Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hermes directs Gregg Elementary toward "Silver"

Hermes was recently informed that Gregg Elementary School (a Hermes project) received the LEED for Schools "design-review" approval...the school is progressing toward a "Silver-certified" level with the USGBC...the Owner (Houston Independent School District) had requested a "certified" level; however, Hermes pursued a higher level of sustainability...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just The Facts, Please...Incandescant Bulb Phase-out

Under the energy bill passed a couple of years ago, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products by 2012 to 2014.

The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient. Florescent bulbs meet the 70% standard.

What happens to bulbs higher than 100 watts? Scientific American had this to say:
"About two dozen categories of light bulbs are exempt from the U.S. law’s efficiency requirements, including oven and refrigerator bulbs, candelabra lamps, plant lights, replacement traffic signal bulbs and the summer necessity — the yellow bulb that doesn’t attract insects."

Although they will have a tough time meeting the 70% standard in 2020, incandescent bulbs are far from dead, and they haven’t been banned outright. Incandescent bulbs will either get more efficient, or bulb manufacturers will drop incandescents and move totally toward CFL’s.

Burning CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)?

An acquaintance informed me of a fire that erupted from a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) that was installed in his house. The bulb was from Wal-Mart, and the brand was "Globe" (made in China)...Here's his comments:

"I turned [on the CFL in my bathroom] the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch! I immediately turned off the lights. But I’m sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there. Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room. I took the bulb to the Fire Department today to report the incident. The Fireman wasn’t at all surprised and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs. Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by “Globe” in China seem to have the lion’s share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was not in any of those. It was a normal light socket. I bought these at Wal-Mart. I will be removing all the Globe bulbs from my house. I have not decided yet if we are going back to incandescent bulbs at this point."

Click here to see what "EnergyStar" says about CFL fires.

The bottom line? Be careful what CFL's you buy, and where you buy them. Always look for the "EnergyStar" label, and expect to pay more since the "cheap" CFL's are the ones that go "poof".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Did You Know?

One of the nation’s leading hurricane forecasters, William Gray of Colorado State University, stated that cyclone intensity worldwide is NOT increasing. Gray warned against linking hurricanes to global warming in 2003.