Like many people these days, I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I recycle everything that’s accepted, I look for items with the least packaging (and email feedback to companies who over-package). I’m careful about my water usage and monitor the thermostat; I upgraded some drafty windows. Where lighting is concerned, I never did leave unnecessary lights on, but I decided it was still a good thing to switch over to those energy saving bulbs. You know, the squiggly ones that look like soft-serve ice cream. The first bulb I replaced was in my floor lamp. I was happy to discover I could get a 3-way bulb to replace the old kind I had in it. I rarely use this lamp; it’s really only for those times at night when I might need an extra bit of light, like when I see one of the cats staring intently at a spot on the carpet (they are my early warning bug detector system). But I figured even if I used it infrequently may as well be green about it. Only the bulb didn’t fit, not even when I removed that inner stabilizing ring. No worries, I just went back to the store and exchanged it for a couple of smaller ones for my table lamps. Well, the smaller bulbs didn’t fit the smaller lamps either. Nor did they fit in the ceiling fixtures. I will say this, all my lamps, with the exception of the floor lamp, are pretty old. The ceiling fixtures have to be older still. Maybe newly built houses and brand spanking new lamps will accommodate these Dairy Freeze bulbs. But wait a minute, the floor lamp is only two years old – what gives? So, my attempt to go green with my lighting has come to a screeching halt. I’m not about to go out and replace every lamp and fixture in my house!
As far as energy consumption goes, this won’t really affect me much. I prefer a low-light environment in the evening when I’m watching TV. But I was annoyed that the bulbs wouldn’t fit. I was considering emailing someone about the problem. And then I saw a consumer report on my local news station about the new “green” bulbs. Here is an excerpt from a similar article I found online. All the pink remarks are mine.
"So you broke a CFL light… the good news is they are getting more affordable so it won't hurt the wallet to replace it, the bad news, you probably only have a couple days to live anyway. Ok, kidding about the “couple days to live” but in all seriousness CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury so you are going to want to take some precautions when cleaning them up. No need to call the Hazmat team (yeah right), just follow these simple ( ! ) steps from the EPA…
Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room 1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. (put on a little white mask first!!!) 2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. 3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces (they forgot to mention wear disposable gloves) 1. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid, such as a canning jar, or in a sealed plastic bag. 2. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 3. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag. 4. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug 1. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 2. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 3. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.(this was not recommended by the TV reporter) 4. Remove the vacuum bag, or empty and wipe the canister, and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
Disposal of Clean-up Materials 1. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash. 2. Wash your hands (or better yet, remove your gloves) after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. 3. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.
Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Ventilate the Room During and After Vacuuming 1. The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming. 2. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed."
Now I realize that none of us breaks lightbulbs on a regular basis. But still, it does or can easily happen, so my question is – is this the best of only alternative to incandescent ones we can come up with? It this not more of a lateral green move? All the more reason for get those free energy projects up and running, folks.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.