Monday, July 14, 2008

energy ironies

It seems that everything in life has advantages and disadvantages, ups and downs, and apparently energy resources and the economy are no exception. While I don't consider myself a particularly 'green' person, I am trying to become more aware of the resources I use, although I will sadly admit that it is due in part to feeling the pressure of increasing cost to me. (Selfish and not global-minded, I know...but I'm working on it, gimme a break!!).

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention 2 things in relation to energy costs.

First of all, my precious, wise and totally anal-retentive husband has been considering these costs for months already. He began switching all our light bulbs to the new CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) a while ago, even though I protested that I hated the light that they gave off. (He explained the cost savings, and ended the discussion; that should answer the question for you if anyone is wondering if I'm a 'submissive' wife ;o) *giggle*). I resigned myself to the fact that this is just the way it is...and apparently in the year 2014 they will be the only bulb allowed by the government. THEN I saw a report on tv last night about the danger of these bulbs, as they contain mercury. I had no knowledge of this, nor the fact that you must take special precautions should one of these bulbs break, including evacuating the room for 15 minutes, not coming in contact with any of the parts of the broken bulb, and not sweeping any of it up with any type of vacuum cleaner. Also, apparently (also unbeknownst to me) you can't just toss out these bulbs but have to take special measures to dispose of them (this may vary depending on where you live). Nice information to have. Here's a link for a pretty balanced article that gives the facts without trying to brush over or downplay them, nor trying to instill an unnecessary level of fear. Anyway, I was left with mixed feelings about the bulbs - great we're saving energy, but are these things dangerous?

The other thing we are doing, as a result of the extreme rise in the cost of oil (which happens to be our main - well, only - source of heat) is getting a coal stove to heat our home this winter. After much debate, and cost calculating (oil vs. wood vs. coal vs. electric), (all done by my hubby of course) we determined the best option for us would be to get a coal stove and put it in our basement family room, from which the heat will rise to the main level of our small ranch-style home. Todd assures me that I will be toasty-warm this winter (I think he even said that I might have to wear shorts and a tank top if we do school in downstairs). I was feeling very good about this - getting to save money AND be warm - this must be a good thing!

Then, in looking into both of these, I came across this video, and the irony of it all just about overtook me. The phrase "can't win for trying" comes to mind...

Oh, well. At least I'll be warm come January...

(Here's what I got out of this all - I'm using light bulbs I hate, so that power plants don't have to burn as much coal. And I'm burning coal this winter to save on oil energy. I know, I know, I don't burn as much coal as a power plant...but don't you think the irony is funny?!?!?)


Holly said...

I was feeling the same way about the bulbs that you are! David started a few months ago with talk of changing all our bulbs to them! I was pretty much against it due to the hazards you mentioned - especially with a little one just learning to walk and therefore likely to pull things over - but we went ahead and got a big pack of them at Costco and have replaced a few of our bulbs. They aren't bad as far as the lighting goes, and so far Avery hasn't broken one!!!

Laura said...

the irony is that our power plant doesn't even burn coal... its nuclear, so the bulbs are really all about saving money ;)