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Knowledge is Power: Using the Efergy E2 to Track Energy Usage

Efergy E2
Efergy E2

At the end of each month, do you find yourself wondering why the energy bills are as high as they are? Professional energy consultants find that in most homes, residents are using much more energy than they realize. Not actually measuring energy usage can lead to spending 20 percent more on energy than necessary. Knowing how much energy your home uses is a great first step to reducing that amount. The Efergy E2 is a wireless energy monitor that allows you to track energy consumption in your home as it happens.

The Efergy E2 has a clear graphical display which shows electricity usage and what it is costing. In addition, it displays the amount of carbon dioxide that is released as a result of the energy being used. The E2 does all of this in real-time, meaning you can track this usage as it happens. It runs on 3 AAA batteries so there is no need to worry about tripping over wires or plugging it in.

Unlike other energy monitors the Efergy E2 allows you to not only view daily, weekly, and monthly data, but the information it collects can be loaded onto your PC in the form of a report via USB. This wireless energy monitor stores up to 8 months of history, in case you wanted to compare data. Knowing and understanding how energy is consumed around your home can help reduce that usage 5-20 percent, which of course decreases your home’s carbon footprint as well as energy costs.

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Save Instant Energy on the Cheap with T5 Retrofit Kits

T5 RetrofitCurrently, the National Lighting Bureau (NLB) states there are approximately 500 million T12 fluorescent tube lamps installed in US buildings, and in use every day. This type of bulb is used mostly in commercial and industrial settings such as office buildings, schools, and warehouses. The regulations set by the US Department of Energy call for these lights to be eliminated starting in July of 2012, encouraging the replacement of the T12 with the newer, more energy efficient T5. Instead of throwing out T12 lamps, install a T5 retrofit to existing T12 bulbs, reducing energy consumption and energy costs.

The common T12 fluorescent tube lamps waste 50% of input energy, and also add to environmental heat, as these bulbs emit heat along with light. The retrofitting of 500 million T12 tube lamps with the T5 retrofit kit will save as much as 80% of air conditioned and lighting energy. It not only lowers energy use as much as 80%, but carbon footprint as well, lowering this figure by 60%.

Some hesitation in replacing these lamps comes from the labor involved with installing a completely new lamp. A T5 retrofit kit installs with just one snap to the T12, converting it into an energy saving lamp. There is no need to rewire or change the ballast. Another (and possibly greater) source of hesitation in terms of replacing T12 lamps is the cost of acquiring new lamps and having them installed. The cost of a T5 retrofit is approximately 32 dollars, and the retrofitting of 500 million lamps will save the US over $10 billion in electricity costs.

The T5 retrofit kit is a safe alternative to installing a new light. It has been tested and has received the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) stamp of approval. This approval shows that it complies with safety standards set throughout the country, as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is a trusted certification organization, granting this approval only to products that exhibit high-quality, safety, and professional building.

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Dryer Vent Problems and How You Can Solve Them

LintAlert Dryer Indoor Alarm

In the United States, of the 95% of single family residences with a clothes washer, 92% of them also have a clothes dryer. As a result, dryer vent problems are a cause of concern for many homeowners. Unless cleaned regularly, the clothes dryer lint trap can become clogged with lint. Installing an indoor alarm, such as the LintAlert Dryer Safety Alarm, allows you to curb dryer vent problems by alerting you when it needs cleaning. Regular clothes dryer duct cleaning allows the dryer to work more efficiently and be much safer to use.

Certain dryer problems can be avoided by cleaning the vent when necessary, but how can you be sure when is necessary? The LintAlert indoor alarm for the dryer has a built-in digital pressure sensor to detect whether or not the dryer is on as well as existing levels of pressure. When the dryer lint trap is unobstructed, a steady blue light will be displayed. The LED lights light up in a slow progression based on the amount of pressure in the clothes dryer lint trap. When that last light is activated, the LED light bar will begin flashing as well as the LintAlert logo, and the alarm will sound with a buzzer beeping.

Clothes Dryer Lint Trap
Clothes Dryer Lint Trap

If clothes dryer duct cleaning is not executed regularly, the dryer can overheat, causing it to take longer than normal to dry clothes. When the dryer takes a longer time to operate, energy is wasted, also resulting in money wasted. A full dryer lint trap also increases the likelihood of experiencing a dryer-related fire. From 2002-2004 the United States Fire Administration reported that clothes dryer machines were part of approximately 15,600 U.S. building fires, 400 injuries, 15 deaths, and property damages totaling $99 million. Install the indoor alarm to protect your home and family while saving energy and money at the same time.

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Take Baby Steps with Energy & Water Conserservation Kits

The world we live in today is much different than the world our grandparents, and to some extent even our parents, lived in. According to the HCF (Hinkle Charitable Foundation), in 2007 51% of electricity produced in the United States came from coal, which creates large quantities of CO2 and other harmful pollutants. In addition to the energy crisis we face, lack of water conservation poses another danger to the earth. While the earth is 75% water, 97% of that is undrinkable and unusable and 2% is trapped in ice, leaving us with approximately 1% of the earth’s water for our use. How do we begin to fix this energy crisis and make the best of the water we have? Energy conservation kits and water conservation kits are a great place to start.

Energy Conservation Kits
Energy Conservation Kits

Energy conservation kits are filled with inexpensive products, such as CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights, foam gaskets, and an energy monitor to get you on the right track to reducing your utility bills and energy usage. For example, by switching 20 incandescent bulbs with energy efficient CFLs) you can help do away with over 12 tons of CO2. In addition, placing foam gaskets from the energy conservation kits in front of electrical outlets and wall switches you can stop unwanted air from coming and leaving the home, decreasing the heating and cooling bills. Using an energy monitor to keep track of the amount of energy you use is also a great way to decrease usage.

Water Conservation Kit
Water Conservation Kit

Are you aware that 95% of all water than enters the home ends ups down a drain? According to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN), about two thirds of the earth could be faced with water shortages within 20 years. By using faucet aerators, toilet water savers, and the showerhead found in water conservation kits you can make the best use of the water we have. For example, a 1.75gpm showerhead uses only 9 gallons per 5-minute shower as opposed to an 8gpm showerhead which uses almost 40 gallons of water for the same amount of time. The technology of aerators and low-flow showerhead is such that more water seems to be used than really is. While facing these water and energy challenges of our time can be frustrating, we can take small steps and start conserving our precious resources with water and energy conservation kits.

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Lamp Timers: Lighting Your Home Your Way

Lamp Timer
Lamp Timer

When you go on a vacation, leaving a light on in the home can be a good way to keep unwanted visitors out. Making sure a light is left on before leaving your house oftentimes gives a sense of comfort when returning. Having lamp timers can provide you with this comfort as well as help you save energy. Instead of keeping a light on when you are leaving the house, you can set the timer to turn a light on or off at a specific time of the day. Among the most efficient of these tools is the Intermatic Plug-In Lamp Timer.

These plug in Intermatic timers fit right in to 2-prong outlets, which are common in most areas of the home, and they provide up to 24 on/off options per day. It can be used for turning lights as well as appliances on and off. Upon pulling out a tripper, the targeted appliance or lamp will be turned on for a 30-minute time frame, shutting off when the tripper is pushed in. This device has an amperage capacity of 15amps, wattage capacity of 1,750 watts, and power specifications of 125 Volts AC and 60 Hz. This lamp timer is easy to use and will help you light up your home the way you want.

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What Is CFL Color Temperature or CRI?

Every year we see an increase in the interest people have in energy efficient products. Among such products is the CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp), which is produced to replace, and uses less energy than, the standard incandescent light bulb. Some might worry that as a result of the CFL not consuming as much energy as the incandescent bulb, the options in brightness as well as color would be fewer. Once an understanding of the CFL color spectrum is gained, you will realize this is far from the truth.

CFL Color Spectrum
Orange CFL

Unlike an incandescent bulb, the quality of light emitted from CFLs depends on how they are built, with the majority of CFLs having the color temperature marked on it in measurements of kelvins. For example, a 5000k fluorescent bulbs would give off a cool white daylight color as opposed to one with a temperature of 2700K, which would emit a warm glow. This means the higher the measure in kelvins, the bluer in shade the light coming from the CFL. Different manufacturers have varying names for bulbs of the same temperature, so it is important to base the color you chose on the temperature as opposed to a title of “cool” or “daylight.”

In addition to the temperature in Kelvins, some companies also include a 3-digit code specifying the color rendering index (CFL CRI). The first number stands for the CRI calculated in percents of ten, with the following two digits are taken from the temperature in kelvins. For instance, if a CFL has a CRI of 83 and color temperature measuring 2700K, the 3-digit code would be 827. Bulbs with a color rendering index of about 80 are of good quality for the average consumer, appearing “white” in color. Fluorescent Colored Bulbs come in all kinds of colors: from red, orange and yellow to pink, blue and green. Choosing the right lamp for your fixture should be no problem now that you know where to start, as well as where to finish.

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Use Timers in the Office to Save Energy


Remember those mechanical lamp timers your parents used to make it look like you were home during the family vacation? Well they’re still around, and their digital cousins add some nice features that can be easily applied for some office applications. Do you really need your water cooled or heated in the water cooler 7 X 24? With a plug-in appliance timer, you can turn it off every night after everyone has left and turn it on an hour before people come in to make sure the water is chilled again. Have a coffee maker in the break room that’s accidentally left on all night – happens all the time. Hook it up to a timer so that it will automatically shut down in the evenings. If you have TVs or lamps in the lobby for customers, you can make sure you don’t forget to turn them off at night or before the weekend.

There are two types of plug-in timers: mechanical timers and digital timers. With mechanical timers, you set pins to control on and off periods and typically have 1 or 2 on/off cycles per day. Digital plug-in timers typically allow for more frequent on/off cycles, have battery backup, and can even allow for different settings for different days of the week. There are also 240 volt plug-in timers for larger window air conditioners or heaters. So you could set the air conditioner / heater to turn off when the office closes and turn on before you get to the office so that it’s a comfortable temperature when you arrive.

Use your imagination to think of devices in your office that are on every day but don’t need to be on at night, and you can probably use a timer for them to save energy!

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Reduce Office Lighting Costs with Motion Sensors

Motion Sensing Switch

An easy way to make your office more energy efficient is to turn off the lights when you’re not using them. At home people are used to turning our lights off when we leave the room. But often times in public places, like the office, they don’t bother to turn it off… how do you know if you’ll be the last person to use the restroom or visit the breakroom for the day? A good solution for public areas in offices that have long periods of no use is to buy a motion sensing switch. These switches are a great fit for rooms that have high traffic in the day but are never used at night such as break areas, personal offices, or restrooms. They can also protect against forgetfulness for rooms that are rarely visited like storage rooms or closets, where leaving the light on could go unnoticed for days. For these types of rooms, motion sensing wall switches are ideal for saving on lighting costs.

The most popular types of these switches use passive infrared (PIR) sensors that detect motion and turn lights on when motion is detected and turn them off after a certain amount time with no motion is experienced. Most have adjustable motion sensitivity for switching on and an adjustable timer for determining how long to wait before turning it off. Also make sure you select one with a range that meets your room size and timer range that makes sense for your foot traffic patterns.

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Saving Energy….It Start at Home

That was title of the cover story for National Geographic’s March 2009 edition. The gist of the article is that the fastest and least expensive way to slow climate change is by reducing energy usage i.e. be more energy efficient. We couldn’t agree more.
Building are the largest emitters of Carbon Dioxide in the United States. Through electricity use, residences, office buildings, malls, warehouses, etc. account for 38 percent of our emissions. By making energy efficiency changes, we can significantly cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s what we’re all about at Conservation Mart. We strive to provide practical products to our customers to help them reduce their energy usage and help the environment at the same time.

I highly recommend reading the Saving Energy article. It is informational and packed with tips to help you conserve energy.

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Energy Efficient MR16 lamps

MR16 lamps are commonly found in track, rail and pendant fixtures in retail, exhibit and display areas where directional light is desirable. A MR16 lamp has a halogen filament. One of the disadvantages of being halogen based is the danger of the filament glass breaking. Another is the high temperatures that the lamps reach, and therefore they generate a lot of heat. The third disadvantage is that MR16 lamps are not as energy efficient as fluorescent lamps.

So what are your options if you are looking for an energy efficient bulb to go with your MR16 fixture? You can now get MR16 compact lamps with energy efficient LED bulbs. The Philips Color Kinetics eW MR16 is one such example of an LED MR16 lamp. It only consumes 5W of energy and lasts much longer than a halogen MR16 lamp.

So if it’s time to replace an existing MR16 lamp or you are looking for a new MR16 fixture, do the environment a favor and check out an energy efficient LED based MR16 lamp.