In homes and offices, between 20% and 50% of all energy consumption is for lighting. However, recent advances in lighting have enabled businesses and residences to make significant strides toward greening and cost control.
Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs), described as “swirley” bulbs that “look like soft-serve ice cream cones,” substantially cut back on the wastefulness of conventional incandescent bulb, which turn only about 5% to 10% of its consumed energy into light, the rest being expended as heat. CFLs use only about one-fourth as much energy and last many times longer (usually around 10,000 hours). It is estimated that a CFL pays for its higher price after about 500 hours of use.
Some of the options the You Save Green provide include:
Can reduce energy use up to 60%, indoors or out. Induction lighting fixtures have the option of dimming to 50% power, then instantly coming up to full power when motion is detected, increasing energy savings. Induction light bulbs available through You Save Green have standard bases to directly replace less efficient incandescent, halogen, and CFL bulbs.
Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are extremely long-lasting light bulbs. LED lights can be used for exit signs, external signage, and menu boards. LED lights use solid-state chips rather than a filament and glass bulb. As a result, they last longer and lose much less energy to heat. An LED light bulb can reduce energy consumption by 80% to 90%, and last 100,000 hours.
One way to go-green in lighting is seek out inefficiencies. For example, with linear fluorescent tube lighting, T12 bulbs can be replaced with more efficient T8 or T5 varieties. The “T” designation refers to the diameter of the tubing; the smaller the diameter, the easier to focus light where needed, making it more efficient.
An important focus of the You Save Green Program will be lighting upgrades. These updates, such as by using the lighting options described above, will help a residence or commercial building to reduce its electrical base-load consumption through lighting that in some cases lasts 10 times longer, take advantage of light sensors, monitor usage and set lighting timers, and take advantage of state and federal tax incentives.