LET THERE BE ENERGY SAVING LIGHT – Illumination and Solar 101
In a 1931 conversation with Henry ford and Harvey Firestone, 83 year old Thomas Edison commented:
“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
This is our direct current (DC) solar & hydro powered home. The advantage of DC is that electricity is stored in batteries for later use.
How it Works:
The first strategy for energy saving illumination is to properly arrange windows to provide natural day lighting and solar heat gain during the cooler months . . .
When the sun goes down, interior lighting has to take over. This post will highlight numerous creative luminary forms, in an energy efficient home.
DINING ROOM: Energy Star light fixture with three 13 watt compact fluorescent’s
FOYER: – Ceiling fixture – 20 watt halogen; Lamp – 13 watt Compact Fluorescent
Comparison of light bulbs – left to right
5.5 watt LED, 13 watt CFL, 4 watt LED (pin mount track light), 60 watt incandescent.
Thomas Edison invented the first commercially viable incandescent light bulb, pictured above right. It was a revolutionary moment in 1882, when the Edison Illuminating Company switched on one of the worlds first electric utilities, empowering 59 customers in Lower Manhattan with 110 volt direct current (DC) current .
Not Lower Manhattan
By 1887 Edison was operating 121 DC power stations in the United States, used mostly to provide electric lighting. With the “war of current,” Tesla’s alternating current (AC) won out, because unlike DC, it could be transmitted long distances.
Incandescent’s are being phased out.
Only 10% of the power they consume is converted to light. The other 90% is wasted as heat, which can create excessive air conditioning requirements in summer months.
Meet our energy hog – frog lamp. It has a odd sized 40 watt incandescent bulb, that we haven’t yet replaced.
Guess what? This lamp is rarely turned on.
Compare it to the tiffany lamp below.
It has a 2 watt LED bulb that uses only 1/20th of the electricity!
Here a couple of 13 watt CLF light fixtures illuminate my wife’s pantry.
Ultimately, energy efficient lighting can save you money & time. It frees up power for other uses . . . and it plays a big part in reducing the overall effect of climate change.
Cost Analysis: Battle of the Bulbs
700 to 1,000 hours
Bulbs required: 50 bulbs at $1/bulb
Energy cost: $300
Total cost of lighting with incandescent
B. Type: 13-watt CFL (800 lm)
Up to 10,000 hours
Bulbs required: 5 bulbs at $3.50/bulb
Energy cost: $65
Total cost of lighting with CFL
C. Type: 8-watt LED (800 lm)
Up to 50,000 hours
Required bulbs: 1 LED at $30/bulb
Cost per 50,000 hours: $40
Total cost of lighting with LED
Above Right: Living room lighting – 2 watt LED lamp, 4 watt LED track lights, & Energy Star Ceiling Fan with 2 – 32 watt Fluorescent tubes.
I always examine the color temperature of a light bulb (measured in Kelvin). I prefer warm white at about 3000 kelvin, which is the color of incandescent lighting that people are most accustomed to. Daylight sounds good, but it creates a stark bluish light. An example of this is the 1 watt LED lamp shown on top of the piano below.
Here is a list of the light bulbs we use: (mostly warm white)
7 – 32 watt fluorescent tubes
15 – 4 watt LED track lights
8 – 5 watt, 2 watt and 1 watt LED bulbs
1 – 20 watt halogen bulb
4 – 40 and 60 watt incandescent bulb
During my building tech training, I remember an illumination course from back in 1976, a few years after the energy crisis of the early 70’s. We learned that most commercial buildings are over illuminated . In general, lighting consumes a hefty amount of energy.
Power Consumption in Commercial buildings:
A kitchen does need to be well illuminated:
An office, like my wife’s writing space below, has specific task lighting.
She is working on her 2nd novel from this space. And it’s aptly titled:
The Light Never Lies . . .
The Buddha is happy there is energy efficient light!
And now the morning dawns . . .
Let there be light . . .