I must speculate that Farhad Manjoo is male. At one point in his intriguing article about the search for more efficient bulbs, he asks "Who needs good color rendering in the bathroom" as a rhetorical question. Obviously, he has never dealt with makeup.
-- Hannah Shay
There are other problems with fluorescent light besides the ones mentioned in the Manjoo article. The bulbs contain toxic substances, and are difficult to dispose of. Also, some people (like myself) are more sensitive to the flicker. If I'm exposed to the banks of fluorescent lights that you commonly find in department stores for more than about half an hour, I get a headache and usually begin to feel sleepy. Also, fluorescent lighting by its nature emits radiation, and has been found to correlate with the incidence of brain cancer (although the correlation is fairly low).
Halogen light, on the other hand, has none of these problems. The bulbs are extremely long-lasting (just a few months ago I replaced my first halogen bulb; the lamp had been bought in the early '90s), it doesn't flicker, and it's somewhat more efficient than incandescent light (as well as not putting out nearly as much heat as incandescents do). I've been progressively trying to replace all of my lights with halogen, with some success. People who are really interested in efficient lighting that's available now should do the same.
-- Daniel Flemming
Who needs good color rendering in the bathroom? Anyone who puts on makeup! It's one of the most important places in the house to have lights with good color.
-- Mark Dulcey
Special thanks to Ford for taking a short break from building gas-guzzling monstrosities in order to sponsor an article about energy-efficient lighting technologies that are 10-20 years away.
Speaking of 10-20 years away, where is the Ford Escape hybrid that was initially slated for release in 2002?
The hell with it. I'm buying Japanese until the Big Three catch up and produce a vehicle that I can stomach driving. At the rate we're going we'll all be riding bicycles in 10 years anyway. Probably won't hurt us either.
-- Ben Burnett
Let me first say that I find your Green Living articles fabulous. The recent solar power article inspired me to do some serious research into my own solar roof.
I hope the irony is not lost on anyone that the Green Living section is sponsored by Ford.
Cars with poor fuel economy contribute both to increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and our hunger for foreign oil. The Big Three automakers have vigorously lobbied against fuel economy standards and have gained preferential treatment for SUVs, misclassified as light trucks. Salon.com documented this legislative battle in the Kerry/McCain bill of 2002.
Will the next stories on Iraq be sponsored by KBR?
Perhaps Salon.com should consider what statements it makes by what sponsorships it accepts.
-- Greg Robillard
Another drawback to fluorescent lights is the lack of a dimming feature. There are many situations where this is highly desirable in both commercial and residential applications. Unfortunately it's not obvious how to implement that with fluorescent bulbs. Perhaps LEDs can address this by having a large number of small LEDs and controlling the number that actually turn on? Regardless, this will be the final key in finding a replacement for incandescent bulbs.
-- Eric Salter
This was generally a good article, but you missed what I think is an important point.
Lighting efficiency only really matters in an air-conditioned house when the air conditioning is used. The heat from the bulb in the wintertime goes to heat the house. This may not sound like much, but it changes the economics in many areas of the country away from new and expensive lights. In warmer areas the energy used by light bulbs has to be doubled to account for the heat that has to be pumped out by an air conditioner.
-- Michael Ritz
"Who needs good color rendering in the bathroom?" Mr. Manjoo, clearly you have never tried to put on makeup!
-- Sheila Addison