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Become an Educated Energy Consumer    OttawaEnergyAudit     Thursday 21 January 2021
Current Time-of-use pricing is: medium at 19.393¢/kWh
Contact us now to book your audit.

Published Columns: November 2005
Curbing Your Consumption:
Take an LED light for a spin

By John Ford

Give your clothesline or dryer a headstart - use a spin dryer. They are available from about $200 to $600. They take out about 60% of the water left in clothes after washing at 3000 RPM. This reduces your drying time by about half. For an electric dryer, this would cut 25¢ per load at today's prices and a half hour of time, taking 800 loads to pay back the investment of $200. For a family of four that's about two years. An added benefit is that they are gentler on clothes, which will last longer.

When you're shopping for lights to string up this year, don't forget to look for LED lights. The entire string uses less electricity than just one regular bulb. They don't burn out, meaning you won't have to climb the ladder to fix that one dead bulb.

Available now are LED night lights. The price is about $5, but they use only about one third of a watt compared to a regular bulb at four watts, so payback takes about a year. If you're looking to replace your regular home lighting with LED, they are not yet cost-effective. Bulbs are available - used in traffic lights for example - but are around $100. Compact Fluorescent is still the champion for price today.

LED flashlights can be found for between $10 and $20. One set of batteries will burn for about twenty times that using a regular bulb (about 100 hours compared to 5 hours), and give off the same amount of light when the batteries drop in voltage rather than getting dim. This makes them useful for standby emergency lights where the batteries may be of unknown condition. You can also buy LED bulbs to replace regular bulbs for popular flashlights. It's the last bulb you will buy for that flashlight.

In the not-too-distant future, our appliances will be 'smart' and 'plugged in' to our home management systems. Our lighting systems may be a part of this home network. Today the TV remote uses an InfraRed LED to signal the TV. Visible light LEDs used in your home lighting could also contain coded signals which would be used to broadcast instructions throughout your home to wireless appliances using just the room lighting.

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John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business.