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Published Columns: March 2004
Curbing Your Consumption:
Shedding some light on the subject

By John Ford and David Chernushenko

The first line of offence in saving lighting energy is the Compact Fluorescent or CF bulb. Today there are a wide variety of shapes and capabilities available for about $5. Low temperature, dimmable, and floodlight styles are available. CFs use less than a quarter of the energy and last much longer. That is large savings in applications where lighting is required for more than a few minutes at a time.

For places which require a variable amount of light, consider using a dimmer. A dimmed bulb uses less electricity and has a longer lifespan.

If you require lighting for safety in hallways, consider low wattage lights, or InfraRed (IR) switches, timers, or a combination.

One 100 watt porch light which is on whenever it is dark costs about $44 a year. An IR detector can be self installed for under $20 and will turn the light on only when needed. On for 20 minutes a day, you have saved the cost of the switch in only 6 months.

As you take down your Christmas lights, think on to next year and look for LED lights. They use a fraction of the power of incandescant bulbs.

John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business. He has won the Green Party nomination in Ottawa South for the upcoming federal election.

David Chernushenko is a sustainability advisor to business, governments and homeowners and the federal Green Party candidate for Ottawa Centre