Saturday, January 29, 2011


Piggy backing on an earlier post, here is the latest on the impending incandescent bulb ban.

The largest home furnishing store in the country, IKEA, is no longer stocking or selling incandescent bulbs in the US or Canada. Back in August of last year, IKEA announced they would have all incandescent bulbs out of their stores by this January.

So on January 4th of 2011, IKEA became the first retailer to pull ALL wattages (not just 100 watt) of the inefficient bulbs off their shelves to comply with the Energy Independence and Security Act, well ahead of the mandated dates.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today's Energy Thought

The Energy Independence and Security Act signed back in 2007 is finally going into effect in the not so distant future. It calls for the phasing out of the 100-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. by 2012 to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, "These standards will help cut our nation's electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent [amount of] electricity as 30 large power plants... that translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted."
The act requires new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy beginning in 2012 nationally, initially starting with the 100-watt bulb. By 2014, other incandescent bulbs, including the 75-, 60- and 40-watt, will also be phased out across the country.
California was allowed to adopt the national standard one year earlier. Beginning January 1st of 2011, the state began phasing out 100-watt incandescents, following the federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.
Australia was the first to begin phasing out incandescents beginning in 2009, followed by the European Union, the Philippines and Argentina. Mexico and Brazil are expected to follow the U.S.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Visualizing Electricity

The following is an excerpt from a recent article on entitled

<<<  Here's one of electricity's dirty little secrets: You can't see it moving, so it's hard to know when you're wasting a bunch of it. Think about the "vampire electronics" in your kitchen -- all of those blenders, coffee pots, toasters and toaster ovens that are sucking down power simply because they're plugged into an outlet. These electronics gobble an estimated 5% to 10% of all the electricity used in U.S. homes, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
But what if you could see your money going down the drain? Would visualizing power use help you save energy? That's one possible effect of a new smartphone charger from Dexim. When electricity is flowing down the charger's cord, blue lights travel down the cord, too, letting users see the energy that's needed to charge their smartphones. The lights zip down the cord more quickly when the phone is almost out of juice, since more electricity is needed. Patrick Tarpey, a spokesman for the company, said this "electro-luminescent wire" is intended as a visual reminder for phone users so that they can see from across the room whether their phone is almost charged. >>>

For more information or to read the complete article click on the link below:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did you know?

The first fluorescent tube light in the US was unveiled by GE in 1934. The use of fluorescent lighting systems spread rapidly during World War II as wartime manufacturing intensified lighting demand. At the end of the war, fluorescent bulbs had replaced incandescent technology for use in most commercial applications. By 1951, more light was produced in the US by fluorescent lamps than by incandescent.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Energy Star TV

No, a new channel has not been launched but beginning in 2011, all televisions will have Energy Guide stickers like those found on appliances such as refrigerators or washers and dryers. The idea being this will empower consumers to make energy efficient choices.

The Federal Trade Commission is requiring all TVs to display the stickers, which will feature the estimated annual energy cost of the TV, with a scale comparing it to other TVs in the same size range. The figures are based on a cost of 11 cents per kWh and five hours use per day.

The new requirement applies to all televisions sold in stores as of January, however websites have until July 2011 to add the labels.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are CFLs Safe?

Perhaps you have heard that compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and can be hazardous.

Here is a link to a great article from the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is chock full of information and health facts about CLFs including levels of mercury and proper disposal of the bulbs. Check it out...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Which uses less energy?

Shutting down your computer for an hour or two before turning it back on OR leaving it on for an hour or two set on sleep mode?

It's a common misconception that turning computers on and off adds to the wear and tear of the equipment and uses more energy than leaving the computer on indefinitely.
Computer equipment was made to be turned on and off. You will save energy by shutting it off completely, even if only for an hour or two.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today's Energy Thought

Which of the following uses the most electricity in your home?

heating and cooling systems
water heaters
video game consoles

Furnaces and air conditioners account for approximately 40% of your home's utility use, followed by water heaters with 11-15% and refrigerators with 7-10%. Video game consoles use  the smallest percentage of the items listed however they are considered energy vampires, using as much as 16 billion kilowatt-hours nationwide every year.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

True or False?

Building more wind and solar farms will solve our nation's energy problems.

False. However, this is a bit of a trick question. One of the biggest problems facing our energy grid today isn't building more generators of renewable energy, it is actually coping with increasing demand throughout the entire country. Thirty states have set time lines for generating a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Those goals will be much easier to meet if we simply used less. In California, per capita energy consumption is half what it is in other parts of the country, mainly due to energy efficient building codes that could easily be replicated in the rest of the nation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Power Strips

A high school teacher recently asked if power strips really do save energy and the short answer is yes, power strips do reduce what is referred to as phantom loads, vampire energy or wall warts. However, you can do one step better than the average power strip or surge protector.

Now there are smart strips or eco-strips out on the market. These strips use a motion detector of sorts to monitor and manage energy use. Devices plugged into the controlled outlets are turned on and off based on occupancy, or the fact that they are currently using energy. When installed, some power-sensing power strips turn off power to all the accessories unless the main item is turned on. These strips may cost a little more than regular power strips but this would be a case where you spend money to save money.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today's Energy Thought

We know that CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are more efficient than incandescent bulbs but what
does this mean? When comparing fluorescent bulbs with incandescent bulbs of an equivalent brightness, a fluorescent bulb converts 22 percent of electricity to visible white light whereas an incandescent bulb only converts 10 percent. So if you do the math, CLFs are more than twice as efficient as your standard incandescent bulb.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3rd Quarter Results

The 3rd quarter energy savings results were presented last night to the School Board. We are excited to announce that in July, August and September alone, the avoided energy costs in ISD 719 were (drum roll please)... $85, 298.00! That brings the grand total for the first 9 months of our partnership with SEE to a whopping $149,106.00! (APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!)
A big thank you goes out to all the staff and students in our district as this is a huge team effort. Many projects in the district combined with the SEE program and eco-conscious students and staff have contributed to our awesome savings. These are dollars that would have otherwise been spent on energy costs but we are able to keep this money right here in the classrooms where it is needed the most.

It's about a lot more than just turning off lights and powering down electronics but that is a huge contributing factor. Thank you everyone for doing your part to help our district be successful in reaching our energy savings goals!

We are definitely following the year two theme of the SEE program...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

The iconic ball that dropped in Times Square last night was designed by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting. The geodesic dome consists of 2,688 crystal triangles, is 12 feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds and contains 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs.
Speaking of LEDs, I just returned from Target where the holiday lights are now 75% off and there were plenty of LED strands and sets left, in Savage anyway. I also found the solar LED lights that use no electricity, only energy from the sun. These were also on clearance for 75% off so that is my shopping tip for the day.
Wishing you much joy and energy efficiency in 2011!