Let There Be Light - and Water; Take Control of Significant Energy Eaters

Article excerpt

LIGHT and water are the two of our essentials for living - so it's not surprising that they are also the most significant energy-eaters in our households.

Most of us have the will to change to more energy-efficient systems. But we'd still like to enjoy our showers (and feel like we're getting wet) and we're a bit attached to the warmth quality of old-style incandescent lighting.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though - and it probably comes from a compact fluoro lamp (CFL) - as alternatives continue to improve.

Light show

THE move towards compact fluorescent lights is all about energy consumption. Compared to incandescent lamps, fluoros use a lot less energy to produce the same amount of light and they last a lot longer. The theory is that though they cost more to buy, they'll save us money in the long run.

Choosing lighting is about three things - wattage, lumens and the colour temperature of the light.

What's watt?

The wattage of a lamp indicates the rate at which it consumes electricity. A 12V lamp does not necessarily use less power than a 240V lamp - it all depends on the watts.

Love your lumens

Lumens are a measure of the amount of light produced by a lamp. You can directly compare the brightness of different types of lamps by comparing their output in lumens. The lamp that produces the greatest number of lumens per one watt of energy is the most efficient.

Colour choice

Colour temperature refers to the colour of the light emitted by a lamp. In the case of modern CFLs the choice is between:

Warm white - a soft, warmer light similar to traditional incandescent light bulbs.

Cool white - a neutral light similar to office lighting. …