HG: SustainAbility Column March 14, 2009
One Source Lighting is a bright spot in the local sustainable building community. Lighting is an important factor in energy efficiency when building a new home or retrofitting an old one.
According to the Energy Star Web site, lighting accounts, for about 20 percent of the electric bill in an average home in the United States. Switching to energy- efficient lighting saves energy and money.
One Source is committed to energy-efficient lighting. Certified lighting specialist Bonnie Mackey said energy efficiency is a “huge part of our future.”
Demand is increasing each year for efficient lighting. Mackey estimated about 5 percent of builders sought efficient lighting when the store opened four years ago. Now about 25 percent of builders are interested in Energy Star qualified products.
Mackey has worked with Zeck Homes and Housing Resources of Western Colorado on Energy Star homes.
Mackey spent hours taking classes and passing tests to earn certification from the American Lighting Association. After studying about bulbs, fixtures and electricity, Mackey came away with an array of lighting solutions for many different applications. Prior to working in lighting, she worked in the electrical distribution field.
You may have seen Mackey or a co-worker in vibrant “Think Green” T-shirts at the Home Improvement and Remodeling Expo last weekend.
The latest in energy-efficient lighting is compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs, which use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.
One Source carries the cream of the CFL crop. Satco Products won the 2009 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award and the 13W CFL won “The Best of the Test” by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
Satco also expanded its line of GU24 lamp and fixture product lines. GU24 is a recently qualified Energy Star system of fixtures and lamp bases using twist and lock pins dedicated to CFL usage. Pin-based CFLs are packaged with the fixtures. You cannot put incandescent bulbs in a GU 24 fixture assuring lower energy consumption through the fixture.
There is even a low-cost GU24 adapter used to convert regular sockets to dedicated fluorescent fixtures. This comes in handy when landlords pay for electricity and want to have some control over energy consumption.
When you need to replace a CFL, remember it contains a small amount of mercury and can be recycled at the Mesa County Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, Home Depot or Ace Hardware stores.
Mackey said the future in lighting is moving toward LED, which stands for light-emitting diode.
This type of lighting uses a microchip and solid-state lighting technology.
Currently cost prohibitive for homes, within two years Mackey sees a “huge surge” in LED use in the United States. LED lighting is already being used in stoplights in our area and has been widely used in Europe for years.
The Energy Star Web site calls LED an “emerging technology that holds great promise to revolutionize lighting over the next decade.”
LED lighting is so efficient it generates very little heat and lasts for many years. This reduces labor costs for replacing bulbs. LED lamps are encased in heavy metal. Mackey said at first
LED will mainly replace halogen lamps which get hot, are expensive and don’t last very long.
One Source Lighting’s commitment to energy efficiency includes its showroom where about one-fourth of the fixtures are Energy Star qualified and 80 percent of the displays are lit with CFLs.
To learn more about Energy Star lighting, go to http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=lighting.pr_lighting. For a lesson on the ins and outs of energy-efficient lighting call Mackey or an associate at One Source Lighting at 243-2400 or stop in at 552 25 Road, No. C.