COOPERSBURG, Pa.--()--After 21 years of urging Americans to be aware of energy waste, the U.S. Government has upped the ante. Declaring October to be Energy Action Month, the Department of Energy has issued a call to all US citizens to act now to support the US economy by cutting energy costs.
“A secure energy future is vital to an economy built to last”
“A secure energy future is vital to an economy built to last,” said President Barack Obama in a proclamation issued earlier this month, urging Americans to limit their use of energy. Most Americans don’t realize how easy it is to cut back on electricity, according to experts at Lutron Electronics, a leading manufacturer of lighting control systems and products. The company, which created the first solid-state, household dimmer more than 50 years ago, produces a range of devices that can save an estimated one billion dollars a year in electricity costs in the US alone.
“Instead of being unhappy over electric bills, consumers can take control and simply limit the amount of energy they use,” says Dr. Brent Protzman, an energy researcher at Lutron.
Dr. Protzman recommends the following money-saving tips:
In the home
- Install dimmers on every household light. Apart from saving energy, dimmers allow residents to adjust the light to their current needs. Reading, for example, requires more light than watching television or dining. Dimming incandescent and halogen bulbs by 25 percent, for example, can save around 20 percent in energy, according to Dr. Protzman, who holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. “The bulbs will last longer, too,” he adds. Dimmers are inexpensive—starting at $15—and easy to install.
- Install occupancy/vacancy sensors in rooms where light is needed occasionally. Sensors literally sense when people enter or leave a room, and turn the lights on and off automatically. “Sensors can save up to 10 percent in lighting costs,” says Protzman, who recommends them for hallways, children’s rooms, the garage or laundry room. Sensors, including wireless ones, are easy to install, have a 10-year battery life and are priced from $20.
- Switch to automated shades to lower the cost of heating and air conditioning. In the summer, lower the shades to block the heat that accompanies direct sunlight. In the winter, raise the shades to take advantage of the heating rays of the sun. “Automated shades start at $299, but are definitely a worthwhile investment for rooms that get a lot of sun,” said Protzman.
In the workplace
- Use dimmers on every light source, including fluorescents. In the workplace, just as at home, dimmers make the space more versatile, saving energy while increasing productivity. Wireless dimmers can be added to any space with minimal disruption, since there is no need to engage in costly rewiring efforts.
- Install motion sensors in rooms that are not always occupied. Restrooms, stairwells, storerooms and copy centers are all examples of areas that are often empty, yet where lights are frequently left on, wasting energy.
- Take advantage of sunlight. A daylight sensor will measure the amount of available daylight coming into the space and adjust the lights accordingly, according to Dr. Protzman. “Bright sunlight is a great alternative to overhead lights,” he points out.
- Use plug-in appliance modules to control small appliances and other non-lighting loads. Many electronic devices—such as audio visual equipment, computers and TVs—consume electricity even when they are turned off. The plug-in module turns off power whenever the appliance is not being used.
“Lowering electric bills is good for everyone,” concludes Protzman, who salutes the Department of Energy for putting its power into the hands of consumers. “Saving energy isn’t hard when you have the right products,” he adds.
To find out how much energy can be saved through any of the simple devices described above, visit www.Lutron.com and click on “Energy calculator.”
About Lutron Electronics (www.lutron.com)
Founded in 1961, Lutron Electronics is headquartered in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Lehigh Valley. The company designs, manufactures and tests more than 16,000 energy-saving products, which are sold in more than 100 countries around the world. In the US alone, Lutron products save an estimated 10 billion kWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion in utility costs per year. The company’s early inventions—including the company’s first dimmer design—are now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
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