Retrofitting Lighting to Save Energy May Cost You Complaints

In the early 1980’s I worked for an Electrical Contractor, the economy was down in the Dump and everyone was trying to cut cost any way they could.

We were hired by a company that did energy surveys and worked with the client to get rebates from various funds.  We removed many nice fixtures and replaced them with cheap fluorescent fixtures that were recommended by this energy saving consultant.  The client was getting what was promised to them, a lower monthly bill, what they were giving up would become evident.  The exterior of a restaurant went from having a nice warm glow to a bluish fluorescent glow, the interior went from an atmosphere that had dim subtle lighting that was inviting to stay a while and enjoy, became a commercial environment with the ballast Hum and lighting that makes all our make-up look, made Up. An environment that you can’t wait to leave, and may not return.

After a while and after many complaints the Business owners migrated to dimmable fixtures and Dimmers and they realized that by using dimmers on as many lights that they can they have the option to set the scene and enhance the Moods of their customers and save money at the same time.

We are back in the early 1980’s; we are once again listening to Energy saving consultants that enter all the data into a form and out comes the design.  The design say’s to remove all incandescent lamps and replace them with CFL’s and replace the dimmer with a switch.  The design states that the incandescent uses 150 watts of power and a CFL only uses 27 watts of power, no brainier right?

The design does not tell the client that the 150 watt incandescent uses 75 watts if dimmed half way and that, dimming lights creates relaxing and comfortable moods and customers may return just because of the relaxing and comfortable moods.

I was recently offered a lighting retrofit project that had all those similar items from back in the 80’s except now there is a different line item that needs to be done.  The scope called for all T12 ballast and lamps to be replaced with T8 Ballast and lamps (This is good) and it also called for all T12 ballast and lamps to be recycled due to the hazardous metals inside them (This is Bad).

To recycle a ballast you purchase a 5 gallon bucket that is sent to you empty and you fill it with as many ballast as you can, did I mention that the price of the Pre-paid 5 gallon Ballast recycling bucket is $105 American dollars, so, you will be playing Tetris with those ballast. So for those of you that believe, that, this is a reasonable cost, the ballast is a magnetic transformer that is composed of several thousand yards of fine copper wire coated with a fine layer of insulating varnish to keep it from shorting out, then all this is enclosed in a sheet metal enclosure. So when recycled you end up with metal from the case and copper from the windings, and you know that copper is a valued commodity that is why people are stealing copper wire from anywhere they find it.

To recycle a T12 fluorescent lamp you purchase a prepaid box that holds about 60 T12 lamps for the small cost of $107 dollars, now what is in this T12 lamp that demands so much to recycle?

Well there is glass, there is aluminum, there is mercury, and coiled tungsten, all these ingredients are resold by the recycler. Now most recyclers are funded by State or Federal grants that derive their money from the Tax payer, so let me paint this circle of life, you purchase a fluorescent lamp and you get charged a recycle fee, you use the lamp, the lamp’s life ends, you pay to recycle (again) and when you do your taxes a bit goes to a grant to recycle that lamp.

This time around this facility only needs to recycle the T12 lamps and ballast, but next time that it gets re-lamped they will need to recycle the T8 lamps and all the CFL’s that replaced the incandescent lamps this time around.

The point that I would like to make is that it is smart to Dim, dimming saves energy, save lamp life, saves relationships, and most of all saves the environment, although you can dim some fluorescent fixtures the effect is not the same and the cost is high.  Use Halogen lamps controlled by a dimmer like Lutron’s Maestro or go to a Radio RA2 system, or better yet pamper yourself with a Lutron HomeWorks System.

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Go Green with Crestron’s “Green Light”

Audio, Video, & Lighting oh my! These are just a few types of products that Crestron controls, not to mention switchers, processors and all the sleek interfaces they have created since 1971 when they were founded. With all these products in my home, I wonder how much energy I am using or money I am spending?…Wouldn’t it be convenient to know this kind of information, especially during this economic downturn?

Introducing “Green light” from Crestron, an energy monitoring solution for Crestron Lighting, HVAC, and of course Energy consumption for equipment connected at the outlets. Managing energy consumption & realizing real cost savings must extend beyond lighting and thermostats. A large portion of energy waste comes from Audio Video equipment being left on when not in use. Integrated within a Crestron controlled environment, even personal workspace devices such as computers, printer, desk lamps can be programmed to automatically shut down.

When connected with third party devices “Green Light” is capable of monitoring Natural gas, Solar energy, water, and also displaying current energy usage, energy and water flows, total consumption, money spent and return on investment figures in real-time, this real-time tracking allows a Crestron system to automatically dim lights or conserve power once you reach certain thresholds you have programmed into the system, with a little help from your Crestron programmer ;)

Crestron Green Light technology provides environmental management and control to conserve energy and lower costs.

As the global leader in advanced control and automation technology for commercial and residential solutions, Crestron develops products and automation solutions that are RoHS compliant and meet ASHRAE & LEED standards.

Crestron products and systems may help achieve LEED certification points in:

Sustainable Sites

Water Efficiency

Energy & Atmosphere

Indoor Environmental Quality

Innovation & Design Process

Crestron also makes a line of “Green Light” products specifically to work with this system, such as their iLux, Shade and Drape controllers, Wall box Dimmers and Switches, table top Controllers, Gateways & Repeaters, Thermostat’s, Sensors, Automation processors, ETC…

Even now as you are reading this, Crestron’s “Green Light” is being implemented all around the world, helping people build a better, more energy efficient world. Not to mention saving energy & money, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to do that?

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Enable your Home to make decisions, so You Don’t have to!

Press Release

VinoSystems LLC

Specializing in Home Intelligence

For Immediate Release

Affordable Home Control

Prodigy™ by Crestron, the most respected and trusted name in home automation, is control without compromise. Installed in more homes worldwide then all other brands combined, Crestron is the global standard in luxury homes. Backed by Crestron quality, expertise and support, Prodigy provides the power and scalability you’d expect at a price you can afford. Now every house can be a Crestron home with Prodigy.
Prodigy offers you affordable, simplified control of your home and entertainment from any room in your house or any place on the planet*. Keep all your music, movies, lights, thermostats and security at your fingertips where ever you are and wherever you go. You are always in touch and in control with Prodigy. Make your home the perfect sanctuary where you can escape everyday stress. Just a simple tap of your finger brings you serenity, comfort, convenience and pleasure. Prodigy does all the thinking so you don’t have to.
Starter Package includes control of your television, Blu-ray/DVD player, surround sound receiver, six lighting zones and thermostat. Entire system controlled with 1 LCD Handheld Remote and iPhone/iPod Touch**. Starter packages are expandable for full functionality.
Starter Packages are available now installed and programmed starting at $3,750.00. Offer ends October 1, 2009.

*high speed internet required
** iPhone/iPod Touch not included

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