Clean Energy Workshop & Lightbulb Nutrition Facts

  • The new label on lightbulb packages is designed like the nutrition facts on food - and is supposed to help you figure out what kind of lightbulb is best for you. (Image courtesy of DOE)

Business owners and politicians are trying to figure out how to make Michigan a manufacturing hub for things like advanced batteries, wind turbines, and solar panels.

They’re gathering at the Clean Energy Manufacturing Workshop in Ann Arbor today and tomorrow.

Steven Busch will be paying pretty close attention.

He’s with Energetx Composites Company in Holland. It’s a spin-off company of Tiara Yacht. Before the economy went south, their main business was building high end yachts. Now, they make blades for wind turbines.

“The basic manufacturing process is very similar. We have the expertise on how to handle large, big, bulky things.”

He says they’re planning to stay in Michigan.

“Michigan offers the best engineering and manufacturing skill set probably in the world. Geographically, the Great Lakes are a great opportunity as a place to be able to ship products over the water.”

Busch says he’d like to see more training programs at universities and community colleges – and more retraining programs for former auto workers who want to get into the business.

(music bridge)

This is the Environment Report.

If you’ve ever been lost in the lightbulb aisle… things are getting a little easier. There’s a new label the federal government is requiring on lightbulb packages. It looks a lot like the Nutrition Facts label on food.

But the label still needs some deciphering. Greenovation dot tv’s Matt Grocoff knows a thing or two about lightbulbs. I met up with Matt so he could show me how to read the new labels:

More about the new label

Matt Grocoff’s tips for buying lightbulbs

More about the Clean Energy Manufacturing Workshop


Grocoff: The problem is these things have never been labeled right and it’s really important to have the right kind of lighting in your house.

RW: Alright, so we have this nutrition facts style label for lighting now. I see here on the left side it’s orange and yellow and white in the middle then furthest to the right it’s blue. What do you recommend when you’re going around your house?

Grocoff: When you go around your house, think about the time of day you’re using that space. In the daytime you want sunlight. In the nighttime you want something that mimics candlelight or a kerosene lantern or fire. So in your kitchen you may want something that has a cooler temperature light, so you’re going to look for something in that whiter or bluer range on the right side of the scale on the label. In your bedroom, as you’re going to sleep, right after you put your book down or change into your pajamas, you’re going to be looking for something in the warmer spectrum, on the left side, which is more yellow.

RW: So one of the complaints that I still hear a lot, is that when people are choosing energy efficient lightbulbs they get them home and the light wasn’t very good or they take a long time to warm up. Have they come a long way, are they any better now?

Grocoff: Oh man, they’ve come so far, Rebecca. There’s more and more choices coming on to the market right now. This is the bulb we have in house. This is the lightbulb that is going to change the world as far as I’m concerned (laughs). It’s one of the new LED bulbs. They’re still pretty expensive but they’re coming down. Let me plug this in for you and show you.

(sound of screwing lightbulb into socket)

If you look at this bulb, it’s got a really opaque yellow on the outside, but then when you flip it on, it comes on instantly and it’s got this beautiful, warm glow to it.

We won’t need to change this lightbulb until my two-year-old daughter goes to college.

RW: How much does this cost?

Grocoff: This lightbulb, right now, you can buy at one of the big box stores for $39.95. So it’s still pretty expensive, but over the life of the bulb it about matches the price of a compact flourescent bulb. As these start coming down in price, they’re going to far exceed the energy savings on any bulb that’s out there especially the old school incandescent bulbs.

RW: All right, thanks Matt!

Grocoff: Thank you, Rebecca, and wait, we have to turn off the lights. (flips switch)

RW: That’s Matt Grocoff of I’m Rebecca Williams.