Friday, February 1, 2008

Fluorescent Lights and Ethanol

I've blogged about the wisdom of tweaking your home for energy saving in the past. I guess I'm just kind of a nut on the issue. Something to do with keeping more of my own money, I think. But now it seems it's not just a suggestion. The most recent energy bill put out by President Bush mandates it.

The Energy Bill Tightens up Energy Conservation

Just how does it do that? For one thing, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out. Of course, you don't have to run out and do it tomorrow; the time period is four to twelve years, whatever that means. Sounds a bit ambiguous and vague to me. Oh wait, that's government talking to us.

So what do we replace them with? Either fluorescent lights, low voltage halogens, or LED bulbs. They're making some good progress on LED light bulb clusters. I changed the bulb in my Mag light to LED and it's kind of cool. (Yes, the color is too!)

Another change is taking a stronger stance on Energy Star-rated appliances. That just makes sense. If you're going to replace something anyway, you might as well do so in a way that saves you money down the road. Otherwise, it's kind of like buying dull razor blades!

Speaking of Energy, Ethanol Stinks

Ok, I probably riled someone up with that statement - but it's true. At least it's true in the good 'ol USA. That's because we use corn. It takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than it delivers on the road. And it delivers 10% fewer MPG! So in this case the government is asking us to waste energy. But I guess that's political correctness for you.

The Brazilians nailed it though. They use sugar cane which is a tremendous ROI. We just can't grow as much of it here. And speaking of using so much corn to crank out ethanol, the organically raised cows aren't getting their fair share.

So what are organic cowboys supplementing with? Soy beans. We can't keep up there either. So we're importing them from our favorite trading partner, ahem, China! It's ironic that given all the poison toothpaste and lead-painted toys they send us, that we think the cows are staying organic.

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