Alternative energy: Almost as good as dealing

Alternative energy: Almost as good as dealing

By M. L. Simon

Almost as good as dealing

I have a sure fire method of money making that can give returns of over 100 percent a year. And the money is tax free. Furthermore, this method is entirely legal and encouraged by our government. Now, I’m sure by now you are thinking that there is no such animal—short of drug dealing—and we all know that is not encouraged by our government.

The answer to your question is energy conservation. Not the freeze in the winter and swelter in the summer kind of conservation, but the all-American, nearly effortless kind. The secret is light bulbs. Replace your old incandescent lights with the latest compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs have been undergoing a revolution in design over the last few years. They are now small enough to fit in a socket formerly occupied by an incandescent bulb.

These bulbs can be up to four times as efficient in producing light as an incandescent bulb. In addition, they do not have the harsh color associated with regular fluorescents. The power savings come not only because of increased efficiency, but also because of reduced load on your air conditioning in the summer. In terms of gross power consumption in the USA, it was estimated by the DOE in 1993 that replacing all the residential incandescents with compact fluorescents would reduce the power consumption for home lighting by two-thirds—a direct savings of almost 60 billion kilowatt hours. The DOE www site with more information on this topic is:

The return on your investment will depend on a number of things. The cost of your compact fluorescent ($8.95) versus an ordinary light bulb ($.40), the cost of electricity ($.06 per KWH), the life of the fluorescent (10,000 hours) vs the incandescent (1,000 hours), the hours of use per day (11) and the wattage of the bulb replaced (60W). Given all these factors and the compact florescent’s 15W power consumption, the return on investment is on the order of 120 percent. This doesn’t even count the time saved by giving up nine bulb changes over the life of the compact fluorescent bulb, or the fact that I have seen the circular type bulb for as little as $6.75 and a true compact fluorescent for as little as $6.99. Even if you use the light only four hours a day, the returns would be on the order of 25 to 30 percent. A rate no money market fund has ever paid. In addition, you don’t need to replace all your lights at once for the savings to begin. Start with the lights that are on most of the time (usually night lights) and go from there. A good article on the investment returns of energy saving and producing devices including hybrid cars by Andy Kerr can be found in issue #86 of Home Power magazine. The article can be viewed at:

M. L. Simon is an industrial controls designer and an independent political activist. (c) M. Simon – All rights reserved. Permission granted for one-time use in a single periodical publication. Permission also granted for concurrent publication on the periodical’s www site.

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