The City of Calgary recently completed a total retrofit of every street light lining our city’s roads. Last summer the last of 80,000 LED light bulbs was installed, which allows for whiter, more directed beams of light, and less “sky glow,” which means a more clear view of the night sky. The expected savings are at least $1 million per year in reduced maintenance and $5 million in reduced energy costs.
We’re all doing our best to reduce our energy use and be responsible about our consumption of natural resources. Not only does being conscientious help the environment, it also keeps energy bills down. Switching to LED lighting is one step in the right direction, and it’s easy to do. Here are some more ways you can reduce energy use at your home or business.
1. Turn out the lights. Getting your family into the habit of always turning the lights off when leaving a room is a simple and effective way to keep energy use top of mind. Options like dimmer switches can help create a nice ambience in rooms while also using less energy, and timers can be used for fixtures like outdoor lights to make sure they are only being used when necessary. Businesses can especially benefit from the use of motion detectors, which are great for rooms that are often used but do not need to be lit all the time, like washrooms and meeting rooms.
2. Unplug your devices. Your appliances and devices like phone chargers, monitors, printers, scanners and fans all use residual power even when they’re not being used. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that from 5 to 10 percent of your overall energy bill are costs accrued from devices that are left plugged in all the time. Experts advise disconnecting toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, stereos, game terminals, cable boxes and lamps when they are not in use. One tip is to plug all of these sorts of devices into an energy bar so that all you have to do is flip the switch each time you want to use something, rather than plugging in and unplugging all the time.
3. Don’t forget your computer! If you run a business, encouraging everyone to power down their desktops when they leave can save thousands in kilowatt hours each year. A 2012 study published by Tips and Tricks HQ estimates that a desktop CPU left running from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. uses about 1.3 KWhs each day. If your business has a dozen computers, that is close to 5,700 KWhs each year. Considering Enmax’s regulated rate (provided to those who use less than 250,000 KWhs each year), fluctuates between roughly 3 and 5 cents per KWh, that’s a savings of approximately $17,100 and $28,500 each year. For even your single home computer, the savings are significant, at about $1,425 and $2,375, respectively.
Also, turning your computer off at night will protect against the potentially damaging affects of a power surge, which can completely fry hard drives and CPUs. Surge protectors are an excellent way to help protect against losing all of your data. Power outages often end with a power surge, so unplug your computers if there is a blackout.
Finally, setting your computer to go into sleep mode when you step away can also reduce energy use, and is simply smart to do. It’s much harder for someone with nefarious plans to break in to a locked computer than an unlocked one.
4. Be water-conscious. It’s easy to forget that heating water uses a lot of energy. Take shorter showers, turn the water off when shaving or washing your hands, and make sure all your hot water faucets do not leak.
5. Go ENERGY STAR. The ENERGY STAR certification provided through Natural Resources Canada denotes products that have been proven to be high-efficiency. A number of residential and commercial items have been identified as having improved performance and the ability to reduce emissions. Best of all, you could even receive a rebate for larger purchases.
We at A-Star Electric are certified journeyman or apprentice electricians who believe what we do can improve other people’s lives. Your home or business’s electrical system is integral to day-to-day life and work, and we believe in making sure your panel and wiring run as efficiently and conveniently as possible. We provide residential and commercial electrician services in Calgary including electrical panel and wiring upgrades and replacements, complete electrical installations, lighting design and overhead line services. Have a look at some of our favourite jobs for an idea of what we can do, and contact us if you would like to learn more.