Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Landlord Mitzvah: Let There Be Light(bulbs)

I was the recipient of a good deed on Monday! From the landlord, no less. My apartment building’s management had slipped noted under the door that our maintenance guys would be coming by with aerators for our kitchen and bathroom faucets. I’m all for saving water, especially after my appalling results on a water consumption quiz posted on reader Finn’s blog. The aerators also make good sense for our very large building since it will reduce the owner’s bill water bill.

But the surprise good deed: our maintenance guys arrived not just with aerators but with a case of compact fluorescent light bulbs. Even though tenants pay our own electricity, the building decided to offer CFLs, gratis, for the hallway and bathroom light fixtures. I asked why. They said they got a good deal, they knew all the fixtures were identical so it was easy to determine the right wattage — and “we were talking on Earth Day and we thought it would be a nice thing to do for the tenants.” A nice thing indeed, especially since I can’t reach the hallway ceiling fixture on my own and it was still using an old-fashioned bulb.

Today’s mitzvah: As environmental awareness moves into the mainstream, be on the lookout for unlikely compatriots — and cheer them on!


Finn said...

I recently started converting my light bulbs to the energy saving ones as well. I figured out that the 3 I purchased when lit together use about as much energy as 1 standard light bulb. Thats really good energy savings! The only problem I have with them is that I find they take a little while before they reach maximum brightness. Once you get used to it though you don't notice.

Thanks for the mention in your post!! :)

Pam said...

The water consumption quiz is totally depressing. My area of North Carolina is on water restrictions, so the lack of lawn watering is helping my water consumption. Of course, that is sort of a Catch-22, isn't it?

verabear said...

What a good idea, a good deed really!

jen x said...

Pam, yikes, I didn't know you guys were under water restrictions. A Catch-22 indeed!

Johnny 5 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jen x said...

Hi, all:

I initially approved a comment from a poster, "johnny5," who expressed concerns about mercury in compact fluorescents. I only later noticed this reader had included a link to his business (an online source for bulbs other than CFLs) in his post. I have a "no commercial advertisements" policy on the blog, and I wouldn't have allowed this to post if I noticed it contained an advertisement link. (The banners and widgets on the blog raise awareness for projects I support; they are not paid advertisements.)

This poster did, though, raise important issues in his Comments, so I'm including it below (without the advertising link). This poster's profile did not contain any contact information other than "johnny5."

"As someone who sells light bulbs for a living, I am less enthusiastic than most about compact fluorescent bulbs. This is due to the fact that the ones currently available contain significant amounts of mercury. If one of these bulbs should break inside of a person’s home, it could cause a challenging disposal situation. It is my belief that the technology should progress to a point at which the mercury levels are low or nonexistent before people changeover their entire homes. Another consideration is that as these bulbs burn out, they will most likely be thrown away as though they are normal rubbish and landfills will have incredibly high levels of mercury in their soil as a result."

Krissy said...

Most CFLs today on the market contain less than 5mgs of mercury and there are CFL options out there that contain as little as 1.5mgs of mercury- which can hardly be called a “significant amounts of mercury” considering that many item in your home contain 100s of times more of mercury including your computer. Mercury levels in CFLs can never be “nonexistent” since mercury is a necessary component of a CFL and there is no other known element that is capable of replacing it. But CFLs actually prevent more mercury from entering the environment. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist, “a coal-fired power plant will emit about four times more mercury to keep an incandescent bulb glowing, compared with a CFL of the same light output”.