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Energy Efficiency Series: Lighting Efficiency

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Energy Efficiency Series: Lighting Efficiency

If I were to ask you what consumes the most energy in your home or office building, what would you guess? Air conditioning? Powering up computers or copiers?lighting efficiency in the office

Actually, the chances are that keeping the lights on takes up more energy than those things combined!

One site says that if everyone replaced the 5 most-used fixtures in their homes with ENERGY STAR® fixtures and bulbs, we could save $8 billion per year.

Another expert I heard at an energy conference stated that if everyone in the US switched to fluorescent and CFLs, we could close down 109 power plants. Maybe that’s overstating it, but the savings can be huge, meaning more money in your pocket.

And the good news is that in most instances, lighting is the single EASIEST and LEAST EXPENSIVE upgrade to make. Often it’s a DIY project.

Here are some tips to take advantage of the energy savings:

Switch to CFLs or LED bulbs

CFL bulb efficiencyCompact flourescent bulbs, or CFLs, are those spiral-looking bulbs that you see everywhere at stores. Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs is the quickest and least expensive change. A CFL bulb can last 5 to 9 times longer than a traditional incandescent, and uses only about a quarter of the energy.

LED bulbs are more expensive up front, but use even less energy than the CFL, and a single bulb can last for 11 years or more! Switching all of your home lighting to LEDs could save you more than $6,000 over the next two decades or so.

Retrofit recessed lights and flourescent tubes with LEDs

LEDs are a better choice in this case, because the contained heat tends to burn CFLs out quickly. For some retrofits, you could get 135 of them on a 15-amp circuit—AND they’re dimmable! This can be a little more challenging, so be sure you know how to proceed. Ask a qualified electrician when in doubt.

Use motion detectors, occupancy sensors and timers.

If you turn the power off, most times you can replace these yourself. Some are even plug-in.

Take advantage of rebates

If you’re a business, check with your utility company for possible rebates to offset cost. Rebates have been phased out for CFLs but are often still in place for LEDs.

When in doubt, contact an expert.

If you have any questions about how to choose the right size bulb or to safely install them, contact a qualified electrician, an experienced lighting representative at a reputable lighting supply place, or someone you’re sure will know what they’re talking about!

Ken Stewart, Easley Electric Inc.
We’ll Never Leave YOU In The Dark!