Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Season of Light

Christmas lights are going up all over the place. Chanukah begins tonight. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day, will be here on the 21st. It’s a very ancient instinct to push against the darkness, whether by huddling around a fire or lighting candles or turning on a lamp.

After I mentioned our new energy efficient LED tree in my post the other day, my niece Kate pointed out some important facts and figures about energy consumption. She wrote:

Did you know: If every American replaced just one light bulb in their home with a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL), the country would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year. That is $600 million in annual energy costs and the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road.
Not bad!

It’s great how such a simple step can make such a big difference!

We've been using CFLs in lots of places throughout the house for many years. We started getting them back in the days when they cost an arm and a leg and we had to file for rebates from the electric company in order to afford them! But the CFLs of today are not only more affordable, they put out a much nicer quality of light than those older ones ever did. Plus, now they truly live up to the "C" for compact in their name. The old ones were oversized and difficult to fit into some lamps. Also, these new and improved models seem to "warm up" faster, reaching their full brightness quite quickly.

So as you push back the darkness of a winter night, try doing it in a contemporary way that’s good for the planet.

Happy Chanukah!


Kate said...

No problem on the info!

Here is another interesting one about "phantom energy use:" Unplug electronics when you are not using them. Even though your TV, DVD player and computer are turned off, they’re still using electricity. 40 percent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off (DOE stat).

That is why it's good to plug appliances(TV, DVD, Xbox, VCR, computer) all into one power strip. Then all you have to do is flick the switch on the power strip to "unplug" all of them at once.

Pink Granite said...

Hey Kate!
You bring up an excellent point about "phantom energy use"! 40% is an appallingly high amount!!!

I've heard even our cell phone chargers use electricity when they aren't in use!

Power Strips are a simple solution!

But I have a question about our cable boxes and DVRs. I read we have to keep them on all the time or it screws up the informational signals and updates that the cable company sends out on a daily basis. Do you have any info on that?

Thank you for keeping the good ideas flowing!!!
- A.L.

purpleronnie said...

As educational as this post was, I bet you didn't know that you educated me on something else too - since I know nothing about "Chanukah" I also had no idea how to spell it - I would have lived my life continually wishing people Happy Hanuka or something like that!
Happy Holidays!!
ps on the radio this morning they said that some campaigners against global warming are calling for Chanukah celebrators to not light their 8th candle - apparently if everyone were to do this it would make a massive difference to the carbon dioxide (?) output - that could also have been carbon monoxide - in any event it was carbon something!

Pink Granite said...

Hi Ronnie -
Happy to be of assistance!
Actually, there are many ways of spelling Chanukah. Because it is a Hebrew word originally written in the Hebrew alphabet, however we spell it is a transliteration to our Latin alphabet!

Oh my! I hadn't heard about folks asking that the eighth candle not be lit! My guess is that it's because Chanukah lasts for eight nights. On the first night you light the shamash (a servant or kindling candle) and one other candle in the chanukiah. On the second you light the shamash plus two more candles and so on, until the eighth night when there are nine candles ablaze!

It's all designed to remember and celebrate a miracle that took place back when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem (around 165 BCE), after a period of terrible oppression. They only had enough consecrated oil to light the lamp for one day, but it burned for eight days!

It's because of this miracle surrounding the oil, that fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (little jelly doughnuts) are typically served during the eight days. Here's a link to my post about latkes from last December.

So after all that and all that ----
Happy Chanukah - however you spell it!!!
- Lee