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Light therapy can relieve symptoms of seasonal depression December 1, 2009

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Light Bulbs Always Make Me Happy!

Zoinks! Here is a great article on using light help treat seasonal depression. It comes from the Cleveland.com website. Useful info!

Dr. Z


Light therapy can relieve symptoms of seasonal depression

By Angela Townsend, The Plain Dealer

Kim Sherwin’s recent two-and-a-half week trip to Europe, made partly to watch the Cleveland Orchestra performances in Vienna, Austria, was perfect except for one thing.

She forgot her portable light therapy device.

The contraption is what helps Sherwin endure the overcast, dark and dreary days from September through March.

Sherwin, 70, of Cleveland, suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

SAD is a form of depression marked by its consistency of almost always occurring in late fall or early winter.

The decrease in sunlight, compounded by shifting the clock back one hour, can affect an individual’s internal clock that regulates the sleep-wake rhythm.

And that, in turn, can do a number on energy levels. Symptoms include sleeping more than usual, eating more, particularly carbohydrates, and having an overall tendency to hibernate deeply.

For Sherwin, that meant staying in bed most days until afternoon.

“It just gets grimmer and grimmer, and I don’t want to get out of bed,” she said.

That’s where light therapy comes in. Five years ago, Sherwin, who takes antidepressants for other forms of depression, started using light therapy every morning.

Light therapy is the best form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. George Tesar, chairman of the department of psychiatry and psychology at the Cleveland Clinic.

Light therapy is not about sitting in a room illuminated with regular or fluorescent bulbs.

Nor is it jetting off to a warm, sunny climate for a few days, although that might provide fleeting relief.

Rather, it’s exposure to a special light with a particularly high intensity.

“Your eyes have to be open, and the back of your eyes need to see this light,” Tesar said. “The light that hits your retina triggers the changes in the brain that result in a positive response that relieves the depression.”

The light helps regulate one’s internal alarm clock, or circadian rhythm. It also helps regulate melatonin, the sleep hormone, and serotonin, the chemical in the brain that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Changes in serotonin levels can affect a host of things, such as mood, appetite, sleep and memory.

The best time for light therapy is first thing in the morning, for about 30 minutes a day. Most people start to notice subtle changes in the first couple of weeks. But “the moment you stop using it, the effects start to wear off,” Tesar said.

Antidepressants (such as Wellbutrin, the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the specific treatment of SAD) are also available for more severe cases if light therapy isn’t effective.

“It’s best to avoid medication if you can,” Tesar said. “But if other treatments don’t work, it’s shortsighted not to try medication. Sometimes that’s the only thing to help re-regulate the chemical environment of the brain.”

Experts also recommend reducing carbohydrate intake, exercising more, staying social and getting fresh air whenever you can.

Light therapy, which has not been approved by the FDA to treat seasonal affective disorder, isn’t designed for everyone (extra caution is needed for people with pre-existing eye disease and certain mood disorders).

It’s easy to order devices online or buy them in stores, but using them should be done under a doctor’s supervision.

A couple of years ago, Sherwin stopped using a big light box and switched to a newer product the size of a compact disc holder.

Today, Sherwin eats breakfast and reads the newspaper while her Litebook sits off to the side, providing her light therapy for 30 minutes every morning.

“It just starts to grow on you,” Sherwin said. “So many people complain about the problems they have, but I just don’t think people know about these machines.”

The Litebook Co. is collaborating with Harvard University, Yale University and universities in Canada and the Netherlands on a clinical trial that started last December to explore how the product can be most effective in treating SAD.

“People have always acted like broad spectrum light is important, but it’s the pattern of light that’s important,” said Dr. Paul Desan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University who is coordinating the study.

Desan and his team are testing to see how the Litebook affects a person’s circadian rhythm. “Right now, [no device] that has been developed has been approved by the FDA to treat seasonal affective disorder,” Desan said. “We’d like to change that. We think this is the direction that the field is going in.”

Finding the right light

At least a dozen companies sell a wide variety of light therapy products — visors, alarm clocks, floor lamps, big light boxes — even though the Food and Drug Administration has not approved their use to treat seasonal affective disorder. Here’s some things you should know before buying.

What to look for

A good starting point for picking a product is to look for the unit of light intensity, or LUX. Special light therapy products often have 10,000 LUX, versus 500 LUX of a standard light bulb.

It’s important that the product emit little or no ultraviolet light. Some newer products use blue light instead of the standard white light found in most light therapy boxes. Some research suggests that blue light is more effective at reducing SAD symptoms; however, the retina is much more sensitive to blue light than it is to white light and could be damaged if directly exposed.

Check your insurance

Light therapy usually isn’t an item that insurance companies uniformly cover, but it’s worth checking with your provider; sometimes providing documentation of a SAD diagnosis from a physician is all you need.


How Many Lightbulbs? November 2, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! Check Out Physicist David Mackay’s video of how  the  light bulb  provides a graphic way of communicating to non-physicists the scale of the energy gap now facing our society! Light bulbs will always lead the way for me!

Dr. Z

Zbulbs: Make the Switch!

Cambridge University physicist, David Mackay, in a passionate, personal analysis of the energy crisis in the UK, in which he comes to some surprising conclusions about the way forward. The film is based on his new book Sustainable Energy without the hot air, in which Prof Mackay has calculated the numbers involved for the alternatives to fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil.

He debunks some myths about energy saving – unplugging our phone chargers, does not make any appreciable difference. After showing us what won’t work – he goes on to show what will make a difference at home, like turning your thermostat down.

But, his big point is that this will not be enough – individual efforts are not enough. Instead we need to make sweeping national changes to our energy production, and we can’t reject everything available to us. If we are going to follow the advice of climate scientists, and get off fossil fuels by 2050, which currently provide 90% of our energy, Britain’s main options are wind power and nuclear power. But to make this huge change in our power supply, Mackay says that we have to get building now!

For more information go to David Mackays website

Drying up of lightbulbs has German in a lather October 19, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, incandescent light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

ZOinks! The Controversy over the European Incandescent Light Bulb Ban continues. This Oct 17th article from the LA Times gives the lowdown..

-Dr. Z


Reporting from Frankfurt, Germany – Here’s a twist: How many lightbulbs does it take to change a person?

For Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, the answer is 3,000. That’s how many bulbs are squirreled away in his modest apartment here in Frankfurt, the number that turned an otherwise ordinary guy into a hoarder, made him the object of his neighbors’ pity and got him thinking about death and divorce.

His enormous stockpile is the fruit of a frenzied summer shopping spree. For weeks, he spent many of his waking hours on the phone and online tracking down vendors and snapping up enough incandescent bulbs to last him the rest of his life.

The buying binge was necessary, he said, to beat a ban by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, the manufacture and import of 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been outlawed within the EU, to be followed by their dimmer brethren in coming years. Once current stocks are gone, such bulbs will join Thomas Edison in the history books.

“It will run out,” Ziegler warned of the limited supply, “and everyone will be sorry.”

The ban is part of the EU’s effort to retard global warming. The object is to encourage people to switch from traditional energy-wasting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer and are up to 75% more efficient.

For EU officials, it’s all about the math. Ditching old-fashioned bulbs, they say, will save nearly 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020, equivalent to the output of 10 power stations. Australia has already abandoned incandescent bulbs, and the United States is set to begin phasing them out in the next few years as well.

But not everyone considers it such a bright idea. The ban has been met with some resistance in Europe, showing what happens when the collective goal of greening the planet clashes with issues of individual choice and even aesthetics.

Dissenters such as Ziegler have sprung up across the continent, people who complain that fluorescent lamps are inferior, more expensive and come with their own environmental problems. Art galleries fret over how best to display their works without the warm glow cast by incandescent bulbs. A petition to save the conventional bulb is circulating on the Internet.

There have also been reports of runs on lighting stores. In Britain, where major retailers began taking 100-watt incandescent bulbs off their shelves even earlier, in January, a retired teacher in southern England spent $800 of her pension to buy 1,000 of them.

“There’s been quite a bit of consumer backlash,” acknowledged Peter Hunt, chief executive of Britain’s Lighting Assn. “A lot of it we expected.”

To help consumers and manufacturers get used to the change, the EU decided not to ax all incandescent bulbs at once. Last month’s ban covers 100-watt clear bulbs and all frosted ones. Clear 40- and 60-watt incandescents are to be eased out by September 2012.

The advantages of the ban outweigh any deficiencies, EU officials say. Good-quality fluorescent bulbs can last years, many times the life span of regular bulbs, so although they cost more, they are more economical in the long run.

The new lamps also cut electricity bills because of their more efficient use of energy. In conventional bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat rather than converted to light.

“You can . . . look at it the same way that you’re looking at improvements of washing machines and fridges, where consumers don’t even notice that the fridges [have] become more efficient,” said Andras Toth, a policy officer in the EU’s energy directorate.

Maybe. But then how to explain that low-energy fluorescent lamps have been around for 25 years but have never caught on with consumers? Though he supports the switch-over, Hunt acknowledges that there were good reasons why fluorescent bulbs were passed over on store shelves.

“The early ones were the size of large jam jars, they flickered, they had a cold blue light and they took a long time to switch on,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that consumers have a bad preconception of this lighting.”

The technology has improved considerably on all those counts, Hunt said. But fluorescent bulbs haven’t shaken their bad rap.

Their start-up time still lags well behind the instant on-and-off of incandescent bulbs. They cannot be used with dimmer switches. And the most commonly available ones still do not provide the same spectrum of light as the old lamps, which worries art collectors, photographers and others who need light sources that offer sharp color rendition. (Officials point out that halogen bulbs, which give off light of a similar quality to incandescent varieties, remain on the market.)

Then there is the fluorescent bulbs’ mercury content, up to 5 milligrams per bulb. Cleaning up a shattered bulb requires more than just sweeping up jagged shards: Users should ventilate the room and avoid touching pieces with bare skin.

Still, “if you compare it to other mercury content, like dental fillings, the amount we’re talking about is really rather small,” Toth said. “And you have to be extremely unlucky to be exposed to it in a dangerous way.”

None of that cuts any ice with Ziegler.

A writer and former art critic, he sees the EU’s ban as unnecessarily extreme. Why not slap a tax on the old-fashioned bulbs, rather than outlaw them entirely?

“The law just says you can’t use the best lightbulb ever invented,” he grumbled.

A few months ago, with the Sept. 1 deadline looming like a neon sign, he decided to take preemptive action.

With typical German precision, he went through every room of his apartment with a floor plan in hand, marking an X wherever there was a light fixture — about 25 in all — and noting what kind of bulb it required. Then he took the checklist to his local vendor, who worked out how many bulbs Ziegler would need for the next decade.

“I said forget 10 years,” Ziegler recalled. “I want a lifetime supply.”

That, though, posed an unanticipated question. At 50, he suddenly had to ponder — or guess — how much longer he expected to live. He drafted his wife into his existential contemplations, and together, like actuaries, they finally decided that a lifetime supply meant enough bulbs to last 30 years.

Laying his hands on 3,000 incandescent bulbs was another story. He cleaned out one supplier and went on to the next, seeking them out on the Internet. Bulky packages kept arriving at the apartment, and “I was not unaware of the pitying looks of my neighbors,” he confessed in a newspaper column.

Thankfully, his wife supported his panic buying, because she “hates [fluorescent bulbs] even more than I do,” Ziegler said.

But that sparked yet another uncomfortable discussion. Who gets custody of the hoard in case of divorce? (Stay tuned.)

For now, the incandescent cache is carefully stowed away in the attic, to which Ziegler disappears to extract an unusually shaped bulb to show a visitor the way a wine lover might disappear down the cellar to produce a prized bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Ziegler still hopes the EU ban will somehow fail, or be repealed. He’s mulling the idea of writing a political manifesto on behalf of the incandescent bulb, laying out its history and its merits.

And he urges people to build their own stockpiles as soon as they can, before supplies dry up.

“If you want to get in on it, get in,” he said. “It’s not too late.”

Light bulb ban finds some Europeans in the dark September 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information.
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A display shows a traditional light bulb (l.) and two energy-saving bulbs at a do-it-yourself store in Dortmund, Germany on August 31.

A display shows a traditional light bulb (l.) and two energy-saving bulbs at a do-it-yourself store in Dortmund, Germany on August 31.

Zoinks! More controversy over the lightbulb ban in Europe! Check it out!

Dr. Z



Light bulb ban finds some Europeans in the dark

By Andrew Heining


Um, lighten up?

A week after the EU’s light bulb ban went into effect – traditional filament, incandescent bulbs over 100 watts may no longer be bought by retailers, though old stock may be sold until it’s gone – some Europeans are hoarding – and howling.

Old habits die hard, and among the Europeans proving the saying true are patrons at Chris Abbott’s “Abbott’s DIY,” a British hardware store with two branches. Abbott told Sky News, and the Dartmouth Chronicle reports, that:

“Everyone wants to be more environmentally friendly, but in some cases the low energy bulbs are just not suitable and until there is a viable alternative the opinion I am getting is that they should not yet be banned, until such time that there is a better quality alternative.”

“In both our stores we have seen unprecedented buying of all traditional types of light bulbs, and speaking to other hardware retailers across the region they are all experiencing the same.

“But as the ban is only on import and manufacture, retailers are still allowed to sell them, so we have filled our storeroom up to bursting point so that we can continue to supply our customers for at least the next few years.”

One possible answer to the light-quality complaints: this LED-based bulb from Sharp. As design blog Inhabitat reported in June, the bulb comes with a dimmer-switch remote control that can change the output between seven shades of white. One concern it doesn’t address? The cost. The Sharp bulbs cost $82 apiece.
But hoarding the old-style bulbs doesn’t make much economic sense, either, government officials are saying. CFLs use significantly less energy, and immediately begin paying themselves off. The New York Times

One bulb can cost €10, or $14 — or a lot more, depending on type — whereas traditional incandescent bulbs cost about 70 cents each. But E.U. officials argued that the energy savings would cut average household electricity bills by up to €50 a year, amounting to about €5 billion annually. That would help buoy the economy if consumers spent their savings, they said.

That rationale isn’t swaying some Britons. They’ve found a loophole in the plan and are exploiting it. The new ban covers light bulbs sold for home use, but it can’t touch those meant for industrial applications. As Telegraph reader Brian Rogers told the paper:

I suggest you pay a visit to your local electrical wholesaler and ask for a “rough service” lamp. These are identical to the normal ones except for slightly thicker glass envelopes and extra filament supports. They are more robust than the normal household item as their main use is in garage pit inspection lights and they need to stand up to more abuse.

The US has a similar CFL mandate going into effect in 2012. In addition to the concerns already mentioned, some in the US are decrying the health hazards of the new bulbs.

CNN, in its spectacularly headlined “The fluorescent light bulb boogeyman,” points to a 2007 case in Maine, where a woman, aware that CFLs contained toxic mercury, called state officials who told her to bring in a hazardous waste cleaning crew – to the tune of $2,000. That advice was given before an official policy on CFL disposal was implemented, Maine officials told CNN, and users are no longer advised to call in the troops in hazmat suits when a bulb breaks.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency,” CNN reports, “the average fluorescent light bulb contains about 4 milligrams of mercury, over 100 times less than found in an old mercury thermometer.”

The Dancer at the Lightbulb Factory. The Art of working in a Lightbulb Factory. July 31, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Here is a great article on a lightbulb factory in China. These people take their jobs to whole new level!
Dr. Z
Getting Down At the Light Bulb Factory

Getting Down At the Light Bulb Factory

Have you ever seen a lightbulb being made? It is a long, fast dance of glittering, breakable parts: legs of glass and filament arms shuttled around shakily, doll versions of Charlie Chaplin in the gears, finally tested and transformed into dazzling, glowing, blinking landscapes thrown back at their heavy-metal creators. The ballet mecanique of the lightbulb can’t help but be nostalgic for an American audience. Where have our factories gone? To China, of course—where Cao Fei’s video Whose Utopia is set in a real lightbulb factory. The first part of the 20-minute video portrays the creation of a lightbulb from start to finish, and this abstract and gorgeous scenario lasts until about halfway through, when hopelessly soft human parts appear: slender female fingers pricked while sorting through tiny heaps of sharp metal bits, shoulders slumped, eyesight going. The bulb bodies take their toll on the flesh ones—an old story—but that’s not the end of it. The flesh fights back. Cao directed real workers to express themselves inside the factory: a ballerina twirling slowly within a canyon of boxes stacked to the factory ceiling, a man soft-shoeing under a sky of fluorescents, a dancer wearing angel wings working alongside everyone else at the long assembly bench. Each moment is a little protest by a still-hopeful member of China’s rapidly developing economy in the Pearl River Delta region, where Cao was commissioned by Siemens to create this video at the Osram factory—a subsidiary of Siemens. Whose Utopia is an unusually direct yet poetic study of the interlock of art and economics in contemporary China, where Cao’s father is a sculptor for the state and Cao’s awareness of her censors, both governmental and corporate, is built into her process from the start. My Future Is Not a Dream is the name of a rock band formed by a handful of the young workers, individuals who have left their hometowns and come to this industrial zone with big dreams. Their lyrics accompany the final section of Whose Utopia, in which the factory moves while individual workers stand still for portraits in work clothes, as in August Sander’s early-20th-century photographs of German workers. “Part of your life had waned and waned,” their song goes in slightly broken English. “And to whom do you beautifully belong?” Cao enlisted the workers as coauthors instead of mere subjects to empower them: “The conditions that these workers live under is generally highly invisible to a broader public,” she told the Vancouver, B.C.–based magazine Fillip. “What this project does is release the workers from a standardized notion of productivity. What we are doing is production, but a type of production that connects back to the personal. I am like a social worker. They don’t regard me as an artist. They think I’m an event organizer.” Maybe so, but what makes the video so moving is its hopelessness to those of us on the other end of rapid industrialization. This is not going to work out, we think. And the art is, in some sense, playing along by offering the carrot of a fleeting transcendence. Resistance is futile—or fatal. This is the China in which so-called “cutting-edge” contemporary artists (such as Cai Guo-Qiang of the “exploding cars” at Seattle Art Museum) produce Olympics spectacles. This is China, post–Tiananmen Square. And without being too nationalistic, it is necessary to point out that we helped to create it. In February 1989, just months before the government executed a still-unknown number of student protesters at Tiananmen Square, a large exhibition called China/Avant-Garde opened at the National Gallery in Beijing. Authorities shut it down shortly after it opened (because of a performance including gunshots), then allowed it to reopen and shut it down again, twice. It ran for only two weeks, but it marked the culmination of a movement that had been taking place throughout the 1980s in China, informed as much by Mao’s Cultural Revolution as by Russian kitsch art and American Pop. Early Pop was really invented by two fountainheads: Robert Rauschenberg, whose ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, pronounced “Rocky” after his pet turtle) Project visited and influenced Beijing in 1985, and Jasper Johns, whose 20 years of depicting the lightbulb (1957–76) is the subject of a small exhibition on the floor below Cao’s video at the Henry Art Gallery. Jasper Johns: Light Bulb, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, is a nerdacious little universe of experimentation you could disappear into—but its coincidental appearance here with Cao’s study of a lightbulb factory pulls it into a broader context of economic and social history. Cao, born in 1978, is a generation beyond what Art in America termed the “Children of Mao and Coca-Cola,” and maybe not even aware of Johns’s lightbulb works, but the connections are natural. Both Cao and Johns undercut the cliché that art is something that appears magically, like a lightbulb above the head. Cao depicts light as nothing more than a commercial product (and key to a surveillance system); Johns’s lightbulbs are simply devoid of light. Made in bronze, plaster, or lead, Johns’s lightbulbs are heavy, dark, and solid: the anti-lightbulbs. In lithographs, they cast shadows rather than light. They wear the stamps of their manufacturers rather than the artist’s signature, in the classic Pop move of replacing the artist with the machine. Just as light is the product of certain systems, so are artistic ideas. The artist is a manufacturer, too; now: of what? And Johns is also a case of the co-opted critique. The most laconic of the Pop artists, his work is nevertheless today affordable only to the extremely rich. His idea-objects have been elevated to the status of the magical and the rare, an ultimate reversal of the multiple and the banal nature of his subjects: lightbulbs, maps, flags, targets, numbers. Every lightbulb has its price.

Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atoms July 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Theory for argument sake..
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Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Light bulbs are in the news all over the place and its seems that everybody’s atom are getting excited about the possibility of the perfect light source.. and speaking of excited atoms check out the story below on how “excited”



Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atomsJuly 10, 2009 – 5:24PM A groundbreaking study measuring how long atoms stay “excited” could help scientists build better and more energy efficient lightbulbs, its authors say. Researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra found excited helium atoms – a key ingredient in most fluorescent lighting – remained in that state for 8,000 seconds or just over two hours. The precise finding could lead the way to building more efficient lights, Professor Ken Baldwin said. The year-long study shone a light into the murky world of excited atoms, he said. “Without that exact data, you are in some degree working in the dark,” he told AAP. “It’s a piece of fundamental scientific evidence that could be well utilised in the lighting industry.” Lightbulbs are charged by igniting gases, such as helium, with electricity, Prof Baldwin said. This simple discovery of knowing how long atoms stay excited would help technicians to potentially use less electricity. The research team used lasers to isolate a cloud of helium atoms within a vacuum, measuring the rate at which they emitted ultraviolet photons to revert back to their normal, stable state. Prof Baldwin said there had been just one earlier attempt by scientists to measure the duration of excited helium atoms, but it had not been accurate. This latest finding was correct to within six per cent.

New York Times Article: Obama Toughens Rules for Some Lighting July 6, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Fluorescent light, LED Lights, light bulb, List Article.
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let the light bulb wars begin

let the light bulb wars begin

GadZOoks! More info coming from the New York Times on Obama’s tougher lightening standards. Who knew light bulbs could stir up so much controversy?
Dr. Z
Published: June 29, 2009

President Obama announced tougher energy efficiency requirements for certain types of fluorescent and incandescent lighting on Monday, the latest step in the administration’s push to cut the country’s energy use.

The new rule , scheduled to take effect in 2012, will cut the amount of electricity used by affected lamps by 15 to 25 percent and save $1 billion to $4 billion a year for consumers, the White House said.

“Now I know light bulbs may not seem sexy,” Mr. Obama said, “but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses.”

Of the two types of lighting covered by Monday’s announcement, the most important is “general service fluorescent lamps,” which commonly take the form of tubular office lights (but do not include the squiggly compact fluorescents commonly found in home lamps).

The other type of lighting covered by the new rule is incandescent reflector lamps; these cone-shaped fixtures can often be found in track lighting.

“We believe this will be the biggest efficiency savings from any appliance standard ever,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an advocacy organization.

The Energy Department has not updated the efficiency requirements for these lighting types since they were established by Congress in 1992. The department was supposed to update the requirement in 1997, according to Mr. Nadel, but it fell well behind on this and other appliance standards. In 2006 a federal court settlement required the department to move expeditiously to clear its backlog.

A broader push is under way to make lighting more efficient, aided by improving technologies. A 2007 energy bill mandated stronger efficiency requirements for the pear-shaped incandescent bulbs commonly found in homes. New efficiency requirements for two more types of lighting, floor and table lamps and outdoor lighting fixtures, are under consideration in Congress.

Susan Bloom, a spokeswoman for Philips, a major lighting manufacturer, said that her team was still combing through the lengthy document, but strongly supported the Energy Department’s efforts. “We’re all about helping to increase energy efficiency standards for lighting,” she said.

Blanketing Doesn’t Keep Horses from Growing Winter Coats; But Lighting Can! June 17, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Fluorescent light, List Article.
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Gadzooks! Its me Dr Z! Here is a great article for you horse lovers out there. The article is about using fluorescent lighting to keep a horse’s coat short (without clipping). Horses can turn into real fuzzballs in the winter and if you are show horse thats going to effect your stage time. ZOinks!

Dr. Z




Icelandic Horse (www.wikimedia.org) 

Contrary to what many people think, horses don’t grow winter coats because temperatures drop. Rather, it is a response to the length of the day. As days get shorter, horses’ coats get longer. 

This means that some of the “traditional” methods of trying to reduce a horse’s winter coat, such as early blanketing or keeping them in a heated a barn, actually have no effect.

To keep a horse’s coat short (without clipping) many show barns use lighting to artificially lengthen the day and “fool” the horse into not growing a winter coat.

Researchers at Texas A&M University’s Department of Equine Scientists tested the theory that exposing horses to 16 hours of “daylight” (the length of the day on the summer solstice) to find out if it would retard fall hair growth or cause early shedding. The experiment was conducted on 16 horses (yearlings and two year olds) that were randomly assigned to normal or extended day length groups.

The project started October 1 when the extended day length (ED) group started receiving 16 hours of day light per day and the non-extended day length (NED) groups received natural day light only.  All horses were housed in the same non-heated barn and none of the horses were blanketed throughout the project. 

On day 1 the hair on a 1×2 inch square, under the mane, was clipped then shaved to skin level. Hair from these areas was reclipped on days 28 and 56 and measured for growth.  

After 28 days, the two groups showed approximately equal growth. But from there, the differences became obvious. On the last day of the experiment, December 6th, the hair on the NED group was nearly three times longer than the hair on the ED group.

Surprisingly, you don’t need special lamps to achieve this effect: you can use standard incandescent or fluorescent lights placed over, or close to, a horse’s stall. Horses have shown a response with as little as 3 foot candles of light (one foot candle is the amount of light that a birthday cake candle generates from one foot away), but 10 foot candles of light is the standard recommendation. Essentially, if you can read a newspaper from any location in the stall, you have enough light. 

To achieve the effect, horses need to receive 16 continuous hours of light (natural and artificial) and 8 hours of darkness. 24 hours of continuous light doesn’t do the trick; there needs to be a period of darkness. Most barn owners use timers to achieve the desired amount of light.

The other effect of keeping horses under lights is that mares will continue to come into season.

ZOinks! Its a new Dr. Z video. Y and Z Lighthouse Rock Band June 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, LED Lights, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Join Dr. Z and Mr. Y as the rock out on the Fred Smullivan Variety show. Light bulb guitar! Light Bulb Drums! Strange audience members. Rabbit faced groupies and light bulbs! Light bulbs! Light BULBS!
ZBULBS. The Lighthouse Band will rock your socks off!

Zoinks! The WallStreet Journal Weighs In!America’s On-Again, Off-Again Light Bulb Affair When Electricity Is Cheap, Consumers Spurn Fluorescent and LED Models That Can Save Money Over Time June 4, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Uncategorized.
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Gadzooks! The media is getting hot on light bulbs.. I might actually be hip! Someday…sigh

Dr Z



How long does it take to change a light bulb? Nearly a century and a half, it seems, though a replacement has been around for decades.

In the push for energy efficiency, changing old habits is proving more difficult than developing new technology. In the case of the light bulb, consumers see little reason to switch from energy-draining conventional models to more-efficient alternatives as long as electricity remains cheap.

Thomas Edison unveiled his incandescent bulb in 1879, and since then it has illuminated the world. But it is highly inefficient, generating 90% heat and 10% light. “The only thing worse is a candle flame,” says Terry McGowan, of the American Lighting Association, a trade group.

There is a better bulb. In fact, there are several. The spiral-shaped “compact fluorescent,” around for years, produces the same amount of light as its incandescent ancestor with one-quarter the energy. It lasts for years, provides light in an array of hues, and, by lowering electricity bills, pays for itself in about seven months. And the latest bright idea, the light-emitting diode, costs even more but lasts far longer than compact fluorescents. LED bulbs have been used mostly for consumer electronics and in commercial applications such as traffic lights.

Studies say improving the efficiency of the light bulb is among the easiest ways to start meaningfully curbing fossil-fuel consumption. Lighting accounts for some 20% of residential electricity use in the U.S. — a lot to fritter away as wasted heat. Yet about 80% of all bulbs sold to U.S. consumers are incandescents, which often cost less than 25 cents apiece, about one-tenth the price of a compact fluorescent.

“I buy the cheap ones,” Dallas resident Betty Ferrell said the other day as she reached for a pack of incandescents at a local Wal-Mart store. “They may not be cheap in the long run,” she said, “but they’re cheap for what I have in my purse now.”

In fact, Americans have been so reluctant to buy the new bulbs that the federal government is about to force their hand. A recent law will, in effect, ban incandescent bulbs for most uses by 2014.

MarketWatch’s Steve Gelsi reports from the 2009 Lightfair International conference, where offering more illumination for less power and less money is now the name of the game. He discusses compact florescent lamps, or CFLs, with actor and activist Ed Begley Jr. and light emitting diodes, or LEDs, with Osram Sylvania CEO Charles Jerabek.

But the switch to fluorescents won’t settle consumers’ dilemma about whether to pay now, for a more expensive bulb, or pay later, for more electricity. Consumers still will have the option of buying halogen bulbs, which fall in between incandescents and fluorescents in efficiency and price. And LEDs for household use are starting to show up in stores.

Never before has there been such a flowering of practical energy-saving products, from double-pane windows to front-loading washing machines to hybrid gasoline-and-electric cars. Yet they cost far more to buy than the less-efficient technologies they seek to replace — a big hurdle in places like the U.S., where electricity is such a small component of most household budgets that it rarely plays a role in shopping decisions.

“If energy is dirt cheap, it gets treated like dirt,” says Arthur Rosenfeld, a physicist who headed a team of scientists at the federal government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, that did some of the early development work on compact-fluorescent bulbs. “That’s been the problem.”

Mr. Edison’s incandescent light bulb, introduced the same year as Ivory soap, is relatively simple. Inside the glass bulb sits a wire, or filament. When a switch is flipped, an electric current hits the filament, which heats up and glows.

The fluorescent bulb, launched commercially in the late 1930s, is more refined. It consists of a glass tube containing mercury and coated on the inside with phosphor. Electrified, the mercury vapor causes the phosphor molecules to vibrate, producing light.

The combination of the mercury and the phosphor produces less heat and more light than an incandescent, making it more efficient. Because the bulb has no filament that can break, it lasts longer. Typically, fluorescent light has a blue tinge, compared with incandescent light’s reddish hue.

Fluorescents became popular in offices and factories in the 1940s. But they didn’t catch on in homes. They required specialized fixtures. And Americans, raised on the warm glow of incandescents, found the fluorescent’s sharper light harsh.

“Compact” versions that could be screwed into conventional incandescent sockets arrived after the oil shocks of the 1970s. But they were still too big to fit under many lampshades. The bulbs flickered and hummed. And their price — about $20 apiece — deterred most consumers, especially because oil prices slumped in the 1980s, damping the appeal of energy-saving devices.

By the start of this decade, the fluorescent bulb had progressed to its current squiggly shape. Costs fell as technology improved and production shifted to China. Based on average U.S. electricity prices, by 2005 the bulb paid for itself in less than a year, according to the Department of Energy. Just then, energy prices soared, sparking a big rise in sales.

But sales of compact fluorescents have dropped in the current recession, to 21% of total U.S. consumer light-bulb sales in 2008 from 23% in 2007, according to the DOE.

[Light Bulb] Getty Images

In Europe and Japan, where electricity costs more, fluorescent lights are more popular. To improve the bulbs’ appeal to Americans, manufacturers are adjusting their phosphor blends to mimic redder incandescents. Fluorescent light “doesn’t make you look as good,” says Timothy Lesch, a vice president at Osram Sylvania, a big bulb manufacturer. He has compact fluorescent bulbs throughout his house, but not in those rooms where he spends a lot of time. “They’re not in my den,” he says.

As manufacturers continue tweaking, buying a light bulb has become a complicated venture. A Wal-Mart in Plano, Texas, outside Dallas, has nine varieties of bulbs claiming to fulfill the role of a traditional 60-watt incandescent. Some advertise “cool” light; others “soft.” Promised lifetimes range from five years to eight. As for electricity savings, manufacturers claim anywhere from $36 to $56 a bulb.

Stacy Parks, financial manager for a Dallas information-technology company, bought the brightest compact fluorescents she could find to light her front walkway: 42-watt models, akin to blazing 150-watt incandescents. But when she tried out the bulbs, she says, the path “looked like a landing strip.” She eventually replaced the bright lights with dimmer fluorescents.

Most industrial countries, including the U.S., are largely phasing out the incandescent over the next several years. Yet even if that pushes down the bulb’s price further, as industry officials predict, consumers still will have to pay much more for a compact fluorescent than they are accustomed to paying for an incandescent.

And technology marches on. The LED is eclipsing the compact fluorescent as the cutting-edge bulb. Wal-Mart Stores has started selling a consumer LED bulb that uses just seven watts of electricity and claims to last for more than 13 years. It costs around $35 — a daunting price tag for a light bulb. “We’re kind of testing the waters,” says Rand Waddoups, Wal-Mart’s senior director of strategy and sustainability. “This is a behavior change, and that requires some work.”