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June 7, 2013 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Debbie Gorski, Wyoming Entrepreneur social media community manager, with contributor Brent Hardy, Extra Space Storage. He manages sustainability programs.
“We are looking to be more sustainable. What ideas do you have in mind for reducing our electricity consumption?” Mary, Gillette
In today's economy, every penny counts. Whether you are a business owner maintaining multiple facilities, or simply trying to cut costs at home, effective lighting techniques are crucial -- and that goes beyond just switching to the curly-cue CFL bulbs or the newer LED options.
These simple, cost-effective tips not only will help with the electric bill, but will ensure cleaner, greener facilities.
Consider de-lamping. "De-lamping" refers simply to the removal of excess bulbs or tubes within specific light fixtures. This basic technique can save a bundle on energy consumption, and costs little or nothing to carry out. Of course, a variety of factors must be considered.
Existing natural light color schemes (see below), and task/purpose of the space should be taken into account. The IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, www.iesna.org) has developed a set of comprehensive guidelines which should be consulted before carrying out such a task. It's always a safe bet to consult your specific manufacturer for details on the type of ballast a light fixture has.
Pay attention to your color scheme. When considering how to maximize output from a light source, reflectivity plays an important role. For this reason, the color of a room is crucial. White rooms naturally reflect more light, requiring less output from a light source. If white just doesn't suit you, try sticking with bright colors. Also, do your best to take advantage of whatever natural light might be available -- a white room plus sunlight equals savings.
Install motion sensors. It's amazing how much energy from a light source is wasted. In addition to cutting back substantially on this waste, motion sensors are efficient, inexpensive and easy to install.
These can be purchased up at most hardware stores or ordered online. The installation is surprisingly straightforward and rarely more difficult than putting in a light switch, although an electrician could easily take on the task. Whether used outdoors or in day or night, motion sensors are bound to save you big bucks in the end.
When it comes to lighting efficiency, it never hurts to think “outside the bulb.” These cost-efficient, energy-saving practices show how a little effort can go a long way.
Consider all the factors of your unique facility. Compare ideas with those who share a similar vision. Look at what changes you can make; put some of them into place; and see how much of a difference it makes to your monthly utility bill.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.