Energy Efficiency -
LIGHTING is the single biggest power consumer.
As you can see from the above charts, although experts disagree on the total amount, it is clear that lighting consumes the most power. One site says that if we replaced the 5 most used fixtures 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 CFL’s (compact fluorescent bulbs, the spiral-looking bulbs), we could close down 109 power plants. (And LED’s are even more efficient and have one other side benefit—see below). Maybe that’s overstating it, but the savings can be huge, and mean money in your pocket.
And 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:
- Switch to CFL bulbs: The quickest and least expensive change
- Switch to LED bulbs: The most cost savings.
- Retrofit recessed lights and fluorescent tubes with LED’s. (This is better than using CFL’s, because the contained heat tends to burn them 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.
- Size bulbs correctly, both for savings and for safety.
- When in doubt, contact an expert (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!).
- If you’re a business, check with your utility company for possible rebates to offset cost. Rebates have been phased out for CFL’s but are often still in place for LED’s.
Ken Stewart, Easley Electric Inc.
We’ll Never Leave YOU In The Dark!