Technology and Efficiency: LEDs and “Smart” Products

Evan Matzen, Manager, Sustainability 

Energy-efficient housing and lodging solutions make more sense in 2015 than ever before. Because of increases in utility rates, rapid decreases in the cost of efficient products, and new advancements in connected technologies, supporting changes in consumer behavior and investing in efficiency are important. The most dramatic technology improvements in 2015 center on LED bulbs and fixtures and technologies that allow consumers to track, understand, and adjust their energy consumption from their smartphones .

New Wi-Fi-enabled Thermostats  Energy-efficient Make Sense  Let’s start with LEDs. In 2015, a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb consumes nine watts, puts off a higher quality light, and can cost less than $10. Because an LED bulb can last 25,000+ hours, the reduced maintenance and replacement costs of these bulbs alone pays for their small cost premium over CFL bulbs . Investing in a new lower-cost LED bulb will pay for itself in less than half a year if you are upgrading from a traditional 60 watt bulb.

To make the financial calculation for switching to efficient LED bulbs and fixtures even more appealing, many power companies throughout the country subsidize the cost of LEDs bulbs for their customers. Every program is different and has different criteria for receiving the subsidies. Rebates range from a few dollars per LED bulb to completely paying for them, depending on your utility and the program which your property qualifies for. The best way to identify rebate programs that your property may be eligible for is to talk with a trusted distributor of efficiency products, or contact your local utility provider.

Another growing trend is devices that can be controlled from your smartphone or computer. The first “connected” products to hit the mainstream market are thermostats that work with Wi-Fi and can intelligently control temperatures. In addition to adhering to a programmed schedule, new Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats can be accessed from anywhere using your smartphone, and you can manually adjust temperatures. These thermostats also provide feedback about the amount of energy saved, and offer suggestions on changes to further decrease energy consumption.

As you consider investing in energy efficiency, consider these tips: 

  • Look for high-quality ENERGY STAR-Qualified LED bulbs to sell at the $10 price point. 
  • Contact your local utility company for incentives that encourage adoption of LED bulbs and other energy efficient products. 
  •  Create an “efficiency by attrition” sustainability plan that clearly defines the efficient products you can install when something less efficient breaks. 
  •  Partner with your lighting distributor to identify the best opportunities to upgrade and save. 

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