Thursday, September 8, 2011

Missing the Bulb

Europe has decided to kill another of those ingenious inventions Thomas Alva Edison once gave to the world. MP3 made the gramophone obsolete and now the incandescent lamp, vulgo light bulb, will disappear in Europe. New technologies are more complicated than a vacuum with a heated filament inside but what counts in times of global warming against the light bulb that once replaced candles and oil lamps is its low light efficiency.

On September 1, following the phasing out of the 100 and 75 watts the 60 watts bulb must no longer be produced in and imported into Europe. But Germans like their good old light bulbs and with the 60 watts disappearing many people fear the consequences and are building up stocks for bulbs available on the market can still be sold.

One German firm is now selling 60 watts bulbs as culture reserve.

I could not care less for I was always using higher power bulbs until I started to replace them by fluorescent lamps as early as the late 80ies. In the beginning those energy saving light sources were heavy due to their choking coil and iron core. It took minutes before the coiled-up fluorescent tubes reached their temperature and their full light output humming along at 50 hertz. As time went by electronic circuits replaced the inductive loads. These newer light sources are fitting into most existing lamps and are reaching their maximum light output more rapidly.

Nitpicking Germans found out that the energy supply by incandescent lamps will fall flat when people change to energy saving light sources. In order to compensate for the missing thermal energy from light bulbs in the case of passive houses one firm is now selling heatballs instead of meatballs.


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