Goin’ Clean ‘N Green

There’s a lot of painless ideas in this Newsweek article that JeffS and I have held sway on before, but they never suffer for repeating. (It’s especially timely, considering my post below AND the fact that I just found new GE lamp flourescent that puts out the equivalent lumens of a 75W bulb for 20W actually power. The price has come down amazingly, they last forever and save a bundle in the meantime ~ wonderful if your kids are like Ebola, who’s never met a lightswitch he couldn’t leave on.)

No More Electric Bills
Well, not quite. But ‘zero-energy homes’ keep them low.
…Almost unknown outside California, ZEH communities are the leading edge of technologies that might someday create houses that produce as much energy as they consume. Premier Gardens, which opened last summer, is one of a half-dozen subdivisions in California where every home cuts power consumption by at least 50 percent, mostly by using low-power appliances and solar panels. Several more are under construction this year, including the first ZEH community for seniors.

Now, I’m not advocating you run out and spend the $25 grand to go off the grid, so don’t even get started, but you can swap out to flourescents on lamps that get used alot, keep the A/C almost off during the day (Hell, turn it off completely and open a window occasionally! You’d be shocked at the folks here who have never let a single breath of fresh air into their house.), stuff like that. As for us, I’d love solar panels here and am sure they’d work gangbusters. But if I thought plywooding the windows was a pain the a$$ a couple times a year, I can’t imagine what having to pull those suckers off the roof before a storm would be like. I think we’ll pass.

18 Responses to “Goin’ Clean ‘N Green”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    Don’t worry, Sis; the storm will pull them off of the roof for you…

  2. It’s the ‘stacked neatly’ part I’m worried about. I need them in the garage, not the neighbor’s kitchen, if you get my drift. OR in a kitchen 6 or 7 miles away…

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    I replaced all of the floodlights outside with the flourescent floods; they work fine and use a hell of a lot fewer watts. The only problem is that when it’s below freezing it takes them quite awhile to come on. I use the regular floourescent bulbs whereever the boss will let me in the house (and on the porch lights); they do have a little bit of an annoying buzz, so they’re not great as a reading light. They also don’t last anywhere near as long outside as they claim the life should be, so there’s no money saved there.

  4. Ken Summers says:

    Disadvantages:
    Fluorescent light can be irritating (that flap about office lights some years back was overblown but it can be a real effect for some people)
    They can’t be dimmed or have multiple positions (this is the killer for me, especially in a reading lamp)
    But they are great for the garage and some places in the house.

  5. They also don’t last anywhere near as long outside as they claim the life should be, so there’s no money saved there
    Actually, there probably is when you think of the wattage difference ~ regular floods cost a pretty penny to run. I’ll bet they at least paid for themselves, considering what your kilowatt costs are up there. (We have them outside, too.)
    Right you are, Mr. Summers. We don’t use them in reading lamps, but for the porch light fixture, kitchen counter and living room ambient light lamps, they’re great. The lampshade takes a good deal of the harshness off. Plus it means I can safely leave those lit if we’re gone during the evening and the effect is more realistic than just the kitchen lights alone used to.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    Sorry, I should have been clearer Sis: the floodlights seems to be holding up well (big money savers there, for sure), but the regular flourescents that I use for the porch lights (and leave on from dusk to dawn) burn out nearly as often as the normal bulbs, and that gets expensive.

  7. The Real JeffS says:

    Correct, THS. Going “off the grid” requires considerable capital investment, considering that photovoltaic panels (oooo! a $10 word!) produce only 12 volts. You either need 12V appliances (usually of minimum value in a house, OK for camping), or a substantial battery farm with a power inverter. And even then, you should have a generator for when the demand exceeds capacity (and it will!). And then you need to be versed in power management. This is cool for geeks, but there’s a certain convenience in not worrying about available voltage potential for your home.
    You could use solar panels to run dedicated systems (e.g., outdoor lights, or maybe the blender at your wetbar), but that’s about the max I see for the typical homeowner. As a ham radio operator, I could use that sort of set up for my radios……all of which run on 12V anywho.
    THS has it right — it’s better to be more efficient with what you have. Once classic — spend $200 or so on a fully programmable thermostat. You’ll probably pay for it in a year or less, especially if no one is at home during the day. It’ll take a little experimenting to get the right settings for a warm wake up, but it does work.
    Or Mr. Bingley could drink all of his booze warm. No ice, no fridge. That would likely save him millions between now and his retirement.

  8. Mr. Bingley says:

    You can have my scotch on the rocks when you pry the glass from my cold, dead fingers.
    Well, room temperature fingers, I guess.
    I will not do the math to find how scarily accurate your savings prediction might be Jeff.

  9. Nightfly says:

    One other savings of the flourescent vs. the incandescent – HEAT. My bedroom is the hottest room in the house and we have no A/C. Over the course of three or four hours, I’ve noticed a difference between the overhead light vs. the small long-life flourescent desk lamp.
    Of course I tend to leave the light off while watching TV or hitting the web, which is cheapest of all.

  10. Dave J says:

    Oh, I love bulbs. They notieceably cut my electric bill, and they do last seemingly forever unless you, erm, break them. 😉 But it’s harder to do that than to regular bulbs, too.

  11. Dave J says:

    I meant I love these specific bulbs you were talking about. I did not mean I was obsessed with light bulbs.

  12. (Keep going, Dave. You’re hanging yourself here.)

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    Ah, our Dave J…whose family crest declares Lux Bulbos Ardens

  14. And nary a dim one among them!

  15. Mr. Bingley says:

    When Dave becomes a judge people will appear on his socket?

  16. nobrainer says:

    I can only imagine that if ZEHs were mandated, the typical homeowner would end up using twice as much electricity… but I’m just guessing.

  17. (Because once a thing is cheap, even ‘free’, it gets abused most sorely?! Like $1.29/gal gas and SUV’S?)
    Say it isn’t so! What a cynic…

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