The downside of energy conservation.

I believe that we should conserve energy. But there are occasionally downsides. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are difficult to read by. LED bulbs may rectify that, though the cost is currently very high, especially considering that LEDs used to be very inexpensive. But there are other problems that might never have occurred to us: Cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering a hazardous downside:

The bulbs don’t burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm — a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death.


Many communities have switched to LED bulbs in their traffic lights because they use 90 percent less energy than the old incandescent variety, last far longer and save money. Their great advantage is also their drawback: They do not waste energy by producing heat.

That’s a problem nobody really could have foreseen. We’re just used to the lights being visible in winter, without really considering why.

Energy conservation is, and always has been, a good idea. But thinking about the consequences of change is also a good idea.

Via Don Surber.

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One thought on “The downside of energy conservation.

  1. I’ve noticed that… for example the lights on King/University which are also hard to see when it’s NOT winter. With integrated thermostat-controlled heaters they could still retain most of that energy savings.

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