Thursday, January 29, 2009

LED Nightlights

I was excited today when I went to WalMart. They had LED nightlight bulbs for $4.96 for a pack of two. This was a great price since we go through nighlights like candy at our house. So why did I buy them? Because I wanted to become 'Green'? Not even close. I bought them because LED lights are finally econmical (at least the nightlights are). A four pack of incandecent bulbs would have cost me $2.96. They would probably last me 6 months. With a 4 watt bulb the filaments are so thin that they regularly get broken from just jostling them. The new LED bulbs are only 1.4 watts and have a plastic case (that isn't vacuum sealed) so there is no worry of breaking. Plus, they come with a lifetime warranty.

But wait, aren't they 'Green' anyway? Uh maybe. I don't care. They cost less money over their lifetime which is the driving factor for me. By buying them I feel good. They were bought at WalMart (which will help thier millions of stockholders), the bulbs were probably made in some Vietnamese sweatshop by a 10 year old girl making $2.00 a day for 12 hours of work. This is good for her too. If it weren't for WalMart, she would probably be working 16 hours a day just to get enough food for herself. Worse yet, her family might have sold her into prostitution. Not only that, but because the LED lights were cheaper (over the lifetime cost) I will now have more money to buy other 'cheap' foreign products that end up providing a better life for people here at home and abroad. I can't wait until regular LED bulbs are economical.

Now, since they are labeled as 'Green' I will have to do something to make up for it. Perhaps I can rev my engine some more at stoplights so that my carbon footprint doesn't decrease. Actually, I have several 'Green' products: rechargeable batteries, natural gas fireplace, energy star appliances, LCD monitors, Low-E windows, etc. In each and every case, I use these for economic reasons and don't give a hoot about their 'Green' attributes (although if one looks at the total resource demand of the product including manufacturing and disposal a lot of green products aren't that green, and some are downright toxic). Some 'Green' products that I don't buy are: hybrid vehicles and organic foods. In each of these cases, they don't make economic sense.

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