Thursday, November 28, 2013

Economy or Ego-nomy?

A guy at work was saying "you don't get a return for the money you spend on CFL light bulbs". So I decided to join the conversation, mentioning that a single one can save you $25 dollars per year - assuming 4 hours use each night.

He said "Sure, for those ones. But what about the ones in rooms you hardly ever use?". Later I did the math. It turns out that even a room that gets used 8 minutes a night (like a toilet for instance) is still worth switching to CFL.

But here's what I found odd. People will worry about whether it's worth buying a $3 CFL to save on energy, but are happy to pay $30,000 to $100,000 more for a house with extra rooms they obviously don't need.

That night a friend commented to me that the problem is not the economy, it's the ego-nomy. Her theory is that we could easily consume less energy and material goods - and actually be better off, psychologically and economically. But ego-nomically we might struggle. It seems that society strokes our ego only when we can point to (wastefully) expensive purchases.

I hope that changes. It would be great if the admired decisions were those which are good for us, good for society and good for the planet.

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