Although they are ridiculously inefficient, incandescent lightbulbs seem to have a huge number of fans. Despite the romance of the glowing filament, many governments are moving to ban the use of incandescent light bulbs in many applications. Here in the United States, the federal government intends to encourage the use of more efficient light bulbs but there is no outright … [Read more...] about When Incandescent Bulbs Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Incandescent Bulbs
The average home is incredibly inefficient, and nowhere is this more obvious than the ubiquitous electric lightbulb. Compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED lights are an order of magnitude more efficient at converting electricity to lumens rather than heat, but making the switch is not simple. The limitations, pricing, and sheer variety of lighting options are daunting. 1 kW No One … [Read more...] about How I Eliminated Over 2 kW of Lighting at Home
I am in the process of upgrading my own home to make it more energy efficient. I do this mainly as an exercise of faith and science, since my electric and gas bills are not currently all that expensive. But I just can't countenance burning 10 times more electricity than I need to, even if I can afford it. It's also an exercise in geekiness, since today's lighting alternatives … [Read more...] about My 2012 Project: Improving Energy Efficiency
The idea of a product warranty is fairly simple: a company “warrants” that, should their product fail in a specified period of time and circumstances, they will repair or replace it. But the implication of the product warranty is far more subtle: it tells the consumer what level of reliability they should expect. In short, a warranty is all about confidence. But when does a … [Read more...] about What’s the Point of a Warranty, Anyway?
I am certainly not the first person to notice the peculiar “race to the bottom” that happens when products are commoditized. But it is been much in my thoughts recently as I observed the annual tragedy of holiday price wars. How can a company economically produce a DVD player, tablet computer, or even a string of Christmas lights at the prices we see today? Working conditions, … [Read more...] about The Downward Spiral: How Economic Pressure Turns Commodities to Junk