Happy In Bag

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gas Face

I don’t know anything about energy efficiency, but as an amateur treehugger I question the wisdom of decorative gas lamps.

Outdoor lamps like this one burn 24 hours a day on the corners of many J.C. Nichols subdivisions here in central Johnson County. They don’t provide much light; they’re just for looks. It must cost a bundle, to say nothing of the environmental issues, to keep these eternal flames lit.

Solar-powered street and traffic lights and traffic lights are becoming commonplace. Why not convert to these systems? Barring that, perhaps these lamps could be augmented by light-sensitive on-off switches.


  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Greg Beck said…

    you had to make me go look didn't you?

    A typical gas light consumes 13 to 18 therms of energy per month, which at $.50/therm equates to between $6 and $9 per month.

    Some lamps feature automatic dimmers that decrease gas consumption by one-third by reducing the flame size during the day. Unfortunately, lamps with dimmers blow out more easily, requiring more frequent re-lighting.

  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger Greg Beck said…

    here's an update

    The average heat value of natural gas is 1000 BTU per cubic foot. A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is enough heat to heat one pound of water one degree (F).

    Natural gas is sold to the customer in units of 100 cubic feet (therm) or in a unit called MCF. A

    therm represents approx. 100,000 BTU of heating power, enough to heat a normal home for about 2
    hours during colder weather.

    MCF is ten therms, or 1 million BTU's. Prices vary, from as low as $.80 to as high as $1.00+ per therm.

  • At 2:22 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Thanks, Death. So a typical lamp would cost about $13.50 a month and $162.00 annually. Multiply that times the number of decorative gas lamps in Johnson County- let's say 5,000. That's $810,000.00 a year and a heckuva gas burned for the sake of "beauty." Is it worth it? You know what I think.

  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger Don't Need Anything said…

    that disgusts me.

  • At 4:14 PM, Blogger FletcherDodge said…

    $810,000 !?! Wow, think of how many Kansas City Missouri council members you could buy with that kind of scratch.

  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger Xavier Onassis said…

    Now we need to factor in the environmental costs of all of those cedar shingle roofs (as long as you're building me a house anyway, cut down some "extra trees" and put 'em on my roof!), and the increased insurance costs that are passed along to the rest of us when some pop bottle rocket burns down a $2m home.

  • At 8:19 PM, Blogger WLIB said…

    So I guess Johnson County does have money to burn. (sorry, couldn't help myself...)

  • At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    5000 gas lamps???!!?? Is there one on every house? You guys are nuts.

    I guess it is better than the Kerosene lamps that heat the crack cooking stoves in Xavier's doublewide. The tires holding the blue tarp down over his roof are much more of a fire hazard than any wood shingles.


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