Esthetics Versus Energy Efficiency

Well, in chi-chi restaurants in New York (and elsewhere), esthetics are winning.

As a design element, reproductions of Edison’s original light bulb is an inexpensive way to create an intimate mood, cast the kind of light that flatters both the food and the people there to eat the food. This soft light has been compared to candlelight, so why not forgo the environmental cost of the cheap but expensive planet killers and use… candles?

Each time people interview for this article mentioned the esthetics and the creation of a mood, all I could think of was why not just use that which these bulbs mimic? Thankfully, one restrauranteur (who resisted the use citing that this was so “done”) asked that same question.

Common sense is not completely dead! Yay!

Of course, there are issues with burning candles but the article makes a good point. How eco/environmental/aware could a place that tries to build up this reputation but then insists on using (really) old school incandescent that make the more modern (and very much reviled) incandescent practically environmentally friendly in comparison?

Sure, you may say why does it matter? So it uses more energy- what are a few light bulbs that throw off a ridiculous amount of heat and very little light have to do with the state of the environment as a whole?

One incandescent light bulb may not be a huge deal but how many people are using them? It adds up quicker than you think.

People generally look at the energy crisis in isolation- with the focus on tapping into the vast reserves or oil in the oceans (hmmmm) or the tar sands in Alberta, developing renewable sources of energy but there hasn’t been enough focus on the other part of the equation, conserving energy.

It just isn’t as “sexy.”

If we paid the real cost of fuel for our cars, to heat (or cool) our homes, all the things we buys from places most of us will never see, fewer people would drive, more people would lower the thermostat and people will buy less (and hopefully smarter).

But I digress- we were talking about light bulbs. Currently there is a program where residents of Toronto can exchange up to five incandescent light bulbs for five free CFLs.

Even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment, do yourself and your pocketbook a favour- replacing five incandescent for five CFLs can save you about $30 a year.

I don’t know about you but there are a lot of things I would rather spend $30 on than a fat cat utility company.


~ by angryegg on June 9, 2010.

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