Lamp Revolution

At the beginning of the 80’s climate change was not my topic. I was active in the peace movement: Pershing 2, NATO Twin Track Decision and so on. For this we went on the street and discussed fiercely wherever we found ourselves. I was also against nuclear power, but not with the friendly yellow sun. My stickers on the motorcycle panniers were the large peace dove and a blue sticker with the text: Stop the atomic industry – fight for life! It is probably the historical merit of the Greens to have brought together the two wings of the peace movement and the ecological movement. And so I thought slowly about saving energy and healthy meals and such topics. This preface serves to indicate to you from which generation I come.

Now to my „revolution“: It must have been 1987 that I bought an energy-saving lamp. We earned well, and I thought that I should begin with the careful handling of energy. The lamp was as large as a volleyball and cost approx. 45.00 DM. That was 30 times price of a normal 60W bulb. The only place where this lamp could hang was our bedroom. Not exactly the place light is needed for a long time and much light is used. And so I figured out (however only in my head, and thus surely incorrectly), how long it would probably take for this lamp to have amortized. I came to the crushing result that this lamp before its natural end would probably not amortize (I counted on approximately 30 years). However I was not depressed about it: Somebody had to begin, and that had to be the humans who can afford it.

Already in the following year bought I the next lamp. It was quite heavy and optically reminded one of a street lamp, but the price had come down. It cost only approx. 20.00 DM. Immediately I added together the two energy savers and the amortization time shortened substantially. I came on perhaps only 15-20 years. The next generation of the E-lamps was again cheaper and easier, and did not yet look like the conventional lamps. 2 arc-shaped tubes stood out from the socket. But the plan was realised: From now on I replaced defective lamps only with appropriate E-lamps. And I began with the recordings. On each new lamp the installation date was written, and exactly the same in a booklet. Starting from this time „the life“ of each lamp is exactly documented, also at which place it was and how long it was turned on. The last conventional lamp, by the way, was replaced in 2010 (in the cellar), there waited already a new E-lamp-generation, i.e. the LED lamp: Still less consumption, longer luminescence times and in addition even more pollution free. However also again more expensive, the prices (now already) for the conventional E-lamps had fallen to the bottom, I turned to the LED lamps. Logical.

In the meantime there are Philipps Hue lamps: still less consumption, even longer life span and with 2 million colours they can shine in practically every colour and temperature. Again it costs 30 times as much as a simple E-lamp. Now I am at the end of my project. According to my computations the new lamps will outlive me.

P.S. Should I try a new project now? How is it actually with mobility? An E-Mobil costs only twice as much as a car with combustion engine? Well, I’ll probably leave that to the next generation.

P.P.S. Nevertheless I bought a hybrid small car. Already a beginning….

[Andreas Ramme, Frankfurt am Main/Germany]

3 thoughts on “Lamp Revolution”

  1. I find this story very encouraging and very beautiful!
    In a modest manner it expands the narrow idea of a revolution, which I have always imagined to be as loud and brutal as possible. But precisely in this unusual, strange and challenging story there lies something very deep… Certainly not everyone thought these thick lamps were beautiful. There were most likely many arguments against these lamps, for example the assumption that the lamps would not give off a beautiful light (I once heard), what wouold you answer, Andreas?

  2. It also seems to me that one needs staying power. But it is so impressive!
    Evolution with farsightedness.
    Also has something to do with responsibility.
    I think that is beautiful…

  3. We already have Candlemas today, and I have the impression that I have to hurry with the year. Now, about the great lamps in the bedroom: My thoughts are going free and to the question of the influence these balls of light have on feelings and behaviours. Well, it’s better to let that go and say instead that I want to thank you for this story, because it is a mixture of seriousness that also makes me laugh. The latter is healthy, helps with sustainability.
    I have just now read the story aloud and immediately been told other stories about lamps, up until the globe-LED which is now available. Personally, I try to be dependable in separating the trash. I also have a small collection of bicycles that are ready for the museum, which I seldom move. By the way, they only have to be pumped up, so they are not ready for the museum! That is too bad.

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