Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Electricity Challenge - Let There Be Light

Yesterday I began my more in-depth investigations of our power usage. I've decided to break it down into manageable pieces.

Step 1 - a check on what light bulbs we are currently using.

I counted up a total of 16 lights and 3 lamps in our home. These 19 sources of light carry a total of 26 light bulbs.

The bathroom light is a heat lamp and has 2 specialised light bulbs and 2 heat lamp bulbs (total of 4 globes).

One of the outside lights has been replaced by 2 spotlight bulbs.

In the rest of the lights we have:

* 4 standard fluorescent lights
* 6 compact fluorescent globes
* 9 standard globes

It actually surprised me to find that we are still using 9 standard globes in our home. We have been transferring over to the compact fluorescent globes but as DH is the one that usually changes the light globes, I hadn't really realised how many are still to go.


1. Buy some more CF globes so that we can replace those that are standard globes. Now that they are available in various shapes and sizes I want to retry them in our touch lamps as well (they longer style don't fit). I did some playing around on http://www.ergon.com.au/ (thanks to Ali who mentioned them in a recent post) and I'm estimating we could save ourselves around $100 a year simply by doing that. The 6 that we have already replaced are saving us $60-$80 a year (these are based on average figures so only a very approximate figure).

2. I noticed that currently we have 1 of the specialised light globes in our bathroom not working. Since both globes turn on when you switch on the light, I'm thinking we may as well keep them this way as I'm assuming we only use half the amount of power. I also need to investigate these light bulbs a bit more to determine if there is an alternative that uses less power available.

3. The spotlights outside are great when the kids want to play outside after dark. It's especially handy when we have friends over and they all want to go outside (when it's not too cold). The drawback is that they use a lot of power and we have to switch them on for quite a long time if we're going out and returning after dark. DH has spotted a set of solar powered sensor lights in our local hardware store. They cost $100 so I'm keeping an eye on them and if they come on sale we'll buy a set to put up in the carport (where we currently have no power). I think this would eliminate the need to leave an outside light on when we're going to be out late.

4. Our lounge room light takes 3 globes. We currently have CF globes in them but I would like to experiment with a lower wattage as they seem quite bright and we rarely need a very bright light in the lounge room. The good thing is, if I purchase some lower wattage globes first, we can always use them in rooms like the toilet where a really bright light really isn't necessary, if they turn out to be too dull in the lounge room.

So there you have it. It feels really good to have developed some kind of action plan. I figure every tiny baby step is a step in the right direction. And if everyone were to take 1 small step a week, imagine the difference all of those added together would make. :-)

If anyone has come across any other solutions to reducing electricity usage through lighting - I would love to hear them.

P.S. On the topic of showering. Did you know that if you have 5 people in your household and each of you takes 5 minutes to shower, you could save yourselves around $300 a year by switching from a regular shower head (using 23 litres of water a minute) to a water saving shower head (using 9 litres of water a minute). The water saving shower heads do take a bit of getting used to but I now LOVE ours. At first it feels like a lot less water, but the pressure of the water you do get is really good. You need to commit yourself to a couple of weeks trial to allow yourself to get used to the difference. I think the benefits from both electricity and water usage are well worth the effort.

If you'd like to do your own calculations for potential savings in replacing light bulbs and showerheads click here and then click on "Energy Saving Calculator".


Ali said...

I'm glad that Ergon Energy calculator was useful to you! Our house is full of down lights and we still have 6 to replace with the compact fluros ~ it is an expensive outlay!!

Sensor lights are great especially if you come home and it's dark ~ I've never seen solar ones before!

Precious_1 said...

We picked up a solar sensor floodlight a few weeks back at Thrifty Link for &85 and we love it! We hooked it up in our carport and it works great even on overcast days. I'd like to get another one for the backyard.

We also found at GoLo some blue decorative ball lights (like christmas lights) that were also solar ones for $10 and strung them across the front of the carport so that its easy to spot when we come home in the dark (our front yard is really dark and its easy to miss the driveway).

Now if we could just get the inside of the house to be as energy efficient! lol

Good luck, the kids and I are watching with interest your energy reduction adventure.

lightening said...

Ooh, I'm getting all excited now. Blue solar lights! Sounds nice. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled now. I can see solar lights being in people's Chrissy pressies this year!

Precious_1 said...

They also had red and green ones! I'm hoping they still have some left in a fortnights time (my payday) so I can get some more to string across our back verandah

Precious_1 said...

oh, I'm Bettina from FIA btw.

lightening said...

Thanks for letting me know that Bettina. :-) I like your "precious" title. I may even just keep calling you precious - cos of course you are! :-) The internet world is quite interesting with all the "aliases" isn't it. I use a few different ones around the place - not deliberately. Sometimes it just depends on if what I normally use is available or not.

Precious_1 said...

Yes I get like that. The precious bit comes from an old msn chat nickname I had years ago. Once the Lord of the rings came out it was all "precious one this and precious one that" lol It kind of stuck. It gets shortened to "prec" so any variation of precious/prec/precious1/prec1 etc works. Its much easier to use the same or similar everywhere you go instead of making up something completely new with every group/service you join.