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Energy-Saving Tips

Over the past couple years, you may have read about electricity "vampires" - appliances, home electronics, battery chargers, and power adapters-that use electricity even when you're not using them. At one point, the US Department of Energy estimated these devices-when not in use-sucked up five to 10 percent of an average home's electricity use.

In some homes, that still may be the case, but vampires and "wall warts," as those plug-in chargers and power supplies are sometimes called, are getting more efficient.

That's great news, but you still stand to save electricity-and money-by taking some relatively simple steps, especially of you have electronics that are a few years old. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that U.S. homes each have 10 to 50 devices that draw power even when they're off or not being used. Check around your home. Here's what to look for:

  • Anything that uses a remote control. These devices draw what's called standby power to provide instant-on convenience. Some big offenders are older TVs (generally three years and older) and compact, all-in-one audio systems. Even a simple, standalone DVD player might draw six watts of electricity when it's off (compared to 11 or 12 when in use).
  • Anything with an external power supply. External power supplies are those brick-like boxes attached to a power cord that are common to computers, peripherals like inkjet printers and external hard drives, and video game consoles. Even some floor lamps and other common electrical devices use external power supplies.
  • Battery chargers, as well as rechargeable devices like MP3 players and cell phones.
  • Devices with continuous digital displays-microwaves, programmable coffeemakers, VCRs, etc.

How much you can save depends on how many of these devices you find, how old they are (the older the device, the more power hungry), and how much effort you're willing to go to. If you like detective work and want to learn what devices are costing you the most-and where to get the greatest savings-get a power meter (one popular model called "Kill-A-Watt" costs around $20). They make it easy to determine exactly how much power anyone device uses while turned on or off.

Practically speaking, though, it’s not worth making a science project out of it. Start by simply getting in the habit of unplugging battery chargers (the kind for reusable common household batteries like AAs) and chargers for rechargeable devices (like cell phones) when you're not actually using them.

For computer equipment and home electronics-where you're likely to have multiple devices clustered together-get a power strip and plug all of the nearby devices into it. Then, get in the habit of switching off the power strip after you've powered down all the devices plugged into it. Better yet, get a "smart" power strip, which automatically shuts down power when all connected devices are turned off. .

You'll probably want to leave some vampires alone- time-sensitive programmable devices like digital video recorders, for example, or cable or satellite TV receivers, which require a lengthy "reboot" process every time they're powered off and on.

Ridgeway & Ernest Electric sells:

NEW! CREE LR6 - Downlight Retrofit Module

Installs easily in most standard 6-inch recessed IC or non-IC housings. An unprecedented combination of light output, energy efficiency, beautiful color and affordability. The bulb will last 17 - 34 years. Can you believe that! It’s actually a recessed trim/bulb combined. Call us for pricing!!!

Click here for the spec sheet.

Click here for additional Cree Lighting products that we supply and install to save you money and energy costs

Save money on going green...PEPCO will provide you with regular bulbs. Follow the link below this paragraph to learn more about PEPCO’s plan. But if you need dimmable florescent bulbs for your recessed lights, check out additional information on this Going Green page below. And we now also offer combination recessed lighting-energy efficient bulb kits that are cost effective and energy efficient. Install these in your new home or when you do a renovation. Or if all you want to do is add more lights in a room, this is a cost effective solution, in more ways than one...read more about it below!



Compact Fluorescent Bulbs have been specially designed for easy retro-fit in incandescent sockets. These bulbs are known for there outstanding energy savings and have a much longer lifetime than standard incandescent bulbs. Highlights:

  • Lamp type: Compact Fluorescent (Self-ballasted)
  • Bulb type: R-30
  • Bulb base: E-26(Standard)
  • Wattage: 15 watts.
  • Incandescent wattage equivalent to 65 watts.
  • Voltage: 120 volts.
  • Initial Lumens: 700
  • Average life: 8,000 Hours.
  • Color temp: 2,700 Kelvin
  • Color Rendering Index : 82 (High color rendering)
  • Long Life compact fluorescent bulb.
  • "Energy star" qualified.
  • Soft white finish.
  • Clamshell packaging.
  • Primary application: Indoor floodlight; Facilities; Retail display; Hospitality; Office; Restaurant etc.


What makes compact fluorescent and fluorescent bulbs more energy-efficient than regular bulbs?
Fluorescent light bulbs (including compact fluorescents) are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs because of the different methods they use to produce light. Regular bulbs (also known as incandescent bulbs) create light by heating a filament inside the bulb; the heat makes the filament white-hot, producing the light that you see. A lot of the energy used to create the heat that lights an incandescent bulb is wasted-in fact about 90% of the energy they emit is in the form of heat (Also called Infrared radiation).

A fluorescent bulb, on the other hand, contains a gas that, when excited by electricity, hits a coating inside the fluorescent bulb and emits light. Because fluorescent bulbs don't use heat to create light, they are far more energy-efficient than regular incandescent bulbs. The fluorescent bulbs used in your home emit only about 30% of their energy in heat, making them far cooler as well!

What compact fluorescent light bulb do I buy to replace a 60-, 75-, 100-or 150-watt regular bulb? How are the watts calculated?
While a regular (incandescent) light bulb uses heat to produce light, a fluorescent bulb creates light using an entirely different method that is far more energy-efficient — in fact,4-6 times more efficient. This means that you can buy a 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb that produces the SAME AMOUNT OF LIGHT as a 60-watt regular incandescent bulb. Don't worry about the math, though — we make it easy for you to figure out which compact fluorescent bulb to buy by displaying the equivalent regular watts you're used to prominently on the package.

  • 60 watts incandescent = 15 watts compact fluorescent.
  • 75 watts incandescent = 20 watts compact fluorescent.
  • 100 incandescent = 26-29 watts compact fluorescent.
  • 150 incandescent = 38-42 watts compact fluorescent.
  • 250-300 incandescent = 55 watts compact fluorescent.

Do light bulbs (such as compact fluorescent bulbs)give off hazardous amounts of ultraviolet(UV)light?
Regular fluorescent light bulbs used in your home and office do not produce a hazardous amount of ultraviolet light (UV).The UV produced by fluorescent light bulbs is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight.

How do I dispose of my compact fluorescent light bulbs? Is the disposal different than for regular bulbs?
In most states, fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs used at home can be disposed of in the same way as regular light bulbs. While all fluorescent bulbs contain a trace amount of mercury, the quantity is so minute that disposal is not regulated by federal standards (established by the EPA: the Environmental Protection Agency).You would have to dispose of an incredibly large amount of fluorescent bulbs — around 360 4--foot fluorescent tubes — before you would be subject to federal disposal standards..

Click on this link to read an article in USA Today about the government phasing out the old style of light bulbs:


Go Green with Environmentally Friendly LED Lighting


There are a number of benefits to be gained from the use of LED lighting.


LED's are extremely energy efficient and consume up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs. Since LEDs use only a fraction of the energy of an incandescent light bulb there is a dramatic decrease in power costs. Also, money and energy is saved in maintenance and replacement costs due to the long LED lifespan.

Because of the low power usage of the LEDs they are becoming extremely popular for light sources in remote areas that use solar panels.

LEDs do have a higher initial cost than incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs, but the cost is quickly recouped over time in lower electricity costs.


LEDs have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours compared to the 1500 hours for incandescent bulbs. A LED lighting device can last up to 11 years under constant use. On average LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescent bulbs and 133 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs. Long lifespan of LEDs will dramatically reduce maintenance costs and lower long-term operating costs to traditional incandescent and fluorescent tubes.

LED Lifespan Scenarios

Up to 100,000 powered 4 hours a day, Equal to 68 ½ Year Lifespan
Up to 100,000 powered 8 hours a day, Equal to 34 Year Lifespan
Up to 100,000 powered 24 hours a day, Equal to 11 ½ Year Lifespan


LEDs are solid state lighting devices that utilize semiconductor material instead of a filament or neon gas. LED light is a tiny chip encapsulated in an epoxy resin enclosure, which makes LEDs far sturdier than traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent tubes. LEDs do not use fragile components such as glass and filaments which means LEDs are able to withstand shock, vibration and extreme temperature.


Improved safety may be one of the most important benefits of LED lighting. LED lights generate virtually no heat. Let me repeat no heat. This means LED lights are cool to the touch and can be left on for hours without incident or consequence if touched. LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour compared to 85 btu's for incandescent bulbs. The downside of incandescent is they expel 90% of the energy it consumes via heat. And as all of us know incandescent light bulbs get hot, real hot to the touch. LED lighting reduces the potential for safety risks of burns and fires.


LED lighting devices are made from non toxic materials, unlike fluorescent lighting that uses mercury that may pose a danger to the environment. LEDs are also recyclable and considered “Green or Earth Friendly”.


LED lights are offered in a variety of base colors such as Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Amber and White. Because traditional incandescent light bulbs use filters to produce colors, they are extremely inefficient. LEDs can be blended to produce colors and are extremely efficient. LEDs can be blended to produce millions of color options.

LED Lighting Features and Benefits Overview

Efficiency: LEDs use up to 90% less power than traditional lighting.
Longevity: LEDs have up to 100,000 hour Lifespan (11 ½ year powered 24 hrs/day)
Durability: LEDs are much more rugged than traditional lighting.
Safety: LEDs generate virtually no heat. Safe to the touch and reduce fires.
Environment: LEDs are made from non toxic & recyclable materials.

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