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Journal Yaztromo's Journal: Implementing an energy efficient apartment: lighting. 3

I've been making a very conscious effort since I moved to BC back in 2005 to make my home more energy efficient. To start, I should note that I have things comparatively easy -- Gigi and I are living in a one bedroom apartment. However, as we're on the ground floor, with no balcony, and with a balcony directly above the living room window, with a ~3m cliff wall only about 4m away from and parallel to the windows, we get virtually no direct sunlight, thus artificial lighting is pretty much a must for rooms we're using for tasks that require light (which is pretty much anything short of watching the TV or sleeping).

Shortly after I moved in back in the late summer of 2005, I started my mission to replace every light in here with energy efficient lighting. The first to be replaced were the three frosted glass ceiling lamps -- one in the bedroom, and two in the hall, each taking two bulbs, for a total of 6 bulbs. They had primarily 60W bulbs in them, which I replaced with 13W CF bulbs. I also replaced the light in the range hood with the same 13W CF bulb. Two of these Noma branded bulbs also made their way into a desk lamp that also had a 60W bulb in it, and a table lamp of mine that was designed for a 150W tri-light bulb.

The bathroom required decorator globe lamps, so I bought 4 of these, replacing four 40W incandescents with four 9W vanity bulbs made by Globe.

The dining room has a single-bulb suspended ceiling lamp, which had a 100W globe bulb in it. It's on a dimmer, so I replaced it with a 26W CF bulb from GE. This bulb has since died (well within its 4 year guarantee), and I've replaced it with a really old-style fully enclosed CF bulb I've had for 15 years or so, which I don't know the wattage or manufacturer of (post-preview check: it's an 18W SL-18 lamp from Phillips).

The latest replacement was a 300W halogen torchiere floor lamp. Gigi and I got a great deal on a brand new 55W CF torchiere which, after sale pricing and an instant rebate from the electric utility, cost us $35 (CAN). As there is no built-in lighting in the living room, which is our main lamp -- if someone is home, it's probably on. Switching to CF is probably going to save us roughly $60 a year based on my rough usage calculations, so we're going to hopefully see a net savings from this acquisition pretty fast (and if we can sell the old one for $15, we'll have paid off the lamp in savings in about three months time).

The kitchens main lighting has always been via CF tube lighting. I'm guessing it has two 30W bulbs in it, however as I haven't taken apart the fixture to find out (and probably won't), I don't know for certain.

So, from a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation, we've decreased our energy usage in these lighting fixtures from 1190W down to 234W.

We're not quite finished, however. There are still 5 incandescent bulbs in our apartment:

  • A small 40W desk lamp, that takes a type S bulb,
  • A second halogen floor lamp. This one is smaller, with a flexible head, and is rated for a 20W G4 connector bulb (I can't tell if this is the wattage of the bulb in there, mind you),
  • The lights in the refridgerator and oven, which are standard 40W appliance bulbs, and
  • The current heavyweight, a 250W infrared heat lamp in the bathroom. As the bathroom has no heater of any sort, this built-in ceiling lamp is the heating system. We virtually never use it.

I'd love to replace the 40W desk lamp bulb with an LED bulb, but I have yet to find anywhere where I can buy one with a type S connector. I'd also love to replace the 'fridge bulb, as it is a heat source, so not only does it use more energy than necessary, the bulk of that energy then needs to be used again by the refrigeration system to remove that heat again. But I haven't found a CF or LED appliance bulb anywhere either.

The over light is probably the hardest to replace, as I'd think the temperatures reached in there would be too excessive for most CF ballasts to handle, and would melt the plastic in LED lamps. Besides which, any heat lost is typically useful in this scenario (as rarely is the light ever turned on when the oven isn't in use anyhow).

The heat lamp is probably impossible to replace. The only way I can see any energy savings from it while still allowing it to do it's job would be to find something that emitted more IR light -- even though the bulb is marked "Infrared", it still emits a lot of visible white light (enough that you can use it as the only light in the room if you wanted to). We virtually never use it, so replacing it with something more efficient would mostly be "because we can", rather than for any actual energy savings.

It's been difficult to measure the savings, due to both the staggered deployment over the course of two years, and what with Gigi moving in back in January (someone is now typically home much more often than before, so the lighting is used more often, and the electricity usage has changed). I'm billed 6 times a year, and the last bill would have only included about two weeks of usage of the new torchiere lamp (our single biggest energy saving replacement to date), so the next bill should hopefully be more en-"lightening".

Next in the series: replacing the old mechanical thermostat with a digital setback thermostat (the apartment uses all electric heating). I'm hoping the next bill will show whether or not this has also made an appreciable difference or not to our energy footprint here in Chateau Yaz.


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Implementing an energy efficient apartment: lighting.

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  • If you read the packaging (specifically Globe CF bulbs) it says not to use them with dimmers - I know because I made the same mistake. You have at least 4 choices:

    1. buy special cf bulbs that work with dimmers s/cfl.htm#3 []
    2. go back to incandescent lights
    3. replace the light fixture with one that allows you to switch on the bulbs individually
    4. add extra cf lamps that you can switch on instead of the incandescents

    Bonne chance :-)

    • If you read the packaging (specifically Globe CF bulbs) it says not to use them with dimmers - I know because I made the same mistake. You have at least 4 choices:

      Actually, I forgot to mention that the bulb that died is a GE dimmable bulb. The old Philips bulb that has replaced it isn't -- but truth be told, I don't generally dim that light anyhow -- it gets switched from off to full on every time.

      Admittedly, even with an incandescent bulb it doesn't appear that the dimmer is particularly linear -- it'

      • Oh, okay. BTW - there might be a lot # on the GE bulb. If so, they could determine the date of manufacture, and whether its still in-warranty (provided it wasn't old, old stock ...)

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