Monday, December 21, 2009

New LED traffic lights save energy, not so much lives

The unintended consequence of using LED lights to save energy in traffic lights is having a down side, including the death of one woman.

I've got an idea, they could string some of those coiled heating units people use to melt snow on their roof and melt the ice that way. Might defeat the old energy savings realized by the LEDs though.

My science teacher wife laughs every time she hears people touting the new electric cars or hyrid vehicles. She points out that when you plug the car in to recharge the energy, that electricity has to be made somewhere, often with coal, oil and if you live in Buffalo the more earth friendly water turbines.

Of course, nuclear would be a cleaner solution for producing energy, but no one wants to talk about that any more.

We are one of those energy conserving homes with the new bulbs. I don't like the light they put out and from what I hear, if you break one you then have a mercury emergency to deal with.

Just to let you know, if I break one they'll be no hazmat situation, because I will brave the mercury spill, sweep up the mess and throw it into the garbage. I think the earth, and I, will survive.


Anonymous said...


You're right not to overreact if your mecury light bulb breaks, but don't throw it out. In the landfill, the mercury might leach out and contaminate the ground water. There are places these can be recycled.

As for nuclear, I'd be in favor of that, too, just as long as they can reprocess/destroy (as they claim) the spent fuel rods, which otherwise are dangerously radioactive for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Anonymous said...

Right as usual, Jim. And the new cap-and-trade system, if passed, targets the coal companies that produce about 80% of U.S. electricity. So you'll be seeing a massive rise in utility bills to pay for it, thus making electric cars mostly useless. Nuclear power is the only answer, but the greens and NIMBYs won't let you do that either.

Anonymous said...

Coal is a dangerous source for energy. The byproducts of mining coal in the United States has contaminated drinking water, contributing to increased cancer rates in communities near the mines. And of course, the burning of coal releases nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Please support the use of natural gas, solar, wind and alternate sources of energy.

Anonymous said...

@ Cap and trade: Just because your electric bill seems inexpensive, that doesn't mean you don't pay for the consequences of generating cheap energy in other ways. We pay -- and pay a lot -- in the health and environmental consequences stemming from cheap energy. Just as the cost of being able to drive to work isn't limited to the price of gas, please consider the whole costs involved with coal power.

Anonymous said...

Yes, coal is evil. So no nuclear, no coal, no off-shore drilling, no dams on our rivers, nothing but solar and wind for you green nuts. Nat gas not viable either since as soon as legislation comes to convert, the price spikes (remember $12 nat gas after Katrina? I do.) making that unaffordable too.
Keep overstating our "health" problems greens. The fact is the air and water has not been cleaner since pre-industrial revolution and the average age of Americans keeps rising. So your cancer doomsday scenerio makes no sense -- other than trying to scare people into believing their kids aren't "safe."