As I mentioned in the last post, we have our house in the city, Casa Smalla, up for sale. The Open House is something we all know and understand about this process. So while we were enjoying the beautiful long weekend at a friend's cottage in Georgian Bay, the real estate agent was enjoying some of the weekend weather at our house, two days in a row. Poor fella. You're wondering where I'm going with this, I can feel it.
To prepare Casa Smalla for the 2-hour open house, our agent turns on all the lights in the house and opens the big folding door that looks out over the garden. Then he's ready to handle the onslaught of tire kickers.
Did I mention that the agent turns on all the lights in the house?
So here's where I get my geek on. Burlington Hydro has a Time-of-Use (TOU) website that customers can go to to see when and how much electricity they are using. All very useful to help manage the new higher electricity prices and times, if you care about that kind of thing. I wouldn't have cared about all this 2 years ago. I would have just ranted about the outrageous amounts of electricity this little house (or maybe its occupants?) consumed and left it at that. But since the most important thing about living in an off-grid house is minimizing electricity usage we are now in the training stage of minimizing. Hence my obsession with the kilowatt, or rather killing-a-watt.
|Approx. 0.2 kWh hourly to run the things that are always on, such as a fridge.|
Usage jumps to 3 kWh hourly when lots of lights are on...yikes!
A quick look at the bar chart from the Burlington Hydro TOU site makes it very obvious how much electricity just the lighting in our house uses. It's also very easy to tell that the real estate agent was, in fact at our house on Sunday with every light in the house on, while we were soaking up the sun in Georgian Bay. That's the only explanation for the huge spike you see in the chart...all the lights being on. Who knew? I was a little shocked to see such a crazy exaggerated chart pattern.
|4 incandescents use more energy in 1 hour than 8 CFLs or 6 LEDs. |
All 3 rooms have a similar level of brightness even though the number
of bulbs varies. The hour the LEDs were on barely even registered
any extra electricity usage.
Sleepless nights for me can lead to some odd early morning experiments. So my latest sleepless night was when I got this weird idea to show the difference in electricity usage each type of light bulb causes. By turning a different room's lights on, each for 1-hour over the 3-hour time frame, I could show that all the hype about changing our light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED is, in fact, a worthy exercise. The second chart shows the extra hourly electricity usage, beginning with the spike at 4am, of a room that has four 75 watt pot lights. At 5am the 75's were shut off and a room with eight 13 watt CFL pot lights was illuminated. At 6am, the 13's were shut off and a room with six 4 watt LED pot lights was illuminated for one hour. I warned you I was getting my geek on for this post! At this point I'm pretty sure I only have two readers still with me and the rest...well, your eyes have glazed over, haven't they? So a shout out to you, Diane G, and you, Tina L, for sticking with me to the end of this post. You're the only two I can think of that would find this as oddly intriguing as I do.
Why am I telling you this, you ask? I had to write about something while I wait for the composting toilet to show up! Without that, I cannot finish building the outhouse and therefore I have nothing new to report. And I must write! Anyway...my point - light bulbs do indeed make a big difference and I thought you'd like to know just how much. Incandescent lighting can be the single biggest user of energy, apart from clothes dryers and air conditioning, in your home depending on how many and how long said lighting remains on in your home on a daily basis. The rooms we use the most are the rooms with the CFLs and the LEDs. That room with the 75w incandescents...we hardly ever use but apparently the real estate agent does! Note to self: change all remaining incandescents to at least CFLs, if for no other reason than open houses!
Conclusion (I can hear the cheering now), LEDs, although they cost more per bulb, last way longer than either CFLs or incandescents. LEDs use way less electricity than the others as well. And LEDs are less fragile and less harmful to the environment. Here is a chart that summarizes everything you ever wanted to know about light bulb comparison. And, no, I have not taken a sales position with an LED lighting company! Just doing my part to help the environment, and maybe your electricity bill.
Cheers from your friendly LED (Lame Energy Dork)