Now that we are in the last week of the challenge, it is once again time to share your weekly average.
Due to hot weather both day and night for two days our average is just a bit higher than my baseline. Air-conditioning really is a guzzler of energy . We recorded average daily usage of 17.6 kWh which is 4% higher than my baseline of 16.6 kWh. Sometimes you just can’t win a trick!
Oh, I just remembered. The builder was using all of his power tools on Friday (the big spike in the graph), so that would have gone a long way to the large usage we experienced that day. At least today is looking a lot better with only 13.7 kWh being used. Our best day so far has been 11.1 kWh, when we were out of the house for most of the day.
Anyway, I hope you have all stuck with it, and tried to reduce where you can and saved a few bucks so far.
So to finish of this post here some information about energy efficient lighting.
Compact Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent lighting now comes in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes and functions including:
• A ‘warm white’ colour, similar in appearance to an incandescent lightglobe suitable for use in living areas, kitchens and bedrooms
• A ‘cool’ white colour suitable for use in bathrooms, toilets and for outdoor use
• Globe, coil and spiral shapes, and now bulbs suitable for reading lamps and chandelier lights. Also available with a glass cover that give them a similar appearance to incandescent lightglobes
• 9 watt (24 watt equivalent) to 18–20 watt (100 watt equivalent)
• Downlight replacements (similar in shape to a halogen downlight).
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are generally available wherever conventional light bulbs are sold, with most hardware stores and major supermarkets stocking a good range. They are usually designed to fit into conventional bayonet or screw fitting light sockets. Specialist lighting stores will stock less conventional bulbs for use in downlights and heritage light fixtures, such as chandeliers. LED replacements are also becoming more readily available and are getting cheaper all the time.
What about halogen lighting?
Halogen lights are also a type of incandescent light. These are mainly used as downlights in homes. Halogens are also known a “low voltage” lights as they have transformers fitted to convert from the standard household 240 volts to 12 volts, but this does not mean that they are also low energy use.
Halogens are considered an energy intensive lighting option because several halogen lights are often needed in the place of one incandescent or fluorescent light bulb to achieve even lighting levels in a room. (Most low voltage halogen globes used as downlights consume 50 watts each and an additional 15 watts for the transformer).
A 50W halogen downlight used 3 hours a day will cost around $10 a year to run. If you had a room with 8 halogens and ran them for 8 hours each day, it would cost you over $200 every year!
As most halogen lights have a narrow light beam, many more are need to effectively light a room than when using other forms of lighting. As with incandescent lightglobes, a large proportion of the energy consumed by halogen lighting is actually lost in the form of heat.
Options for Halogen replacements
• In a new home or renovation you can get the look of downlights by installing mini CFL down light fittings. This will cost a bit more, but you will make a big difference to your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
• If you have 50 watt halogen lights downsize them to 20 watt or 35 watt halogen lights to save energy and lighting bills.
• Install a dimmer switch.
• Instead of halogen light consider alternatives such as floor and bench lamps fitted with CFLs.
• If replacing low voltage halogen lights, an electrician will be needed to convert the lights.
• Another technology is LED downlights (LED downlights retail between $30 and $100 each but last up to 50,000 hours). They are currently available from specialist environment stores, online retailers and larger hardware stores. While they are currently quite expensive and the light output and quality may be less than halogen downlights, performance and price is improving all the time.
Energy Efficient Lighting tips
• Natural light is free and the most energy efficient lighting source
• Turn lights off when you don’t need them.
• Replace standard incandescent globes with energy-saving compact fluorescent globes, particularly in high-use areas, and make sure you use the lowest wattage light needed.
• Use programmable timers, daylight sensors or movement sensors to control outdoor and security lighting.
• For outdoor garden lighting, try solar-powered lights.
I hope that you can use this information and tips to reduce your electricity bill even further.