Skip to comments.Dim Idea (The environmentalist's war on your bathroom and how you light your home)
Posted on 10/04/2010 7:23:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Arriving late one night into Tokyo, I checked into my hotel room to discover the worlds most complicated toilet.
There were hoses and nozzles where hoses and nozzles probably shouldnt be, and along the side there was an alarming set of button and switches, which made the entire contraption look like a neat freaks electric chair.
But, you know, when in Rome, right?
Its difficult to convey, in a magazine dedicated to the higher pursuits of political philosophy and national renewal, just how fantastic the Japanese toilet was. Its impossible, especially, within the civilized parameters set by the editors and their assistants, to describe what a revelation it was after a few eye-popping mishaps with the electric controls and one of the smaller nozzles to discover that there were still things to perfect about an act weve all come to take for granted, still improvements to be made on the entire system, and that the Japanese had done it.
On the other hand, it uses an awful lot of water, at least the way I adjusted the settings. In addition to the water in the toilet itself, theres the additional water for all of those clever nozzles you can set the pressure for each of them, but I learned the hard way that its best not to be a hero.
By the end of my trip to Japan, I had already located an American dealer. Its an expensive unit, but I like to think Im worth it. Also, it took me the entire week to make it through the users manual, and once Ive put in that kind of time on a gadget, I like to get my moneys worth.
So, my beloved Japanese toilet now finds itself ensconced in my bathroom look, this is going to get personal, okay? near my shower, which sports a sunflower-sized showerhead, which rains buckets and buckets of soothing water onto the bather, the entire room lit by hot-burning incandescent bulbs with 100 watts apiece of wake-up brightness.
My bathroom, in other words which to me represents the pinnacle of easy livin, the perfect intersection of raw technological innovation and empathetic human understanding is an environmentalists nightmare. My dazzling and profuse showerhead, which turns a morning ritual into a moment of Zen, and my complex, computer-chipped, nozzled toilet, and the bright bulbs that give it all a clarity and visual snap all of them are in the crosshairs of the eco-police. All of them are doomed.
The light bulbs are the first to go. The last major incandescent-light-bulb factory in America, in Winchester, Va., is closing. When you remember that light bulbs are also the symbol of great ideas, sudden inspiration, entrepreneurial Aha! moments, the fact that the country of Thomas Edison no longer produces light bulbs is a sad metaphor. Maybe we no longer produce light-bulb moments, either. A compact-fluorescent bulb flickering to life above the head of a cartoon character doesnt feel the same.
By 2014, according to an absurd and indefensible act of Congress and this one passed in 2007, so its not Obamas fault for once the kind of light bulbs that we all prefer you know, the bright ones, the ones that actually illuminate rooms and objects will be essentially banned and replaced by those awful Dairy Queenlooking things, the compact-fluorescent bulbs that bathe the world in a gauzy, dirty, yellow haze. Its sick-room lighting, state-mental-hospital illumination the kind of lights they used in East Germany to keep everyone sad and downcast.
The compact fluorescents are harder to manufacture something about all of those twisty tubes and if something is hard to make, it ends up getting made in China, which is where all of our light bulbs will come from by 2014.
And thats how the Chinese will win, of course. Well all be squinting into the sick gray light while they sneak in and take everything.
The only time I ever really lost my temper in a business setting and theres no point in working in Hollywood if you dont throw a huge tantrum every now and then; exploders and fit-pitchers are not only tolerated out here, theyre positively celebrated was when the studio decided to install those awful light bulbs in some kind of ludicrous green initiative.
Working late became impossible you couldnt actually see the script you were supposed to be rewriting. The minute the sun went down, it was as if we were working in an emergency zone, with flickering generator lamps lighting our job site.
I sent a polite memo to the studio facilities crew asking for the incandescents to be reinstalled. They sent a polite memo in reply denying that request The studio is committed to creating a green workplace and suggested that I just needed to let my eyes adjust.
Id like to say that I handled this in a firm and civilized way, but I didnt. I went nuts. I marched over to the studio presidents office and demanded that he spend the next evening in my office in the cold yellow haze and try to read a script printed in a twelve-point font. I yelled and threatened and shouted and screamed, which people do in Hollywood all the time for more money or a bigger trailer or a helicopter taxi, but rarely for better light bulbs.
In the end, they gave me back my light. But I knew the days of the incandescent were numbered. Workplaces all over America are going to get darker and even more depressing.
And now theyre coming into my bathroom.
The Department of Energy regulates showerheads. Some of them, apparently, are too wasteful. My sunflower-sized rainmaker is on the list to be banned, as are the kinds that squirt water in all directions (those seem nice) and the kind that emit a steamy fog. In other words, if it somehow leavens the act of bathing, raising it up from dull routine to a tiny glimpse of the spa lifestyle, well, the DoE is against it.
Manufacturers of such showerheads are being fined this spring, the federal government fined four such companies a total of about $150,000, just for making a showerhead that people want and stern warnings are being sent out on Department of Energy letterhead.
To an environmental bureaucrat, the world looks better when its dingier. Bright lights are too festive. Powerful showerheads are too luxurious. To maintain the proper downcast attitude, they want to make sure were all a little less comfortable.
Its all about less with them. As far as the environmental movement is concerned, were running out of everything polar icecaps, sea turtles, crude oil and the trick is to cut our appetites down to size, to stop wanting to stand under a gushing showerhead in a bright morning bathroom and think, I can handle whats coming at me today.
Its not about showerheads and wattage. Its about optimism. Either you think a more prosperous world is a good thing that prosperity and ingenuity can solve most of our pressing problems or you dont. Either you think that being able to afford an expensive showerhead is a component of a complicated web of incentives designed to inspire the next Thomas Edison to invent something useful like, say, a battery-powered car or a brighter energy-saving light bulb or you think that were done, weve invented everything already and we need to divvy up a shrinking pie. For the Left, there are no light-bulb moments in the future.
In the Battle of the Bathroom, the environmental bureaucrats have the optimistic hedonists on the run. Theyve taken our bulbs and our rain-showers, so its just a matter of time before they focus their regulatory powers on my toilet, with its delightfully surprising but water-wasteful nozzles and jets. This, perhaps, is where we need to take our (seated) stand. This is the line they must not cross. When they come to me with their regulations and federal guidelines, I will take a page from the National Rifle Association and say, From my cold, dead . . .
Well, you get the idea.
Rob Long is a contributing editor of National Review and a contributor to Ricochet.
“Either you think a more prosperous world is a good thing that prosperity and ingenuity can solve most of our pressing problems or you dont.”
Good stuff. I’ve heard about these EPA assaults on dealers. I recently had a rep from Kohler in my home to help me re-vamp all of my bathroom and kitchen gadgetry, and he mentioned that Kohler was up against a wall with some of their products. Three of them in particular were exactly the same as those I chose to upgrade my shower, and there’s apparently an extensive lead time on the components since they’re so popular right now. He told me, however, to select another set from their “Green” catalog, and I adamantly refused.
His response, “It’s all going green. You might be forced to change these $XXX faucets through future legislation.”
I asked him to leave and called Kohler to complain.
Interesting. Thanks for posting. What are they going to do about the huge bathroom whirlpool/spa tubs people have? Surely those use much more water and energy than a nice shower head with decent water pressure. When we stay at hotels that have those low-pressure showerheads, I have no doubt that it takes me three times as long to rinse my hair. I doubt they are saving any water.
The funny part is that the left tries to think of themselves as on the side of freedom...
Put one in a room that gets turned on and off eight or nine times a day - like a bathroom in a typical family home - and there will be a net loss in energy efficiency.
Fluorescents work great in rooms that will have the lights on most of the day (family rooms for an example). But they are not a be all, end all, savings.
“The funny part is that the left tries to think of themselves as on the side of freedom...”
Yea right, were free to be there Serfs.
dat da troof!
Every leftist, from the president down to the hemp stinkinest dreadlocked junior college student,
thinks he will be the one holding the whip instead of living under its lash.
He meant it as a dig at American's who were in thrall to European Kultur (as he put it).
It saves us water. We are on a well and septic system. We take Navy showers, except in the dead of winter. Good pressure from one of those variable mode shower heads. The tub is heated to 108F 2x a day in winter and once a day in summer. Takes about 1 1/2-2 hours each time and saves money over leaving on all the time, which usually means it runs one hour out of every 4 plus it will run the heater every few hours for awhile to keep the temp up. Only I use it in summer. We add water about once a week or so, whenever it gets a gallon or so down by evaporation. It gets drained, cleaned, filter changed and refilled about once every 3 months or so and stays clear and sparkling in between. We use a polymer clarifier and an oxygen shock. Chemicals run about $60/year. We also clean and reuse the filters and probably buy one at $45/each, every year. I think I have 3 that are still efficient on hand at the moment.
When replacement time comes, if I can't find another small tub for a decent price (they run about $4k), we have decided we can likely replace the works for under $2k in today's prices. The acrylic tub and the insulating foam are still in good shape. I think they are good for 40 years or so.
I have looked at the drain and fill tubs with an in-line heater and I think they use way more water and energy than ours.
I don’t know where this guy found his “yellow” bulbs, but my wife just put in a bunch of crappy white ones that I absolutely hate. They’re white and sterile. It’s like being in an operating room!
RE: The funny part is that the left tries to think of themselves as on the side of freedom...
The law that makes incandescent bulbs illegal by a certain date has not been challenged in court by anyone. At least not yet.
I wonder how it will stand the test of constitutionality...
1) It is easy to drill or bore out the flow restrictor on shower heads.
2) Don't worry about the CFL's. You will not have to endure them for 5,000 hours, or whatever they claim! Each one contains five millgrams of mercury, and won't be made here! They are all made in China, where they dump the manufacturing waste into the river. Due to "Quality Fade" as cheaper and cheaper components are switched into the product, in a few batches, the products will fail in fewer hours than an incandescent bulb.
Then of course, you have to call the EPA, the DEQE, and the Marines to come and remove the "hazardous material". There is probably a "Special Tax" hiding in this, as well.
Be patient. LEDs are on the way.
Or burn tires for light.
If I worked it right I should have just enough bulbs ferreted away to last me. If I didn’t time it right I’ll probably be so old I won’t be able to notice the difference anyway...;-)
When I challenged a libinlaw about the restrictions on light bulbs and the amount of water we can use to flush our toilets,
she declared that I “didn’t care about the world [I] would leave to my children”.
See, leftists don’t think about ANY issue beyond the point where they feel morally superior and where they justify their false assumption that they are “good people”.
Don't worry, the good comrades will cut your hair off. Problem solved.
This should be in the Republican agenda. To repeal the incandescent light bulb ban.
RE: Don’t worry, the good comrades will cut your hair off
Would you believe, Osama Bin Ladin is also concerned with Global Warming...
How soon before your hair becomes your head?
Where's Al Bundy when we need him?