March 29, 2014
The Green Movement Could Mean A New Dark Age
We are on the verge of a new dark age! It won’t be like the so-called “dark age” that followed the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe where learning is lost, where there was little centralized government and where civilization basically headed backwards.
No, this “dark age” is one where it just seems darker at night. Try lighting a room and you’ll find it increasingly difficult. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out – and maybe that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, but try finding a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) or LED bulb that offers as many lumens and you’ll be out of luck.
Don’t get me wrong LEDs hold great promise – and perhaps there will be a “Renaissance” of lighting on the horizon, but for now it doesn’t do me much good when I try to read at night.
What makes this worse is that while there has been much ado made about the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, little has been said or reported on the future of halogen lamps. These bulbs contain no mercury, and have been a favored choice for use in floor lamps as these can cast light towards the ceiling and literally turn night into day.
However, while these small bulbs are have been more energy efficient than incandescent the small size has meant that these can be extremely hot – making them dangerous should the lamp fall over. Many governments have stepped in and banned higher wattage halogens. This is extremely disappointing for this reporter as halogens offered the brightest lights on the market.
When an older 300 watt halogen lamp finally gave out I was simply told by a lighting store to buy a reading lamp and accept that I couldn’t fill the room with light. The green movement has been pushing for more direct light as well, suggesting that there is no reason to light up a living room like Times Square.
The problem for me is that my couch isn’t against a wall and I don’t want a lamp directly over me. I liked the fact that I could light up the room and read. Now I have to read in a chair by the wall. While this might seem like a small problem – and in the grand scheme of things it is – it just burns me hotter than a halogen bulb that I don’t have the choice anymore to light up my living room.
I could accept this if there were some options. But consider that even getting 150 watt bulbs is nearly impossible. LED is available with replacements equivalent to 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs! When I’ve been to big box stores, lighting stores or just about anywhere else that sells lamps I’m told the amount of choice is gone.
What I was also told is that those writing the laws say there are plenty of options for “mood lighting.” Well, my mood is now a bad mood!
Mood lighting for me isn’t soft lights and lots of shadows. My mood calls for a bright room where I can read, play a board game or generally see the floor! My solution has been to buy multiple lights and I’ve even considered photography lamps to add some illumination.
Years ago I had a 500 watt Torchiere floor lamp and it truly lit up the living room. Friends, relatives and colleagues would sometimes say, “that’s bright,” but more often I was asked where I found it. That lamp also had a dimmer so I didn’t need to go full blast.
Eventually that lamp broke and I “settled” for 300 watts. Now most Torchiere lamps max out at 190 watts, which offer half the lumens of the 500 watt versions and things are only going to get worse. It isn’t easy reading a book without enough light, but when I complain about that fact I’m told, “get a tablet, it has a backlight.”
So perhaps this is really just a conspiracy to make it impossible to read on paper. I’m sure that is probably on the EPA’s hit list next!
Image Credit: Thinkstock