Energy Efficiency Tips

Understanding Lighting Labeling

Labels on light bulb packages provide detail on how much you can expect to pay annually for light bulbs and have information on the brightness and color of the light bulbs.

Lumens, not watts, are key to picking a bulb that is the right brightness. Although watts are listed on incandescent bulbs, watts are not an effective measure of brightness. Watts represent the units of power that it takes to light a bulb, whereas lumens measure the amount of light produced. The more lumens a bulb has, the brighter the bulb will be. The following comparisons outline the lumen measurement to look for that will produce the brightness previously gauged by the wattage use of older style incandescent bulbs:

  • 100 watt bulb = 1600 lumens.
  • 75 watt bulb = 1100 lumens.
  • 60 watt bulb = 800 lumens.
  • 40 watt bulb = 450 lumens.

Lighting labels also have information about the color of a light, ranging from cool to warm. Cool lights, which correspond with higher Kelvin temperatures, are better for visual tasks because they increase contrast. Warm lights, which correspond to lower Kelvin temperatures, are preferable for living spaces because they are more flattering. When you are shopping for light bulbs, find the spectrum on the package that shows how warm or cool the bulbs are.

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Simple Steps to Boost Home Heating Efficiency

Cold winter temperatures can drive up heating costs. However, there are simple steps that can be taken to help cut those costs by making your home heating more efficient.

These tips from the Energy Education Council will increase heating efficiency and help you manage your heating expenses:

  • Adjust your thermostat based on your needs. While you are away at school or work, turn the thermostat down. You can also turn the thermostat down at night when you can cover up with blankets. A programmable thermostat can automatically make these adjustments for you.
  • Replace your furnace filter monthly to save energy and improve heat circulation.
  • Use sunlight’s natural heat to your advantage by opening curtains and blinds on sunny days to warm your home.
  • Close your fireplace damper when you are not using the fireplace. This prevents heat from escaping and cold from entering through your chimney.
  • If you have older or leaky windows, consider temporary fixes, such as plastic film kits that create the effect of an interior storm window.
  • Weather stripping is relatively easy and available at your local home improvement store. Stop drafts from coming in and heat from leaking out of your home through drafty doors and windows.
  • Use caulk to seal gaps in the walls of your home or apartment. Wherever different building materials meet, or wiring comes out of a wall, there are gaps that may contribute to the loss of heat in your home.