Thursday, April 3, 2008

Give Green Lighting A Go

The next time that light bulb goes on over your head, make sure it isn't an incandescent bulb, turn it off when you are done and recycle it properly.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - And you thought green lighting was simply a matter of swapping out old incandescent bulbs for fluorescent lighting.

Boy do you have a lot to learn.

When it comes to saving the planet there's a lot more to brightening your home with cooler, less energy demanding light bulbs.

Just check in at

The upstart media outlet is dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream with news, tips, solutions and product information designed to help put a chill on global warming.

The green light section alone is reason enough to, well, go.

When it comes to lighting the way to a healthier planet, here's what Treehugger teaches.

• Fluorescents have come a long way. Now available as screw-in compact florescent bulbs in a variety of shapes, sizes, even colors they can also produce the same warm hue of light available from less expensive but more energy-draining incandescent bulbs. They last as long as 10,000 hours and use one fourth the energy sucked down by incandescents. They also release less heat and that means more money saved on cooling during warm weather.

• Consider LEDs. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the next generation of light efficiency. Right now, they cost more than fluorescents, but try popping some cheaper ones in your night lights or using LED task lighting. Savings from just those two uses will really put a light bulb over your head. IEDs can last 10 times as long and reduce lighting energy consumption by 80 to 90 percent. What's more, they don't blow. They may dim over time but breakage isn't an issue and they never burn completely out.

Whatever bulb you choose, follow your local jurisdiction's instructions for safe disposal. CFLs and fluorescents contain some mercury. Recycle, don't trash them .

• Consider form and function. Treehugger says sustainability in lighting isn't just about bulbs, but also the fixtures they go into. Remember those bottle lamps you made in middle school? You don't have to go that retro, but you can find eco-friendly lamps and fixtures that use natural, recycled or reused materials.

• Wall warts. Treehugger calls "wall warts" those devices attached to lamps, light fixtures and electrical cords that stay warm and draw energy even when the lighting is not being used. Replace them or attach them to power strips you can turn off when not in use. "Smart" power strips know when devices are off.

• Natural lighting. The sun is no-brainer lighting. Make the most of it by day and consider adding skylights, or fiber optics to "pipe in" solar light. The sun cranks out some free heat gain during the day too. Open those blinds and curtains!

Treehugger says for those who burn the candle power at both ends, whenever possible, try some days planned around the cycle of the sun. Work when there's light available. Go to bed when it isn't. It's good for you and the planet. Besides, if you want to soar with the eagles in the morning, you can't hoot with the owls all night.

• Lighten up. Efficient lighting is only as efficient as your habits allow. It should be second nature to turn off lights when not in use. More specifically, Treehugger says to turn off incandescent bulbs even if you leave the room for a few seconds. Turn off CFLs if you leave the room for 3 minutes. Turn off standard fluorescent bulbs if you leave the room for 15 minutes. Motion sensors, timers and dimmers can help you with your behavior.

• Pay extra. Buy green power from your local utility when it's available. You'll pay a few dollars more a month to support renewable energy development.

• DeadlineNews.Com offers more green news that hits home.

• DeadlineNews.Com offers more global warming news that hits home.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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