Energy Department doesn't have the energy to save energy

From the department of not practicing what you preach: The New York Times reports the Energy Department has yet to advance on installing much of its own energy-saving technology , such as the light-emitting diodes it spent millions of dollars to help commercialize. The Energy Department offices has a number of reasons for not updating their lighting, including that much of it "is on very high ceilings and hard to get to." The report that made this finding was issued by the department's own inspector general.

Auditors visited seven Energy Department sites totaling 96 buildings, of which only two used enhanced lighting. Many of the buildings were using fluorescents light bulbs introduced 40 years ago.

Obviously the department wants to put energy into saving energy. "We are requesting people in the federal sector and the private sector to do the cost-benefit analysis and make the investment," says Gregory H. Friedman, the department's inspector general, who issued the report. "We should do it ourselves."

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This story is absolutely ridiculous, and only serves to undermine the public's faith in saving energy and the DOE. The fact is, LED lighting is still a long ways off from being cost-effective, and the energy benefit of switching to LED from fluorescents is very small. Most consumers should be aware that LED technology is still in the developmental stages, and rather than spend taxpayer money on high-cost LED's, the DOE would be more effective if it informed the public about the benefits of cost-effective technologies available today: CFLs (Compact Flourescent Lights). I hope NPR will refrain from repeating this kind of garbage in the future.

I'd like to think we have a solution to energy costs in LED, but we don't. I use them. I'm also aware that they aren't as long-lived as advertised and they aren't something you want in your landfill. Nor do they work (they die in hours, days) in wall sconces or other lighting fixtures that are closed or semi-enclosed.

If it turns out DOE is sitting on its butt and doing nothing, then call them out for that. But as to replacing all bulbs in a public building with bulbs that are still iffy? I'm with Joseph Elliott (above).

What do I do here in steamy Texas? Don't turn on the AC until the temp hits 80 and then set it at 78 -- lower only if a lot of physical activity is going on. Use fans. Turn lights off when you leave a room. Insulate. etc. etc. Turn off/"sleep" the computer when it's not in use, even if you're just going out for a quick lunch. Check DOE and see if they're doing all or some of the above. That's a lot more revealing of Energy's good intentions than their lightbulbs!

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