Betty lights up your life!

by Betty on October 5, 2012

As the daylight hours wane, Betty thought you’d appreciate some bright ideas on energy-saving indoor lighting.

By now I hope you’ve noticed the new labels on lighting. Lumens (which means output of light—we want high numbers here) are the focus instead of kilowatts (energy produced—we want low numbers here). For example, the old 100 watts can be replaced with 1600 lumens.

Maximizing natural light
Sky tubes Skylights are a way to bring the natural light and reduce the need for artificial light, but the old versions came with high maintenance, risk of leaking, and difficult installation. However, the new generation of “sky tubes” are easier to install and offer a slicker, tighter installation.
Light shelf Latitude 38’s Joey Conover suggests this idea, often used in commercial spaces but not that common (yet) among residential properties, so you may have to get creative. Install a light shelf, outdoor or indoor, to reflect light deeper into a large room and provide natural overhead light.

No more wasted energy
Incandescents are so five years ago.
CFLs are 75 percent more efficient, and with the new lighting labels, you should be able to find one that meets your lighting and aesthetic requirements.
LEDs use 1/3 the energy of a CFL and last 25 times longer! And the LEDs keep coming down in price (Philips brand L Prize Winning LED is now $40).

It’s all about control
Putting switches on dimmers, timers, or using occupancy sensors are low-cost ways to trim your electricity use. And I’m excited about emerging technology which will soon let us control everything remotely from our iPhones and laptops. I’ve seen some buzz about “Plugwise,” a system from California-based kWh Power that rids your home of phantom energy loss by allowing you to monitor, track, and control unnecessary energy use. For example, the system could wirelessly send data to your computer to tell you that you left a lamp on when you went to work—and then allow you to turn it off from your desk.

Hope this helps! BWB

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