Unfortunately, there are many good (and sad) examples of Uncle Sam’s insatiable desire to regulate the smallest aspects of our lives. Legislators can’t even let us decide which light bulbs to buy. Government believes that it knows best, and is banning the venerable incandescent bulb.
Lighting consultant Howard Brandston makes a plaintive plea for lighting that serves people rather than politics:
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will effectively phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014 in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. Other countries around the world have passed similar legislation to ban most incandescents.
Will some energy be saved? Probably. The problem is this benefit will be more than offset by rampant dissatisfaction with lighting. We are not talking about giving up a small luxury for the greater good. We are talking about compromising light. Light is fundamental. And light is obviously for people, not buildings. The primary objective in the design of any space is to make it comfortable and habitable. This is most critical in homes, where this law will impact our lives the most. And yet while energy conservation, a worthy cause, has strong advocacy in public policy, good lighting has very little.
He hopes for a congressional reversal of the ill-considered prohibition. If that doesn’t work, people do have one more option: stock-piling bulbs for future use. Of course, that probably would lead to the creation of a federal light bulb police, tasked with wiping out the black market in incandescent bulbs. “Use a bulb, go to jail” may become the newest law enforcement slogan!