Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sensible Political Decisions

I know, this is something that you rarely hear about - a politician making a decision that actually makes sense (other than the "sense" of them being re-elected, that is).

Australia is to implement a plan to phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2010. This will reduce our CO2 output by around 800,000 tonnes per year - a significant reduction. Of course, although we claim this to be a world first, a quick Google search comes up with these previous announcements:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/06/south_africa_to_1.php - South Africa To Phase Out Incandescent Bulbs (2006-06-06)

http://carbonsink.blogspot.com/2006/08/uk-to-ban-standby-devices-and.html - UK to ban standby devices and incandescent light bulbs (2006-08-20)

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/180048 - U.S. states want to phase out light bulbs (2007-02-09), admittedly this is talk, not action at this point, but promising all the same.

And then there's http://www.iea.org/Textbase/work/2007/cfl/agenda.pdf which is the agenda for the IEA/European Commission/CEN-Star-Trend-Analysis workshop on "Compact Fluorescent Lamp Quality and Strategies to Phase-out Incandescent Lamps" to be held on 26 February 2007 at the IEA, Paris, France.

So, whilst we're far from being the first country or state to announce plans to eliminate indandescent lighting and replace it with energy efficient lighting, at least we're on the right path!

We use only fluorescent lighting here at my house and office. I recently saw some nice compact fluorescent downlights that can be used to replace the older halogen downlights that used to be used, reducing the 50W lamps to 9W (or 11W) will reduce power consumption by around 75% - a significant saving.

The issue with fluorescent lamps is their general inability to be dimmed, however that is being overcome by companies such as GE, Tu-Wire, Lutron, Westinghouse and Philips by developing special dimmable ballasts that are used in compact and regular fluorescent lamps. See here for a list of some of the available dimmable compact fluorescent lamps available. This link has some more information on dimmable CF lamps.

Clipsal C-Bus can then dim fluorescent lamps just as it can dim regular incandescent and halogen lamps if these specialized products are used. Quark Automation (blatant plug time, here) designs, deploys and programs automated lighting, HVAC and audiovisual systems for residential and commercial properties and recommends energy efficient lighting.

As an added bonus, Lutron (and possibly other companies) also produce a dimmable compact fluorescent downlight using a special 32W lamp. An added bonus here is that (in Australia, at least) using CF downlights means that instead of the 150mm clearance between a halogen downlight and any insulation (a 300mm diameter clearance), these CF downlights require a mere 25mm (50mm diameter) of room before insulation can be used, meaning a greater cover of insulation in your ceiling space.


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Little Johnny Whoward

I had a colleague (who happened to be English) make a comment to me a little while back when we were discussing politics. He said that "you guys have the world's most irrelevant political leader" and I think he hit the nail right on the heavily eyebrowed head.

John Whoward - I've changed his name, not to protect the innocent, but because it now has 2 different and equally valid implications - has to be the world's most irrelevant leader. It seems that most people in the country he rules with an ironic fist find him a displeasing little man (even distasteful) and will hopefully oust he and his cronies at the next Federal election. Not only that, I'm sure that Dubya doesn't even know his name and the only time he notices him is when Johnny sneezes - considering Little Johnny has his head firmly planted up Dubya's date, this sneezing causes a wry smile on Dubya's face.

Yes, Little Johnny Whoward, who's head is now permanently shaped exactly like Dubya's rectum, is a political no-one. He's got his political no-ones alongside him, such as Alexander (Quilt) Downer who seems like he's going to cry every time he has to speak in public.

Little Johnny Whoward, you can pronounce that "Who-ward" or "Dubya-Howard - either is equally appropriate, who is trying to bring the Australian worker down to the poverty level of the peasant in the middle ages, seems to have signed a non-compete contract with fairness and reasonable treatment of people - and he's not even trying to soar to the dizzying heights of mediocrity in case he comes close to breaching that contract. It seems he'd rather wallow in the filth and bring the rest of the country down to his level.

I just hope that if the Federal Labor Party actually has policies and a plan this time (they had Beazley last time, and he was neither) that they let people know what they are. I'm not a fan of a religious nutter leading a country - the political system is not a church (read that again, Dubya) and should not be treated like one. But I hope that those behind the Labor Party's nutter leader can actually offer something of benefit to Australians and the world.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, February 02, 2007

England find the right end of the bat

Well, bugger me!

England beat Australia by 93 runs in the One Day match in Sydney today. That's something for the books!

We played poorly - we fielded like the English team and batted pretty much the same. Sure, Roy retired hurt, but regardless of that, we'd not have come that much closer.

England played well - they batted quite well, fielded much more like Australia than we did, bowled well and basically kicked our butts.

I trust this will give the Poms a good shove in the right direction - ie, playing cricket! They haven't done much of that all summer to this point. They did well today and deserved to beat us. I just hope this continues for them. They may keep their houses after all!


The Outspoken Wookie