Energy Efficiency

Dimmer Switches

An easy way to control your lighting is to install a dimmer switch. Dimmers also reduce energy consumption by cycling light and increasing bulb life.

Most dimmers cycle the light on and off 120 times per second – faster than your eye can detect. The longer the light is ON versus OFF, the brighter the light output. Likewise, the longer the light is OFF versus ON, the lower the light output and the greater the energy savings.

Dimmer switches come in four popular styles: dial, slide, touch pad, and combination light switch/dimmer slide. Since dimmer switches come in different shapes and each operates a little differently, you should always follow the instructions included with the switch operation.

Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

We know that making improvements to your lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. An average household dedicates 5-10 percent of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50-75 percent!

Using tube fluorescent and energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home provides high quality and high efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent (standard) bulbs and last about 4-10 times longer.

Today’s CFLs offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to incandescent lights. Although fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves by saving energy over their lifetime. CFL fixtures are now available that feature dimmers and operate much like incandescent fixtures.

MOTION SENSOR OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Many homeowners use outdoor lighting for decoration and security. When shopping for outdoor lights, you will find a variety of products, from low voltage pathway lighting to motion detector floodlights.

Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a motion sensor so they will turn on only at night or when someone is present. A combined photocell and motion sensor will increase your energy savings even more. Also consider high-intensity discharge (also called HID) or low-pressure sodium lights.

Turn off decorative outdoor natural gas lamps; just eight such lamps burning year-round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average size home during an entire winter.

Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold weather ballast since standard CFLs may not work well below 40°F.

OCCUPANCY SENSORS

Occupancy sensors can reduce energy waste by as much as 68 percent and increasing energy savings by as much as 60 percent, according to a new study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The study, entitled “Demand Reduction and Energy Savings Using Occupancy Sensors,” monitored 158 rooms at 60 buildings for occupancy and lighting status over a 14-day period. Researchers evaluated occupancy patterns, calculated energy savings, and estimated the demand reduction potential using simulated occupancy sensor time delays of 5, 10, 15, and 20 min.

The 5-minute time delay showed the best results with a reduction in energy waste of 68 percent and an increase of energy savings of 60 percent when used in a bathroom.

Ceiling Fans

Benefits of Ceiling Fans in Winter Months

Warm air is lighter than cool air. In any given room there are layers of air with varying degrees of temperature, the warmest air near the ceiling. In the winter months, you should run your ceiling fan in a clockwise direction. This pushes warm air up against the ceiling and then down the walls, gently recirculating warm air through the room without causing a chilling breeze. This technique has been proven to lower home or office heating costs by as much as 10 percent by offsetting the HVAC work load.

Benefits of Ceiling Fans in Summer Months

In the summer months, your ceiling fan offers the greatest energy saving benefits when run in a counter-clockwise direction. While a ceiling fan does not necessarily lower the temperature, it does make the room feel cooler by providing a circulatory breeze. If the outside temperature is not too high, you might be able to achieve a comfortable environment by turning off the HVAC altogether, by opening a few windows and allowing the ceiling fan to circulate warm air outdoors. Effective circulation can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler, and reduce air conditioning bills by up to 40 percent.

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