The issue with bulbs - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Tukee Talk

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The issue with bulbs

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Travis Roemhild is a reporter at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach him at (480) 898-4903 or

Posted: Monday, July 18, 2011 10:00 am

There has been a lot of debate over whether or not the government should regulate what types of light bulbs Americans can purchase.

I don't want to take a side on The Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act that was voted on this week by the U.S. House of Representatives but I do think there are many, many more pressing and important issues in the hands of Congress right now.

First off, the nation's financial future and debt problems have to be dealt with and taking the time to discuss and vote to overturn something that was passed in 2007 (the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which bans the sale of incandescent bulbs starting in 2012), well it just seems like the time could be spent a little better.

When the House voted on the BULB Act on July 11, the measure, which would ultimately repeal the standards set forth in the 2007 act, voted 233 to 193 in favor of the act, but need a two-thirds majority to ultimately pass it.

Both sides of the argument have solid ground to stand on. On one side, people are arguing that the government is reducing personal choice and will be forcing people to buy, albeit a more efficient bulb in the compact fluorescent (CFL), but one that is more expensive and takes longer to "warm up."

Other choices include LED bulbs, which are both more efficient but also come with similar drawbacks. They take longer to warm up, don't dim and, for CFLs, contain mercury.

On the other side is, of course, the environment. Incandescent bulbs will last up to 1,000 hours compared to between 6,000 and 10,000 hours for CFLs, and up to 20,000 hours for LEDs. This means fewer bulbs ending up in landfills.

They are also more energy efficient. Compared to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, an equivalent CFL is about 15 watts and an LED is 7 watts.

Both sides have pros and cons to their argument and only time will tell whether or not the incandescent bulb will ultimately be phased out in the next couple of years.

Congress, how about we compromise on our economic and debt issues first?

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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