EPA Encourages New Englanders to Warm Up to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
New Englanders are used to cold weather, but this winter's early deep freezes has tested the resolve of even the hardiest. And with experts forecasting more frigid temperatures in the coming days, residents can expect more of the things we don't like about the cold: burst water pipes, transportation headaches and possible school closings.
As if all that wasn't enough, this winter New England is also facing threats to the reliability of the electric grid. According to ISO-New England, the independent operator of the region's electric grid, New England set a winter record for electricity demand on January 15th - when the temperature in Manchester, NH bottomed out at minus ten.
Though we might not be able to prevent school closings and commuting debacles this winter, nearly every New England resident has the power to improve electric reliability and cut their energy bills. And they won't have to climb a transmission tower in a 40-below wind-chill to do it. All you have to do is change the five most frequently used light bulbs in their house.
Sound too good to be true? Consider the facts. Lighting uses 10 percent of the electricity in the average home and accounts for about seven percent of household energy costs. In homes heated by oil or gas - especially in winter - lighting's share of electricity use is even higher. Efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and fixtures use, on average, about one-third of the electricity and last ten times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
CFLs achieve these gains by converting 40 percent of the energy they use into light. This might not sound like much, but standard incandescent bulbs convert only 10 percent into light - in other words, 90 percent of the energy they use is wasted as heat!
EPA and DOE's Energy Star program makes it easy for homeowners everywhere to make the switch to energy efficient lighting. Simply look for the Energy Star label on light bulbs and fixtures and you'll know that you're getting the most efficient, highest quality lighting products on the market today.
Energy Star's Change a Light, Change the World campaign is challenging every home in America to change the five most frequently used bulbs to Energy Star labeled bulbs.
This simple action, which can be accomplished in less time than it takes to watch your favorite television show, produces big results. The average homeowner will save $60 per year on energy costs. If every home in America changed out their five most used bulbs, we would save more than 800 billion kWh of electricity - energy equivalent to the output of 21 power plants, or enough to light 34 million homes for one year! And when we save energy, we not only save money and help reliability, we help the environment.
Changing out five bulbs across the nation would prevent the emission of more than one trillion pounds of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
And the good news doesn't end there. Energy Star torchieres are safer than halogen torchieres, which can reach scorching-hot temperatures of 700 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Fire chiefs across the country have joined Energy Star in calling for the replacement of these dangerous and wasteful fixtures with safer, cool-burning Energy Star Models.
Energy Star lights and fixtures are now available in a wide variety of styles to match almost any decor and features appropriate for almost any application, including: dimmable, three-way, and recessed, track and outdoor lighting. Historic buildings and museums around the country have participated in the EPA's Change a Light campaign while retaining their commitment to preserving history.
How can you get started? The average home has about 30 lights, and typically the most frequently used bulbs are: kitchen, bathroom vanity, outdoor lighting, and living room floor and table lamps. Major national and local retailers all carry Energy Star lighting products, and utilities across New Hampshire and the region are now offering rebates on many products - making your decision to change even easier.
So while you're enjoying the cold weather this winter, take a simple step to help keep everyone's lights on and to protect our environment for the future. And however you use the money you save, it will surely make you and your family feel a little warmer.
Ar-Lon Pickard contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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