Informed Lighting Choices and Ways to Save Energy

Out with the old, in with the new! seems to be the motto for greater lighting energy efficiency.

Innovative technology options are setting new standards for transitioning to energy efficiency, as the world moves closer to curtailing those factors that speed up global warming and drastic climate changes.

The new light energy efficiency standards came into effect in 2012 and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), when highlighting the need for this transition, talks about how this move will happen.

In the United States specifically, the traditional 100W incandescent light bulb went out of production as on New Year’s Day, 2012. Over the next two years, production of the 40W, 60W and 75W light bulbs will also be phased out.

This is a very positive move in the aim to achieve light energy efficiency. The consumer, who needs to be self educated and more aware of this, has several money-saving and energy-saving lighting options through purchase of CFL bulbs and LED bulbs which provide nearly 75% savings in energy and costs.

You may well ask, “What is the difference between incandescent bulbs and the new energy saving bulbs? ” The answer to that is, traditional incandescent bulbs absorb a lot of energy to product light and much of that energy is given off as heat, providing ineffective lighting.

Double benefit lighting choices

The three most common energy-efficient lighting options are provided by energy-saving incandescent bulbs, CFL and LED lighting, which are easily available across the counter. These are all super efficient energy savers. For the consumer, double benefits of energy saving and cost saving is assured.

Cost saving is an indirect factor here because although these lighting options are priced slightly more than traditional bulbs and light fixtures, their longevity ensures that payback is achieved through less frequent repairs and replacements.

• Energy saving incandescent bulbs last up to three times longer as compared to the traditional incandescent lighting. They also come in a range of different colors and sizes; some are even fitted with dimmers to adjust lighting preferences

• CFLs are, to put it simply, curly versions of the tube lights that provide bright lighting in a garage or kitchen. CFLs use about one fourth the energy used by traditional fluorescent lights and last nearly ten times longer. They also come in a range of colors including diffused white and warm yellow tones. The important point to remember is that CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and they should therefore be recycled when their lifespan is over.

• Light emitting diodes (LEDs) or solid state lighting semiconductors convert electricity into light. Once known only for use in outdoor lighting such as traffic lights, indicator signs etc, these are fast becoming most sought after for their technological designs and energy efficiency. At best, they consume only 25% of energy and last nearly 25 times longer as compared to incandescent lighting.

Energy saving tips on the home front

1. Maximize use of natural light within the home. Rearranging home furniture and home work space even cooking areas to absorb sunlight is a great way to save on lighting costs

2. The use of small spot lights or track lights on walls or table lamps do away with the need to light larger spaces using background lighting

3. The new designs of high efficiency tube fluorescent lighting fixtures solve the problem of providing brighter lighting in kitchens, garages, basements etc.

4. Occupancy sensors that sense the presence of people to turn lights on and off, are a great value-add.

The need to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming has turned the focus completely on energy saving lighting and adoption of eco friendly methods that maximize the utilization of natural lighting and naturally available light sources. Solar energy is the best natural alternative to artificial lighting, not only for indoor lighting and energy but also for outdoor spaces.