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eco Friendly Lighting
According to a the International Energy Agency, a global switch to efficient lighting systems would trim the world's electricity bill by nearly one-tenth. The carbon dioxide emissions saved would, dwarf cuts so far achieved by adopting wind and solar power. According to Paul Waide, a senior policy analyst with the IEA, "19% of global electricity generation is taken for lighting.
The best source of light by far, is the sun! It gives off free, full-spectrum light all day. Get the most from daylight by keeping your blinds open... a simple step by it can have a big impact. You can also put in some skylights. If you are designing a home or doing a renovation, put as many windows on the south-facing side of the house as possible (or north-facing if you live in the southern hemisphere). Sunlight can even be “piped” inside via fiber optics and other light channeling technologies.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL)
According to the USA Energy Star program: “If every home in the USA replaced one light bulb with a CFL, they would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year, preventing greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.
A compact fluorescent light bulb consumes only a quarter of the electricity of a standard incandescent light bulb, and lasts approximately 8-15 times longer. A US article stated "A household that invested $90 in changing 30 fixtures to CFL's would save $440 to $1,500 over the five-year life of the bulbs, depending on your cost of electricity. Look at your utility bill and imagine a 12% discount to estimate the savings! On average, each CFL you install, could save approximately $30 over the lifetime of the bulb, compared to an incandescent at 10 cents per kilowatt. If you are paying more than 10 cents for each kilowatt (include the delivery charge, etc.) then your savings will be even greater.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are extremely energy efficient and extremely long-lasting light bulbs. LEDs are just starting to hit the consumer market in a big ( affordable) way. In most loacations, they still cost quite a bit more than even CFLs, but use even less energy and last even longer. An LED light bulb can reduce energy consumption by 80-90% and last up to100,000 hours. Christmas lights using LEDs have come down in price, but make sure you like the set you buy, as they may last you your lifetime given the few hours per year that they are turned on.
Lighting isn’t only about the bulbs, having eco-friendly lamps and light fixtures is key to greening your lighting. When looking for new lights, keep your eyes out for lamps made with natural, recycled, or reused materials.
Dimmers and Motion Sensors
Motion sensors can be a good way to keep lights turned off when they’re not needed. It's great to swap out all your old light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, but if all the lights are on when no-one is home, you're still wasting energy (and money). The first motion sensor light switch I purchased, went into the kid's bedroom... seems they could never figure out how to turn a light off on their own! With dimmers you can get just the right amount of light, but be aware that most CFL's won't work with a dimmer switch... you'll need to purchase a "dimmable" CFL.
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