Efficient Lighting Becomes a Business Priority

With growing concerns about energy use, building professionals say efficient lighting has become business priority and that increasingly they are turning to LEDs as a solution, a new survey found.

The inaugural lighting survey conducted for Osram Sylvania showed that 81 percent of the 350 building and lighting professionals queried said they are more focused on energy efficiency. Seventy-three percent said they are already using or plan to use LED lighting in their commercial facilities

In good news for the lighting industry and LED manufacturers, 76 percent said they consider it more important to have lighting that saves money over time, even f it costs to purchase and install, according to the survey results.

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Energy Efficiency Sleuths Uncover $350M in Savings

Consider these numbers: $350 million in net operating savings over the project lifetimes, 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

These are the astonishing savings unearthed by 51 EDF Climate Corps fellows working at Fortune 1000 companies this summer.

As impressive as these numbers are, the stories from individual fellows are even more compelling. They illustrate time and again how a smart and resourceful person — armed with analytical skills, specialized training, and a single-minded focus — can rake in huge reductions in costs and emissions. Here are just three stories from this year’s champions of energy efficiency:

• Nick Fassler evaluated hospital energy efficiency projects for HCA Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. Fassler found ways to reduce energy use from lighting by up to 30 percent, which, if rolled out across HCA’s hospitals, could save the company $7.8 million in annual electricity costs and cut 52,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.

• Ryan Mallett spent his summer dialing up energy savings at Verizon. During one of the hottest summers on record, Mallett evaluated the installation of a thermal ice storage system at Verizon’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. The investments Mallet recommended could save the company a total of $9.16 million over the project lifetimes, while avoiding more than 8,700 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

• At eBay’s San Jose headquarters this summer, Megan Rast evaluated opportunities to save energy by installing power management software, lighting retrofits, and replacing older computers. The projects she recommended could save more than $1.5 million over their lifetimes, and avoid more than 4,800 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.


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Consumer Reports is offering five tips on how to transform the U.S. from an energy hog to a global energy efficiency leader.

The advice along with seven ideas on how to decrease household energy consumption grew out of a nationwide survey the magazine conducted after recent data showed that U.S. per capita consumption of energy has hit the lowest level in 41 years in 2009, yet Americans still use more energy than people in most other countries.

Why? Because it “turns out that it’s harder than it should be” to be energy efficient,” the magazine said in reporting on the outcome of its survey of 1,536 U.S. homeowners and crafting the tips from the responses.

Here are Consumer Reports’ five recommendations for making the country a leader in energy efficiency and conservation:

  1. Strengthen Energy Star standards. The Environmental Protection Agency should focus on toughening Energy Star qualifications.
  2. Bring product testing into the 21st century. Saying it found that some appliances perform differently under Department of Energy test conditions than they would in a home, Consumer Reports urged that testing be continually updated and strengthened to keep pace with product changes.
  3. Take the hassle out of incentives. The survey found 91 percent homeowners made a purchase or improvement that qualified for a government rebate or tax credit, but only a quarter said took advantage of an incentive program. Reasons included belief that their purchase didn’t qualify, confusion over rules and a perception that the amount of the incentive wasn’t worth the trouble.
  4. Adopt what works abroad — such as the European Union’s standards for standby power consumption (the amount of energy an appliance consumes when it is not being used) and Australia’s field testing of appliances.
  5. Turn up the heat on the industry. This would include stiffer fines against manufacturers that don’t abide by rules for energy efficiency. More media scrutiny of violators.

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