newer, including the loop the washer & dryer are on, but not those two lights or the plug where the grow lights plug in (but I don't use those anymore anyway.)

I don't think any trailer has wiring that old, so I wouldn't worry - even the bulb that caught on fire, stopped when it burned itself out.

katecontinued said...

every bit of my wiring is new. it is the others . . . mostly low guage, low voltage system.

katecontinued said...

What can really get to me is the reality that low cost solutions are out there and are being kept out of the marketplace. You know that established power brokers simply don't want the competition. Aaaargh.

What you need for your basement is what we all need for every single light. Solar fed lighting that hold and stores enough for adquate light levels at a reasonable price. I am not even saying low cost, or cheap. Reasonable for a purchase that can last our entire life.

Rosa said...

Yeah, we do. The issue for us, here - and it's colder and darker here than most places - is that when we need the light the most it's so cold it kills batteries, and dark for way longer than it is light.

Hey, can I make a guest post? I had written up this long thing as a comment on Kiashu's blog but he only allows comments from people with blogger IDs. It's a "day in the life" thing to go with his 1 ton lifestyle idea, but for someone like me (urban office worker)

katecontinued said...

Absolutely - Give it a title with an L and I'll use it today.

katecontinued said...

Rosa, what happened? Where did you go? I thought you had a post?