You are Overdue to Convert to LED Lighting


If you haven’t yet replaced your incandescent and CFL lighting with LED’s you are wasting money every single day that you postpone it. While the initial conversion investment is high, the energy savings are noticeable in your electric bills.
I converted a couple of years back, and there’s no way I will allow incandescent lights in my house anymore.

“The rapid adoption of LEDs in lighting marks one of the fastest technology shifts in human history,” Goldman Sachs stated in a new report.

I recommend that you shop carefully because these bulbs are more expensive and because it’s likely that they will last 3-10 years. Getting halfway through your conversion and then deciding you want cool white instead of soft white is a big, and costly mistake. The four main factors you want to consider when shopping:

  1. Lumens – this is a measure of how bright the light is, however if you are more comfortable with wattage equivalence most packaging will tell you what incandescent wattage that the bulb is equivalent too. If you are converting from incandescent then wattage equivalence is probably your best method for selecting the appropriate brightness. ( e.g. equivalent to 60w, 75w, 100 w, etc.)
  2. Kelvin – this is a measure of where this bulb fits on the color scale – whether you select Soft white ( ~2700 Kelvin) for it’s warm, incandescent look, Cool white ( ~4100 Kelvin) for it’s whiter, brighter look or if you go fully modern with daylight (~ 5000 – 6500 Kelvin) and it’s bright blue-white look you want to get it right. While it’s possible to mix and match, it’s a notable difference when you have light pools from different kelvin range bulbs overlapping. So if you do use different Kelvin bulbs, it’s best to keep them in separate rooms – e.g. daylight bulbs everywhere except in bedrooms, where you use soft white instead.

  3. Wattage used – try to get the light brightness and Kelvin range you want with the lowest watt usage. Reducing watts used to save money over time is exactly what this conversion is about.

  4. Manufacturer – there are lots of people making these bulbs now, but from my experience the no-name and off brands struggle with quality and consistency. Get a good brand, like GE, Sylvania, FEIT.

Let’s talk a second about conversion strategies and other considerations. Some LED’s are flaky when you put them on dimmer switches, so make sure you get the dimmable LED bulb if that’s where they are going. Don’t expect a smooth dimming scale either, you only get two levels of brightness when you use a dimmer with LED’s.

If you are on a budget and can only afford to replace a couple of bulbs per paycheck, then start with your highest wattage lighting applications first balanced against the lights that are on the longest every day. The high wattage offenders tend to be yard lights, garage/shop lights, basement lights, and kitchen lights – however those usually aren’t the lights that you use the most. Replace the lights you use most first, then replace the rest from highest wattage to lowest in order.

Lastly, pay attention to socket or mount type – this is the type of fixture or socket size that the bulb fits into. Good luck on your replacement project!

Below is an article about the LED revolution and a link to 5 Charts at Think Progress to help you figure out why this is a good decision:

The accelerated deployment of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs is on track to save U.S. consumers and businesses $20 billion a year in electricity costs within a decade, which would lower U.S. CO2 emissions by some 100 million metric tons a year! The growing global effort to speed up LED adoption could ultimately cut global energy costs and carbon pollution 5 times as much.

Currently the best LED bulbs cut electricity use by 85 percent compared to incandescent light bulbs and by 40 percent compared to fluorescent lights. By 2020, Goldman expects those savings to increase to over 90 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Let’s look at some key charts and facts that illustrate the LED lighting “miracle,” which is every bit as remarkable — and every bit as unheralded by the major media — as the solar miracle, the battery miracle, and the electric vehicle miracle.

More: 5 Charts That Illustrate The Remarkable LED Lighting Revolution

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

tidal-flatsIt’s 256-178 against Republicans in the House of Representatives and it’s 59-41 in the Senate, our President is Democrat and likely to get two or more Supreme Court appointments during his coming term or terms. The most populous states in the country are solidly in the (D) column, and our last holdout states are being worked on by the Dems as I type (Pelosi was in Texas yesterday, and many prominent Dems are making regular sweeps – it’s the next populous red state they are working on converting to a grape.) That’s our reality and what we must deal with.

Our tide has receded and we stand amidst wrack and drying foam upon a desolate shore. What’s next for us? Will we starve and shrink, or can we somehow pull that tide back?

To do so takes a long term, mid term, and short term strategies based on reality. Neither strategies based on what’s happening in the news cycle at the moment, nor strategies based on worries and wishes will work.

There’s been lots of coulda, shoulda, woulda analysis of the past election but one thing is very clear – many of our pundits and strategists are now betting the farm on a four and out failure scenario and the conventional wisdom that the party out of power gains in mid term elections. While balancing will come into play, we can’t count on that alone in 2010.

I’m one of those nutty guys who likes to plan for worst case and be happily surprised and cheer like a madman if anything better does occur. You won’t see me thinking Obama’s going to shoot both of his feet off, and you won’t see me planning how to win last election, or thinking that we will still be in recession in four years. Capitalism is stronger that that, no matter what the Dems do – it’s a primal force of human nature that can’t be overcome. Even in Communist China and the old Soviet Union it can’t be overcome. Preparing for the last war you had instead of the war that’s coming is a classic military blunder and the outcome of that can be even worse in the political arena.

First let’s look at short term: what we can do until election 2010 and the levers we have available.

With the Democrat super-majority we do not have a lot of options. To ameliorate bad legislation our levers amount to these:

  • Blocking in committee and using procedural rules where we can based on specific reasoned points that create political opportunities. Easy grandstanding populist issues should be eschewed as the general public will see through these with the ever present aid of the adversarial press
  • Influencing moderate and right democrats on specific regional issues: pair off teams of Republican legislators from their region with Democrats who are on the bubble or at risk in conservative to moderate states. This will not work if the R’s are branded RINO and beset by the nihilistic far right of our party.
  • Influencing through public campaigns and the Democrat’s constituency – target the Democrat Congress critter’s base with the agitprop, not the Republican base or the already converted in his area. This means retooling some of the bumper stickers to appeal more to the left not to the right. The red meat we use against them must be cooked to their liking, not ours if they are to swallow it.
  • Working through the courts to challenge unconstitutional segments of new legislation. The opportunities here are plentiful, each new session of congress seems less capable of writing legislation that will stand up in court. e.g. a few Property rights and Free Speech cases in the West could get us a lot of mileage.
  • Working at State level to supercede and challenge that which is truly unconstitutional – doing this for social issues gets us the FAIL, doing it for gun rights, sound fiscal policy, property rights, and individual liberties gets us the win, because if we don’t pull back the West and some of the North east we become the permanent superminority. Becoming the new Dixiecrat party is not only antithetical to our founding (our first platform was “Free State Kansas”,) but it will also ensure that we become irrelevant at national level for the next decade.

These are levers we can pull – but they are near term tactics, not a strategy. To get to a workable strategy we have to know the terrain and we can worry about the local weather after we figure out where the hills and valleys are.

To do that I propose that the Republican party commission an objective third party firm to conduct a neutral survey. Not a push survey set up to highlight Republican issues like you get every election. (You know the one I’m talking about: it begs for money after trying to push your hot-buttons with a supposed survey.) Make some of the questions on the survey open: don’t give multiple choice selections instead ask openly without prompting what their top three issues are and allow them to hand write or voice their answer.

This survey needs to be of the general public and it needs to be set up not to elicit push or pull responses but rather to survey true beliefs and positions.

We need to also poll our own base with the same survey. We don’t need a Frank Luntz or Dick Morris type involved in this, we need a double blind uninvolved and objective third party firm that’s not tied to a party, think tank, or news agency. Neutral and objective must be our watchwords for this.

Why do we need it? There have been some amazing shifts in demographics the past fifteen years, and the traditional base of what constitutes a Republican has changed, and America has changed as well. With that change in terrain we are fighting on new ground. We need a real assessment. When that comes back we must take off our blinders, blinkers, and rose colored glasses.

First step is to match up areas of agreement between our base and the general public. Those are our strengths so we must make some of those our lead issues, and if they are our strongest cards  then we must base strategy upon them.

Second we must look at areas where we are in major disagreement with the general public. Those are the important stumbling blocks, those are the issues the Dems will make grape states with.

Pundits: Don’t assume you know this already. You might have an inkling, but don’t project your wishes on the results. When and if the returns come back read the sections that make you weep, take a look in the mirror and do some soul searching – don’t make up conspiracy theories to justify the difference, don’t what- if the results. Instead take it, absorb it, sleep on it, and then think on it some more before you come to conclusions.

While you are waiting on that survey that might never happen, please pick up this book, and look at some of the factors over the last few decades that defy conventional wisdom and punditry on elections. Red State Blue State, Rich State, Poor State contains a lot of charts and graphs based on empirical reality. It tries to be neutral, but the left loves it because it underlines their class warfare line that the Republican party is the party of the rich.

It turns out that Rich people vote Republican more often, and Poor people vote Democrat more often. Nothing earth shattering there, you could say the authors are being masters of the obvious. However the big paradigm shift you have to pay attention to is this: Poor states vote Republican, Rich States vote Democrat.  You can hypothesize about that if you like, but the conclusion I’ve come to is that populous states have larger middle and upper classes. What must we do to get them back?

To me the answer is not Populism as that appeals to the poor states already in the Republican column and not necessarily the middle and upper classes in more populous urban states.

If we can’t win populous states we can’t be a national party. Think on it please.

Update: The Sensuous Curmudgeon has an Open Letter to the Party that’s well worth reading here.

The next installment in this series will map mid-game and long term strategies: Where is the Republican party going to head for the rest of the century? Is it a positive appealing direction?

An Infamous Date

Here’s historical US and Japanese footage of the attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. History shows the outcome, and it would do the world well to remember what the US can do when fully committed to a war.