By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
“I’d just get a dummy light bulb and drill the bottom out of it,” Inasy says, “then run the LEDs in.”
Another L.A. stage lighting designer, Kathi O’Donohue, thinks an even easier way for theater set designers to get around AB 722 will be to buy higher-wattage incandescent bulbs and then dim them down to the desired level. The problem, she says, is that consumers may simply start buying 200- or 300-watt bulbs for their homes — which aren’t designed to handle the electricity loads that theaters can.
“Most people are not mathematicians and electricians at home,” she says. “[The higher-wattage bulbs] would overload the circuits and be dangerous.”
Light may be the cleanest form of energy, but in California it comes with a dirty secret. Both Militello and Hollingsworth claim that new stores and restaurants routinely draw up two sets of lighting blueprints — one for the inspectors and one for contractors. The inspectors-only plans are meant to satisfy Part 6 of California’s Title 24 energy-conscious building code. Part 6 governs commercial and residential lighting and strongly discourages use of incandescent-lighting fixtures in favor of fluorescents. Hollingsworth says this places green-conscious designers like herself in untenable positions.
“It’s a huge strain on us,” she says, “to be the bearer of news to our clients by saying, ‘I’m sorry, but you can’t have incandescent lighting.’ People will put in [fluorescents], have the inspectors sign off on it. Then they’ll turn around and have their contractor rip them out and put in what they want — because these are people who get what they want.”
“This is a regressive bill,” Hollingsworth adds, commenting on low-income Californians, who rarely get what they want. “It penalizes people who can least afford to change the fixtures in their homes. And if I’m an apartment owner who suddenly has to change 400 of these lights, is that cost effective to me? How do I pay for this? Do I raise rents?”
Australia, Canada and Venezuela are currently promoting the switch from incandescent to fluorescent lighting. Cuba, too, has jumped on the bandwagon, although the proliferation of flickering ceiling tubes and small-wattage bulbs one sees artlessly jammed into Havana’s Art Deco sconces — and chandeliers — is probably not what AB 722’s proponents have in mind. California would be the first U.S. state to enforce a fluorescents-only law.
“There is not going to be a light-bulb police,” Assemblyman Levine assures the Weekly.“People are hanging on to an old notion of what fluorescent bulbs are. Give them a try — they’re not bad!”
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