Monday, April 27, 2015

Energy efficiency comes to my shop

Twice a year in Nova Scotia, Spring and Fall,  we have rebates on various energy efficient upgrades.
We always used the occasion to replaces our light bulbs with LEDs. Never cared much for the CFLs, they may have been more efficient than incandescent for sure but at what price to the environment? They are fragile and contain mercury...Dumb idea!

LEDs bulbs may be expensive, but they come on instantly, no delayed full brightness, even more efficient than CFLs and etc. What is it not to like ...except the price :-(

Canada has banned incandescent light bulbs this year. Can no longer be manufactured, imported, and are being phased out from the stores. LEDs options are more plentiful and the prices are coming down.

With the rebates from Efficiency NS, I can buy LED bulbs from about $5 and up.
We are slowly changing from CFLs to LEDs, so far we have 34 LED bulbs installed and the next batch would be in the fall.  I can see a difference in my power bill, they are paying themselves pretty quickly.
Consider this, the main bathroom has twin sinks and a 3 light fixtures above each mirrors, that's 6 bulbs. I got Cree 40 W equivalent bulbs, drawing 6 W each, so for 36 watts I got the equivalent of 240W of  incandescent lights.  And then there are two more bulbs inside the ceiling ventilator and there is also a natural light tube. It is very bright in the bathroom :-)

In my shop remodel project I'm also tackling the lights in use. I replaced the lonely bulb in the ceiling above the built in bench, I had a 100W incandescent, I swapped it by a 9W (equivalent to 100W) LED bulb and it is even brighter, bonus.

100W incandescent

My new LED bulbs are dimmable and made in the USA (Cree) and are regular $11.97 at Home Depot. With my rebate of $4 to $6 depending on models, they are quite affordable. Still, I counted 114 bulbs inside and outside the house, hence why we are changing them in batch twice a year. The first ones to go were the ones most often used: kitchen, bathrooms etc.

As the prices keep coming down, we will probably replaced them faster.
The other lights in the shop are Fluorescent fixtures, One 2 tubes over my work bench and one single tube over the built in bench. I get my fluorescent tubes, 4ft, recycled from my wife plant stands, she grows African Violets and goes thru a few tubes each year. Once they are about one year old she replace them to keep the light output, they are still plenty good for my needs, 8 in the garage, 3 in my basement shop. The portable lamp on my bench also has a 6W LED bulb.

Other energy savings in my shop come with the replacement windows in the basement, Energy star rated, Low-E. Argon filled and bla bla.

The walls are insulated by Styrofoam sheets under the OSB sheathing's walls. It is toasty warm and bright down there and I am doing my part to save the planet and save money, bonus!
And lets not forget that woodworking unplugged is easier on our environment also :-)

And talking of energy savings, it does not look like the furnace is about to stop anytime soon, we are getting mixed precipitations today, rain turning into snow, grrrr.. and the snow was almost all gone...

Hard to see on the pic, but the snow flakes are getting bigger by the minutes, sigh!
Thankfully as the day warmed up it changed to rain. phewww!

Quick quiz:
How many retirees does it takes to change a light bulb?

Only one, but it takes all day :-)

Bob, energy concious and snow saturated


  1. Have you looked at the equivalent LED flourescent lamp replacements? No more annoying cold weather buzzing and much brighter light etc etc. SAMS club supposedly has them but I haven't found them yet. Lowes has the lamps but I can get them cheaper on line even with S/H added. This is one ticket item I would like to get punched this year for my shop.

  2. Yes, but my wife is weary about using them on her plant stands. So for now ill continue to use her surplus fluorescent tubes.
    Some growers have started to experiments with LEDs tape light red and blue, with success, but whenever you introduce a change in the plant room, it has to be a gradual one, for the plant sake ( and mine :-)