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One-Thing Thursday Archive
Energy Conservation
One thing you can do...
Consider the following at work and at home:

Purchase LEDs the next time you replace lights at work or home
February 4, 2010
Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, have emerged as a new contender for the greenest source of light. LED bulbs are based on the same technology as the cool-running holiday lights you may be familiar with. Over the last decade, scientists have improved the performance of these lights. Now, some cities and state agencies use them for street lights and parking lot lights.
Advantages of LED lights include the following:
  1. Low energy use (can be half of a CFL or about 1/10th of an incandescent/halogen lamp).
  2. Very long life (five times that of a CFL or 50 times that of an incandescent).
  3. Do not contain toxic chemicals and do not require special handling or disposal. 
The table below compares three types of lighting - incandescent, CFL and LED.
Bulb Type
Light Intensity
Energy Usage
Typical Bulb Life
Typical Bulb Cost
800 Lumens
60 Watts
1000 hours
May contain lead
800 Lumens
15 Watts
10,000 hours
Need to recycle – contains mercury
800 Lumens
8 Watts
50,000 hours
No constraints
Contributed by Devidas Gupta.

Dress in layers at work
October 15, 2009
Layers allow for maximum flexibility to maintain your comfort on "transitional" days. Over the month of October, state office buildings transition to heating season. This means that maintenance crews turn off the chillers (air conditioners) and turn on the boilers (heaters). It also means we may experience days when our building is a little too warm or too cold. 
Please bear with the crew as they calibrate the thousands of sensors in state buildings and work out kinks on the many boilers that sat unused all summer.

Reduce the use of lights in buildings
May 28, 2009
Every biennium, DAS spends nearly one million dollars to operate lights in its buildings. In general, the U.S. expends huge amounts of energy at night. About 70 percent of nighttime energy use lights empty office buildings. 
In state buildings, most of the lighting load runs overhead or security lights. The less time the overhead lights operate, the more money the state will save. Use task lights instead of overhead lights whenever possible. Don't operate the lights on an entire floor for one or two people who work late. Turn the lights out as part of a nightly sweep, when you turn off the copy machine, shredder and other common plug loads.

Maintain your blinds for the weather.
January 22, 2009
Windows can be a major source of heat loss in a building. Depending on the season, up to 10 percent of heating or cooling can escape out of windows.
During the heating season (winter), close blinds at night if you sit by a window, and open them in the morning. This keeps the warm air inside and the cold air outside. Any warmth the building keeps overnight means less heat to generate in the morning. That saves money and can help keep work spaces more comfortable and help you stay warm. 

Unplug your "vampire loads"
November 6, 2008
Even though Halloween is over, we still have vampires among us.  Stand-by power, also called vampire power, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. Very common "electricity vampires" include a power adapter which has no power-off switch, digital clocks on VCRs or microwaves, or the cradles for laptop computers or cell phones.  These vampire loads occur at work and at home, and can use up to 10% of your home electricity and 1-5% of an office building’s electricity.
Unplug these devices when not in use.  While it might be difficult for a VCR or microwave, it wouldn't be hard to unplug the charger for your cell phone.  In fact, you could plug many of these devices into a power surge strip for extra protection, and then just turn the on/off switch on the strip at home when you go to bed at night, or at work when you leave for the day.

Install compact fluorescent lights
October 16, 2008
As we move toward the end of daylight savings time, consider replacing the incandescent light bulbs in your house with compact fluorescent. Soon, we'll keep our lights on longer and use more electricity. Why not save some money while saving greenhouse gas emissions as well?
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls
If your compact fluorescents have burned out (yes, they eventually burn out) take them to Home Depot for free recycling.