LIGHTING, MOTION SICKNESS & ME

I have a confession to make.

I don’t have a single compact fluorescent light fixture (CFL) in my home.

Yet, in my design practice I promote Green design. I don’t hesitate to recommend energy efficient lighting for my clients. Does this mean I don’t practice what I preach?

Well, here’s the deal.

I have suffered all my life from motion sickness. It doesn’t take much to set me off, and CFL’s, as it turns out, have a barely perceptible flicker contained within that, well, literally makes me sick.

I can’t live with them in my home.

We found this out a year ago, when my husband and I attempted to install CFL’s in our master bath. It seemed harmless enough.

However, the following morning, within a hour of getting up, I was feeling sick. I had my suspicions as to what was the cause, but didn’t want to believe it.

Another hour went by. Finally, I had to tell my husband to please remove the new fixtures.

We decided to try these same 3 bulbs somewhere else in our home, but the result was the same. By mid-week, I knew they had to go.

You might be wondering, is this for real? Is it all in my head?

I can only tell you that I have since discussed my dilemma with my ophthalmologist, who wasn’t the least surprised. It wasn’t the first time he had heard of someone having an aversion to CFL bulbs.

Now, the chances of this being a problem for anyone reading this post is exceedingly slim. My condition is not common, but it does exist.

CFL’s still have a lot going for them. Although they cost more than a standard incandescent bulb, they are extremely long-lasting (up to ten times longer!), and therefore energy efficient.

Many consumers are concerned by the mercury content in CFL’s, and having to follow protocol for disposing of hazardous wastes. Check with your local electric company for proper disposal. Some local stores may even recycle them for free.

Or, consider other options.

Me, I’m holding out for LED’s – Light Emitting Diodes, an even more energy efficient alternative, although quite costly. However, instead of just looking at dollar signs, I always weigh the costs against the long-term benefits.

I do this with everything. Yes, knowing that LED’s may cost as much as $80 does make me gasp, but knowing that the bulb will last about 50,000 hours (five times that of a CFL) and that my energy savings will more than make up for the initial cost, I’m fine with that.

I mean, why not?

Here’s another example. The inexpensive sofa you purchase today, will likely need to be replaced a few years down the road. You could spend many years and thousands of dollars replacing an entire series of inexpensive sofas.

Or, you could splurge on that big-ticket item, focusing on comfort, quality construction, and of course style, and know that the sofa will last well beyond your lifetime, and maybe even those of your children.

We have only to look at beautiful, antique furniture from the 18th century, to know that this is true. Quality always withstands the test of time.

Still not convinced about which light bulb to purchase?

Then consider other options for energy savings, such as the following:

1 – Install a Programmable Thermostat

Manage your home’s energy usage by adjusting for different times of day – waking, bedtime, weekends versus weekdays.

2 – Use Dimmable Light Switches

Did you know that most homes, on average have only one dimmer – and it is almost always in the dining room – the least used room in the house? Yet there is no need to limit dimmers to just one room!

Dimmers save energy and extend the life of the bulb.

3 – Motion Sensors

Do you, or other members of your household, consistently forget to turn off the lights?

Then installing motion sensors are for you! Imagine having the lights go on and off automatically, whenever you enter or leave a room?

Technology is a good thing!