Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seeing the Light / Saving the Green

Even Walmart has figured out that conserving energy makes sense. Their goal: sell 100 million (yes, that's 100,000,000) compact fluorescent light bulbs in 12 months. That was 2007.

One easy way for consumers to conserve energy in their homes is by making intelligent choices about lighting design. Lisa Donato of LightSOURCE explains that when it comes to lighting, saving energy is all about using fewer Watts. The Walmart strategy designed to reach this goal is the compact fluorescent bulb which uses roughly a quarter the wattage to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. However, when you're planning your Renovation project, consider the fact that there are several components to a good design that can take your lighting conservation one or even two steps further.

Lisa offers these suggestions:

  • User fewer incandescent light sources, instead opt for compact fluorescent or LED type fixtures.
  • Design spaces to take maximum advantage of natural daylight.
  • Consider Lighting Control Systems. These systems can incorporate occupancy sensors, daylight sensors and stepped dimming to provide only the amount of light needed in any given scenario and location throughout your home.

You've no doubt heard of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating system. Look for Energy Star qualified lighting packages. Many of the major lighting manufacturers offer such systems and fixtures and the number is growing every day. On its Energy Star web site, the EPA offers a high-impact but practical piece of advice, "Replace your highest use fixtures or the bulbs in them with energy efficient models." The EPA claims that Energy Star qualified lighting typically uses 66% less energy, produces 70% less heat and last 10 times longer.

If you're still a doubter, you're not alone. Lisa Donato says that the biggest reason that energy conservation in the residential lighting market is still in its infancy is money. "It costs more up front to be efficient; the payoff to the homeowner comes down the road when energy savings brings cost savings."

Visit the Energy Star web site for more information on that program and contact Lisa Donato for your illumination consulting needs.

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