My article as originally published in American Thinker
It is encouraging that the ridiculous incandescent light bulb ban has been placed on temporary hold. But that is just part of the story when it comes to the government’s social engineering of energy usage.
The light bulb ban was certainly an annoying case that jolted everyone, got their attention, and generated much resistance, but here in California forced energy savings have been going on for quite some time.
In kitchens it used to be fairly easy to comply with these regulations. The first switch had to control a high efficiency luminaire such as a fluorescent. So we often had to add fluorescent under cabinet lights to the recessed ceiling can lights that most people wanted. This increased costs, both construction costs and overall total wattage, but it complied with the regulation.
The new Title-24 requirements are a little more stringent. Now 50% of the total connected Wattage in the kitchen must come from a high efficiency (poor color rendering fluorescent or expensive LED) lighting source. Sounds like a feel good solution that will save energy right? Not necessarily.
You start with what the customer wants (what a concept) for kitchen lighting. Let’s say that they want six recessed and three pendant incandescent lights. You will use 65W lamps in the cans and 40W in the pendants but you must calculate for their maximum rated Wattage which is usually 100W. That adds up to 900W in this case. So if you want to use the incandescent lights and satisfy the client as well as the government you have to come up with an additional 900W of lighting from a high efficiency source in order to have the government sign off on your work. If this kitchen had room for six fluorescent under-cabinet lights that only gets you to 156W. If you want to stay with the original design you are forced to add an additional 744W of high efficiency lighting in order to comply. Trust me — we find a way to comply.
That’s just the requirements for the kitchen. In bathrooms you’re forced to install expensive occupancy sensor switches if your fixtures aren’t high efficiency. Throughout the rest of the house every switch that controls an “evil” incandescent light has to be a dimmer. All outdoor lighting must be high efficiency as well. If it isn’t, it must be controlled by an annoying motion detector that has a built-in daylight sensor (I wonder if those get disconnected after inspection?).
Having all of these wonderful energy saving products available for people to freely choose is one thing (I really like LED) but unfortunately, as is the case with most of the Left’s social engineering projects, the end results are much different than the original intentions. They’re not as bright as they think they are.
What’s wrong with saving energy? As far as I’m concerned absolutely nothing — as long as it’s voluntary. But tossing aside the free market and forcing inferior or highly expensive products upon Americans is — un-American