Lighting

Upgrading to LED Lights/Bulbs

One of the simplest retrofits that can be done easily and with minimum cost is upgrading lighting. This involves switching lights to LED which are more efficient and therefore use less energy and last longer resulting in fewer replacements.  If you do not have experience with switching lights or are not familiar with safety protocols, do not attempt this yourself. Always call a professional if you are unfamiliar with a retrofit, no matter how easy or quick it may seem. 

 

Compact Fluorescent Lights vs. Light Emitting Diode 

The electricity used in an entire lifetime of a CFL bulb can cost from 5 to 10 times the amount of the original bulb. CFL’s are standard light bulbs that are common in lamps, ceiling fans and other appliances. Retrofitting CFL lights to LEDs has significant benefits, as LED bulbs are more energy efficient, meaning they use less electricity than CFL, to produce the same amount of light output. Lighting output, or lumens, is a measure of the total amount of visible light being emitted from the source. 

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Table: The application, lumens, and lumens per wattage of a fluorescent lightbulb as compared to a LED bulb.

As shown above, the LED bulb is able to provide more lumens per watt of electricity, and can last twice as long as the Fluorescent bulbs. In addition to being more efficient and long lasting, LED lighting has proven to be more durable, cooler (meaning there is not as much heat build up while operating), mercury free, and cost effective.

 

LED Light Bulbs 

LED light bulbs are also known to concert 95% of their energy into light and only 5% goes towards producing heat.  This is beneficial as the LED light bulbs take less energy to emit similar light to a regular light bulb. LED lights are also primarily made up of materials that are least harmful to the environment, for example they do not contain mercury. 

Appliances & Smart Technology

Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detectors

When water leaks and pipes freeze, the result can often be flooding of a home causing costly cleanup and expensive repairs. Smart water leak and freeze detectors can help you stop leaks before they damage precious heirlooms, electronics and personal documents. Put smart water leak detectors under your sinks, around your hot water tanks or any other water source. These detectors can text or email you about a water problem so you are aware even if you’re not at home. Early detection can help avoid wasting gallons of water or having to repair your home.

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Smart water leak detector.

Image obtained from: Reviewed, click on image for reference

Smart/Programmable Thermostats

As the name suggests, programmable and smart thermostats can either be set up or controlled through your smartphone respectively and therefore rather than relying on your thermostat to reset itself, you can control your thermostat from anywhere at any time - even if you’ve forgotten about it. Using smart thermostats can save you up to 23% on heating and cooling bills.  Generally, your gas company might also be offering a rebate for installing smart thermostats and they can be picked up from your nearest home-retrofit store.

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Smart thermostat.

Image obtained from: Unsplash, click on image for reference

Smart Light Bulbs

Smart bulbs are light bulbs that talk to your Wifi network and you control them with an app. Much like a smart thermostat, you can program smart bulbs to turn on and off to save energy. Some smart bulb brands detect when you’re headed home and turn the lights on automatically. If you accidentally leave your lights on, you can turn them off remotely. You can also adjust the brightness of a smart bulb, saving you electricity by dimming them when a bright light isn’t required. Smart light bulbs are essentially both an added convenience and efficiency feature since you can control them from anywhere, at any time. The bulbs are easily available at most electroical, hardware and home stores and if you have experience with bulb installation, you can easily install these yourself.

Smart Plugs

These smart devices plug into your electrical outlets and are used to manage the energy consumption of whatever you plug into them. Their apps let you program times of use, remotely turn power on and off and even view your total energy consumption. If your teenager’s television or computer is consuming too much energy at night, program it to turn off at a specific hour, or just power it off from the comfort of your bed.

Smart Sprinkler Systems

Saving on your water bill is another smart device advantage. Smart sprinkler systems use automatic irrigation systems that know the weather forecast. These sprinklers automatically set your lawn watering time to match future rain potential. That means no more watering the lawn during a downpour because you forgot to turn off the sprinklers. Smart sprinklers also run water usage reports so you’ll know when you’re using too much.

Low-Flow Faucets Aerators

A low-flow faucet aerator is  a method to reduce the amount of water flowing from the kitchen/bathroom sink. The aerator essentially breaks up the flow of water into tiny streams, which are mixed with air.  However, this does not compromise the water pressure, rather an individual can leave the tap on for longer without increasing the water bill.  There are also benefits in saving electricity, as the use of warm water will be decreased. Faucets that contain the aerator typically release six litres of water per minute, while a regular tap typically releases fifteen litres of water per minute.  Aerators are inexpensive and easy to install. As mentioned before, using the aerator is great for places where there is high water usage, such as the bathroom sink and kitchen sink. 

 

1. How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/how-energy-efficient-light#:~:text=Compared to traditional incandescents, energy,last 3-25 times longer.

2. Lighting Retrofits [Internet]. Sustainability. 2016. Available from: https://sustainability.niagaracollege.ca/project/lighting-retrofits/

3. Matulka, R., & Wood, D. (n.d.). The history of the light bulb. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-light-bulb

4. Learn about led lighting. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs

5. 8 Ways Your Smart Home Can Save Energy [Internet]. Enercare. 2019 [cited 2021Jan20]. Available from: https://www.enercare.ca/blog/smarter-home/8-ways-your-smart-home-can-save-energy

6.Faucet aerators are great for water and energy savings, but when should you use them? (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/faucet-aerators-are-great-water-and-energy-savings-when-should-you-use-them