Archive for the ‘life’ category

Pledge Your Support – Install a CFL!

April 20, 2007

19 April 2007 – Have you seen the new mini-twist helical CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) that replaces a standard light bulb?

They use 75% less energy!

A 60-Watt equivalent CFL only uses 13 Watts and in summer will reduce your air conditioning load as well.

Over it’s life, it will save you about 15 to 20 times it’s cost.

If your home or business has plans to use these or any other “Energy Star” light or lamp, please add your support to millions of others who have pledged their support!  It only takes a second!

A friend of mine who works at the world’s largest recycler – Nucor – emailed me the pledge URL.

Thank you for pledging to be “green” this year in your personal life,



Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

March 24, 2007

23 Mar 2007 – Want to personally make a difference in the world?  Replace your incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s).  Use this  easy CFL Energy Calculator to see how much money you can save!  Just input information about existing incandescent lightbulbs and proposed compact fluorescent lamps for a certain area of your home or business – to see the payback period on your investment and your savings!

The Light Bulbs Etc. company also sells a wide variety of CFL’s in various sizes, shapes, and quantities.  Their prices seem reasonable, if bought in bulk.  They sell CFL’s in the range from 15 to 500 Watt equivalents.

Sylvania Releasing New PSH Ballast in 2007

February 10, 2007

9 Feb 2007 – Word on the street is that Sylvania will be releasing a new 100,000 cycle, high-ballast factor ProStart “PSH” ballast later this year.  This will compete with the high-ballast factor GE Ultrastart.

Not only will the PSH drive more lumens out of each lamp than any existing ProStart PSX or PSL ballast, but it will provide significantly longer life to lamps than Sylvania’s current line of high-ballast factor, instant start ballasts.

The PSH is a welcome addition, opening up new retrofit options for offices hoping to de-lamp fixtures from four to two without sacrificing light output, while gaining incredible lamp life – even on highly cycled lighting, such as those with occupancy sensors.  Some installations will likely never replace a lamp!

Turn Off Fluorescent Lights or Let Them Burn?

February 10, 2007

9 Feb 2007 – If you leave your office or room for only a few minutes, should you turn your fluorescent lights off?  The answer is YES.  Here’s why.

With the latest generation of fluorescent lighting fixtures and electronic ballasts, the energy required to restart your lights is small.  The energy savings cutoff time is less than 10 seconds.

The real question is, do you have the right fluorescent ballasts to be turning your lights on and off 24 times per day?

Your lamp life depends on your ballast and your application.  There are basically two types of electronic ballast that could be driving your lights.  One is called an “Instant Start” ballast.  The other is a “Programmed Start” (or rapid start) ballast.

How are they different and how do they affect lamp life?

Instant Start.  Lamps being lit by an instant start ballast prefer to be left on.  An area such as a kitchen lit continuously for hours might be a good candidate for instant start ballasts.  If you frequently “cycle” or turn on and off the lights, you will shorten the life of the lamps.  If you have occupancy sensors installed, you will probably be disappointed in the lamp life with instant start ballasts.  But if only switched a few times per day, instant start ballasts are the way to go.  They will give efficient long life to the lamps.

Programmed Start.  Bathroom or office lighting, on the other hand, might be cycled many more than 20 times per day.  These areas would be better suited to lighting systems with programmed start ballasts.  These systems tolerate the frequent cycling of lights without premature burnout of lamps; and they are designed to work with occupancy sensors – which automatically do the energy-saving switching for you.

So, what do you have?  Safely lock out the electricity; pull your tubes (lamps); take off the cover plate; and check the printing on your ballasts.  Abbreviations such as “IS” indicate Instant Start, while PS or RS refer to Programmed Start or Rapid Start.  If you need to swap out some fixtures or ballasts, safely use your new-found knowledge and then start getting some better life out of those lamps!

Again, if you have instant start ballasts on fluorescent light fixtures located in areas which are cycled frequently – and you are not happy with the life of your lamps – then switch to a programmed or rapid start ballast such as the GE Ultrastart or the Sylvania ProStart PSN, which can handle 100,000 cycles.  Just make sure your lamps are also “matched” to the ballast.  There are many types of lamps out there!  Don’t be afraid to ask a knowledgeable dealer or Rep for help.


the Energy Geek

How to Infect Large Groups of People

February 1, 2007

– with a creative passion for saving energy.


The secret is ALL about passion.  You must be passionate about your goal, and a bit fanatical to achieve it!

Here’s my story.

My entire life has revolved around using a minimum of resources, both energy and material.  I cannot remember a time when it did not.  Raised to appreciate what little we had – and to use it sparingly – I did not know we were poor.  We had what we needed.

In 2003 as an employee of a large company, I stepped up my involvement in conservation of energy and resources by volunteering for our newly-formed energy and water reduction teams.  I began to discover how team synergy could achieve much more than just the combined efforts of individuals!  In this case, 1+1+1+1 = 6, which is greater than 4.  But team-building takes time.

I was surprised when courses of action and solutions that, to me, seemed plainly obvious to pursue, were oftentimes viewed with skepticism or revelation – by others.  But determined confidence has a way of pushing these ideas through!  In three years we managed to make obscene reductions in the amount of energy and water used.  I tracked our metrics, or KPI’s, on a “unit basis” and regularly reported the improvements via data and graphs in Powerpoint presentations to managers and leaders of our company.  Regular feedback to the teams helped them to enjoy their success – although I’m confident the implementaton of innovations and modifications alone would have buoyed them.

Year after year, reductions in energy and water were made.

In 2006 a position was created and I was promoted to energy czar at our company.  I now have a leadership role in reducing energy use.  Where previously I was one of many noble resources, now I became the inspiration, the passion behind the group effort.  I added a few teams so more of us could continue to pick the fruit.  But the fruit was disappearing.

Simple and technical innovations had carried us far, until now.  When 20% of time and effort achieves 80% of the possible savings, life is good.  But there is a pause in your journey when your teams realize that nearly all the bigger, lower-hanging fruit has been picked!


At this point, many get discouraged!  It takes much more effort, and you get smaller returns!  The law of diminishing returns reaches a tipping point.  Now, extra discipline is necessary.  It is time to be MTXE – Mentally Tough with eXtra Effort.  But most are not ready to put in that type of effort, using their most prized resource:  time!

Energy Mindset (Habits), the Hidden Fruit

So instead, apply creative passion to make a difference.  When energy teams realize the good fruit is picked and it is a “waste of time” to scour the orchards in search of lesser fruit, it is time to infect the masses – i.e., everyone, all employees!  Turn away from your simple, technical, and technological energy solutions and go after energy habits!  Your efforts here will create another surge of energy efficiency you didn’t realize was available.

One person infected with a passion to conserve resources and energy – leads a worthy life.  One team infected with passion – can bring about major improvements.  But one entire facility passionately pulsing with an infection of the energy reduction bug – is something to behold.  It will surpass your highest expectations!

This does not happen over night, but as “critical mass” builds, it gathers much momentum.  As your teams energetically “seed” ideas with the masses, allow or even encourage the strongest hecklers to “not bother changing on your account.”  This is an experiment the teams are working with “others.”  Over time these hecklers will surprise you for “leaving them out,” as they start clicking in unison with the others.

“Would you want to spend an extra $530 per month on wasted electricity?  No?  Well, we won’t waste it at work, either!”

Walk around our facility and you will see people turning off lights as they leave rest rooms and offices; workers safely working in sun-lit offices, lights out.  Blinds are closed at night, open in daylight; power strips to computers and monitors being turned off – to eliminate that electricity that continues to flow with equipment off.

How does one get their company to this point?  It takes much effort, doesn’t it?  NO.  It takes one fearless leader to be fanatically different, to explain to others what can be achieved.

So, be contagious; spread the infection to everyone.  Watch the “critical mass” build!  Enjoy your success.  And then please share your ideas with others.

Beyond cost savings – energy reduction spells pride in a low impact lifestyle

January 31, 2007

Energy savings is more than cost savings.  Sure we save money when we turn off equipment and lighting we don’t need, but there is more to it than that.  We just, plain, do more – with less!  We are efficient.  And we know it!  It’s not about energy at all, is it?  It’s about pride and confidence.

We are proud of our low impact life that does not lack in quality.

But beyond that, we are leaders.  Others evaluate what we do.  And we do stuff others only dream of doing, but with less resources.  We have to be at the top of our game in all aspects if we are to influence others.

Thank you all for having the passion to believe in energy and resource conservation, plus having the desire to be the best at it !

Resource & Energy-saving “Virtues”

January 27, 2007

I absolutely enjoy meeting and knowing people who daily finds ways to be energy-efficient and who use only the minimum amounts of resources needed to achieve their goals.  To me, it says this person is organized and has virtue, that somehow they have fine-tuned their life so they can focus on these higher, unselfish values.

If this person is also cheerful, spontaneous, open to new ideas, and does not abandon responsibilities in other areas of life while pursuing these, then they are doing one awesome job!  It is fun to hang around these folks, just to see the amazing things they seem to accomplish!

Here’s some strategies for you to identify opportunities in your life:

  1. Observe your habits and processes closely.  Compare these to others.  Isn’t it easier to use their already successful ideas than to create your own?!
  2. Think “outside the box”.  Transform the process.  Innovate a major paradigm shift in your routine!
  3. Now modify and conceive improvements to these major shifts, even if just small steps in the right direction.
  4. Safely add or eliminate steps – for efficiency.
  5. Consolidate trips to the grocery store, shopping mall, concert, movie, game, fuel-filling station, library, church, etc.
  6. Plan to do it right the first time.  Remember that it takes more energy and resources to redo or correct bad planning and inadequacies later.
  7. Know that your efforts have reduced resource and energy usage.  Enjoy your success for being a part of the solution!  Future generations can now use that resource which you have not wasted!

Are there many who already make this kind of effort?  Do the majority only concentrate on one resource these days: Time?