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Up to 95% of the electricity you pay for is being wasted!

by , 27 June 2013

With the price of electricity going through the roof, and cold winter conditions seeing your electricity bills heading higher, I decided to share with you some insights from one of my international colleagues, Dave Fessler from Investment U, on how to reduce your lighting costs…Make more with less By Dave Fessler

South Africa and the rest of the world desperately need to cut down on wasted energy. It's a bigger problem than most people think. Reducing wasted energy is one of the easiest ways to mitigate our insatiable demand for it.

Fully 57% of the energy we start with is wasted. For the electrical power industry, it's even worse: 69% of the energy used in coal, natural gas and nuclear power generation never does useful work as electricity.
What happens to it? It goes up the stack as heat loss at generating plants. It's lost in wires on the way to your house. The inefficiency of the appliances in your home eats up some of the power you pay for.
One of the easiest ways to address the problem is to make those power hogs more efficient. One of biggest power users in the home is lighting.
Thanks to new technology... it's one of the simplest things to fix so you can save energy and reduce your electricity bill.
Getting Rid of "Heat" Bulbs
Up until a few years ago, the lighting market almost entirely consisted of incandescent screw-in bulbs.
Why get rid of them?
The simple reason is they're energy hogs. Only 5% to 10% of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs becomes visible light. The rest is heat. Touch a lit-up incandescent and you'll burn your fingers.
You need only look at any late-night city skyline to see how much lighting our country uses. Since lighting consumes around 22% of a city’s energy, you can imagine how much is wasted.
Manufacturers responded to the problem with CFLs. While more expensive than incandescents, they use less energy and last longer... but they contain toxic mercury, are slow to reach full brightness and will slowly get dimmer over their 10,000 hour lifespan.
Fortunately there is an alternative…


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LEDs to the Rescue
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have been around since the early days of the transistor. They are "semiconductors," a term used to describe electronic devices composed of transistors and/or diodes.
First designed in 1962, early LEDs emitted a low-intensity red light. Advances in LED technology have modern versions covering the entire visible light spectrum as well as ultraviolet. TV remote controls, for example, use infrared versions.
Like other areas of semiconductors, LED efficiency and brightness have grown dramatically since the early days. The development of cheap, high-intensity LEDs positioned them as potential replacements for incandescent light bulbs.
How efficient are LED bulbs? An LED bulb that is equivalent to a traditional 60-Watt bulb only consumes 9.5 Watts of actual power. Put another way, LEDs are more than six times as efficient as incandescent bulbs and twice as efficient as their mercury-containing CFL replacements.
The best part? The average expected life of an LED bulb is upward of 50,000 hours. Unlike CFLs, LED bulbs contain no elemental mercury, or any other toxic materials for that matter. They also emit almost no heat, and most are dimmable.
Also, unlike CFLs that can take some time to warm up, LED bulbs produce all their light the instant you turn them on. And they work well at low ambient temperatures, a common problem with CFLs.
Until recently, LED bulbs were just too expensive. When they were introduced a few years ago, a 40-Watt equivalent LED bulb was R300. A 60-Watt replacement bulb was closer to R500.
But fast-forward two years and now the 40-Watt equivalent bulbs are around R100, and the 60-Watt versions are around R120. They're available at most lighting stores and will soon be found just about everywhere. CFLs are about to be relegated to the "It seemed like a good idea at the time" pile.
If the price of LEDs still seems too high to you, do some simple math. Compared to an incandescent, LED bulbs could pay for themselves in a little over a year of use.
So next time your teenagers or spouse leaves the lights on, simply replace their light bulbs with LEDs. It doesn't solve the problem, but at least you'll dramatically reduce your electric bill and it’ll help you get a little richer every day.

Up to 95% of the electricity you pay for is being wasted!
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