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Think Outside of the Bulb

Jun 20, 2013

Guest Author-Brent Hardy, Extra Space Storage, manages sustainability programs. The Worcester self storage facility has been retrofitted to use solar lighting and motion sensors to reduce its energy consumption.


In today's economy, every penny counts. Whether you're a business owner maintaining multiple facilities, or simply trying to cut costs at home, effective lighting techniques are crucial -- and that goes beyond just switching to the curly-cue CFL bulbs or the newer LED options.


These simple, cost-effective tips will not only help with the electric bill, but will ensure cleaner, greener facilities.


Consider de-lamping
"De-lamping" refers simply to the removal of excess bulbs or tubes within specific light fixtures. This basic technique can save a bundle on energy consumption, and costs little or nothing to carry out. Of course, a variety of factors must be considered. Existing natural light, color schemes (see below), and task/purpose of the space should be taken into account. The IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America; has developed a set of comprehensive guidelines, which should be consulted before carrying out such a task. In addition, it's always a safe bet to consult your specific manufacturer for details on the type of ballast your light fixture contains.


Pay attention to your color scheme
When considering how to maximize output from a light source, reflectivity plays an important role. For this reason, the color of a room is crucial. White rooms naturally reflect more light, thus requiring less output from a light source. If white just doesn't suit, try to stick with bright colors. Also, do your best to take advantage of whatever natural light might be available – a white room plus sunlight equals savings.


Install motion sensors
It's amazing how much energy from a light source is wasted. In addition to cutting back substantially on this waste, motion sensors are efficient, inexpensive, and easy to install.
These can be picked up at most hardware stores or ordered online. The installation is surprisingly straightforward and rarely more difficult than putting in a light switch, although an electrician could easily take on the task. Whether used outdoors or in, day or night, motion sensors are bound to save you big bucks in the end.


When it comes to lighting efficiency, it never hurts to think outside the bulb. These cost-efficient, energy-saving practices show how a little effort can go a long way.


Consider all the factors of your unique facility. Compare ideas with those who share a similar vision. Look at what changes you can make, put some of them into place, and see how much of a difference it makes to your monthly utility bill.

Tags: green

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