Ban the Bulb: A Whole City Replaces its Incandescents


Folks, we are on a roll. There is movement at the station. [1] People are getting off their derrières and doing stuff. Sydney's CDB is heading for a symbolic blackout next month. All new homes in NSW have to be 40% more energy and water efficient to get building approval. The sale of incandescent light bulbs will be phased out. Commercial television is running a feature program to show how to live a less energy intensive life. We've had whole towns voluntarily go 'plastic bag free'. But now comes a new twist. A complete city is having every incandescent bulb replaced with low energy equivalents. Tamworth is a major region centre of over 37,000 people, poised roughly half way between Sydney and the Queensland border. It was the first town in Australia to get electric street lighting, and now the first to move away from incandescents. Neco, a major Australian retailer of 'energy efficiency technologies' has teamed up with Network Ten's aforementioned Cool Aid program, to facilitate the bulb exchange. And they've engaged local people help in the transition. The claim is that "The Tamworth light globe exchange will be the largest project of its kind in the world, nowhere has anyone targeted a whole city to have all of its light bulbs changed to energy efficient versions." (If they can retrofit the city's 14,500 homes, it should be equal to stopping 141 eighteen wheelers worth coal from being burnt annually.) What's more, Neco are offering the same exchange to other cities or towns: "The programme runs at no cost to council or householders - they have their bulbs changed free!" [2] ::Neco's Ban the Bulb.[1] Australian idiom from a classic bush poem about our wild colonial days, which opens with the words, "There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around ..."

[2] Though we suspect they pay indirectly, via the NSW Government's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme (GGAS), which does fund Demand Side Abatement (DSA) projects.

(And please, don't drag out that old red herring, "yeh but what about all the mercury?" As has been noted elsewhere, this is just a furphy. As reported via a chapter of Engineers Australia, Life cycle analysis, found that "when you consider the mercury produced from burning coal for electricity, the energy hungry incandescent bulbs contribute five times more mercury to the environment than CFLs.")

Related Content on