Tag Archives: LED Lights

Make Your Own Solar-Collector Night Lights

From greenlivingideas.com:

Whether you have a kid, or you’re tired of encountering your darkened hallway walls at midnight, or you simply like the ambience of soft lighting and you don’t want to leave a beacon burning all through the night… an energy-saving night light is a must have.

It’s true that you can get a perky nocturnal hamster and make a hamster-powered night light, but a somewhat simpler project with equally impressive results is a self-crafted Sun Jar…

Invented by Tobias Wong, the Sun Jar is essentially a Mason jar containing a solar cell, a rechargeable battery, and an energy-saving LED lamp.  Placed in a sunlit area by day, the solar cell inside the Sun Jar charges the battery with solar energy and uses that energy at night to power the LED lamp.

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LED Lamps Go Where Compact Fluorescents Cannot

From The New York Times, Wednesday, September 8, 2010:

Mention “new lighting technology” and what leaps to mind is probably a compact fluorescent curlicue. Shaped like a soft ice cream cone, it is viewed as a replacement for the ubiquitous 60-watt incandescent light bulb, which looks almost like it did 90 years ago.

But a profusion of light-emitting-diode lamps is about to hit the market, many of them in applications that are awkward or impossible for compact fluorescents.

LED’s are still mostly specialty items sold on the Web. But by the end of this month, the 2,200 Home Depot stores around the United States will stock seven types, including two substitutes for the classic incandescent bulb, one of which my colleague Leslie Kaufman reported on recently.

But those are “not the most compelling use” of LED technology, according to Zachary S. Gibler, chief executive of the Lighting Science Group Corporation, which makes the lamps that Home Depot will stock. Replacing a standard 60-watt bulb, an LED will produce roughly the same amount of light per watt of electricity as a compact fluorescent; its only advantages, he said, is that it is fully dimmable and lasts a lot longer.

Another product his company is marketing is something most consumers can identify, but not name: a round lamp with a face about the size of a silver dollar, with a base consisting of two metal pins, often used for accent lighting in kitchens or retail stores. Called an MR16, it is almost always halogen, which is only slightly more efficient than a standard incandescent. It is much too small to allow for a fluorescent version.

But Lighting Science is selling an LED version. Installed over my kitchen sink, it casts a much whiter light than the yellowish halogen it replaced. It can take a bit of getting used to, but vegetables in the sink seem truer in its light. A 6-watt version can replace a 35-watt halogen, which is a consideration if it’s the light you leave on all night.

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What do consumers really think about efficient lighting?

From The Daily Green:
The second annual Sylvania Socket Survey was just released, illuminating consumer attitudes and behaviors when it comes to energy-efficient, green lighting. According to the report, a whopping 74% of respondents are now using compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), although the same fraction are not aware of the impending congressional ban on incandescent bulbs that begins in 2012. Perhaps not surprisingly, there still isn’t that much knowledge about next-generation LEDs.
Click here to read the full story.

In your home, let the sun shine in


By CCHRC Staff

The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of home life.

Q: Why is it beneficial to have south-facing windows on a home?

Because of the orientation with the sun, south-facing windows bring in both light and heat, which are important for homes in our climate. If you have a lot of north-facing windows, you’re going to lose a lot of heat with not a lot of heat gain.

The amount of heat your home gains from the sun should not be underestimated and sunlight also is good for your mood.

At the same time, some homes can become overheated in months like March, when there is no vegetation to provide shade, and the sun comes directly through your windows. Also, in the summer, the hot sun can overheat your home if your roof does not have enough overhang to shade your windows. Again, trees and other vegetation will help here as well.

Before you build your home, get a sense of where the sunlight falls in both winter and summer. If you are a morning person and you need that morning light to help wake you up, you’ll want to place your windows appropriately. If you like to entertain in the evening summer sun, then put windows in the appropriate place for that. It’s not just about getting light to see and heat your home, think about how light will affect your life in your home.

Q: I want to put a chimney in for a stove, but there are a bunch of things in the way, including a beam. How can I get around that?

It’s always frustrating when you’ve got the perfect place for a stove, but something is in the way. Ideally a chimney should be a straight shot for easy cleaning and proper drafting, but sometimes it just isn’t possible and you’ve got to put an elbow in the pipe. The best place to put an elbow is at the bottom because it allows you to scrub the chimney top to bottom when you clean it and you can still get inside the stove and vacuum out that elbow piece.

Sometimes you can run a stovepipe directly out the side of the house and up the exterior wall. How well this works is case dependent. If there is too much pipe in an uninsulated space, then the pipe can get cold and as a result, some of the smoke will get cold which can cause creosote build up and create a chimney fire hazard. Also, a fire started with a stovepipe that is cold may not draft properly so it may smoke and smolder and even introduce pollutants into your house if it’s not an airtight stove.

Q: What are the advantages of LED lights over those spiral compact fluorescents?

LEDs use less power, have a longer life and are more durable than compact fluorescents. Initially there have been some costs that have kept them from reaching the broad market, but every year brings new innovations in LED technology, bringing the cost down and improving the quality of light they produce. Compact fluorescents contain mercury, so disposing of them is a problem, while LEDs are fairly non-toxic. LEDs also work better than the average bulb in cold temperatures, which is important in our climate.

Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). If you have a question, e-mail us at akhomewise@cchrc.org. You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454

Incandescent bulbs to be outlawed

On December 19, President Bush signed H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, into law (Public Law 110-140). Among the provisions in the law is one that will outlaw incandescent lightbulbs by 2012.

Click here to read a white paper on the law’s lighting provisions, produced by the Lighting Controls Association.

Energy Savings Pays

BY: John Davies, Cold Climate Housing Research Center
Energy Focus: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner August 21st, 2008, Section A3

Is your head swimming with all the talk about energy costs, weatherization, and energy rebates? Are you looking for a good, comprehensive source of information that explains the basics of energy use in your home and what steps you can take to save energy? If so, I recommend the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings published by New Society Publishers for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Continue reading

A Sustainable University Campus

About a new New York State campus that is using sustainable building practices. From the New York Times July 27, 2008:

“Stony Brook Southampton will certainly be among a limited number of campuses with this level of commitment to sustainability,” says Judy Walton, acting executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. “Sustainability is really a change in the mind-set of how we operate. It’s like seeing the world through a new lens.”

But most significant is how Southampton, a part of Stony Brook University, is writing into its courses the concept of sustainability. Students study it when they study literature, economics, architecture or statistics.

Click here to read the whole article.

Save a little energy by choosing the right lights

From the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer August 11, 2008.

Here’s an amazing fact: About 10 percent of the energy used by a regular incandescent light bulb goes to produce light. The rest is wasted as heat. Though heat is always nice in our cold winters, it is very inefficient heat at a very high cost.

Energy-efficient lights produce more light than heat with the electricity they use. As a result, they can provide the same amount of light as a standard bulb while using less energy. Since lighting can make up as much as 20 percent of the house energy bill, conservation here can amount to considerable savings.

Click here to read the full article.

Lighten Your Electric Bill: Install New Lights

BY: John Davies, CCHRC Research Director
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 03/13/08 Section A3

There are many different types of energy efficient lighting available. For indoor use, typical choices involve replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or old fluorescent tubes (T12) with newer ones (T8 or T5). LED lighting is available for some uses such as holiday and closet lighting, exit signs, work lights, etc., but for general illumination they are still somewhat expensive and limited in availability.

Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs is as easy as unscrewing the old bulb and replacing it with a CFL of comparable light output, usually measured in lumens. The energy savings can be 50-80% and most bulb types are readily available. This is a classic no-brainer, although there are some limitations—they don’t work very well at low temperatures, if at all, and switching the light off and on many times per day can significantly shorten the bulb life. They are perfect for locations where they are likely to be on for several hours per day such as kitchens, living rooms, play or work areas, and bedrooms.

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