FAQ/Information
Action Electric
1514 SE 17th Ave.
Cape Coral, Florida 33990
239.772.1505
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS—ENERGY CONSERVATION

Q: Is it more energy efficient to keep turning fluorescent lighting on and off all day or to just leave it on? Our office uses the room at least every 20 minutes during an 8-hour work day but no one is ever in there all day.
A:
By leaving fluorescent lamps on you save the lamp life, but not energy costs.
It’s a trade off between buying new fluorescent lamps which are generally pretty cheap and the cost of electricity to run the lamps all day for 20 minutes of actual use. This depends on your cost of electricity. Basically, we’ve found it more energy efficient to turn lights off when not in use. (For that type of room it might be cost effective to install an occupancy sensor unless people actually turn the lights off when they leave.)

Q: Is it more energy-efficient to let a light bulb burn for a short period of time, or to turn it off and then on again? I read once that the surge in power when a bulb is turned on is equal to letting the bulb burn for a while?
A:
It is more energy efficient to turn the light off than to leave it on. Energy is measured with respect to time. The unit used to measure electrical energy is the kilowatt-hour or thousand-watt-hour, the amount of power or watts that you use in one hour. The momentary or millisecond or less surge of electricity required to start your light bulb will not impact your energy cost, but leaving it on all the time will. With the rising cost of energy, it’s probably a good idea to turn the lights out when you are not using it.
(Not to mention the pollution impact, less energy use, less emissions from power plants.)
Turning the lights on and off a lot will impact your lamp life, however. If you compare the number of bulb(s) you need to buy versus the cost to let the light burn all the time, it will still probably be cheaper to turn the lights off.


Energy-Efficient Lighting Tips:

  • Use natural daylight when possible.
  • If you spend a lot of time working at a computer, consider reducing the overall brightness level in your room to enhance CRT screen visibility.
  • Turn off the lights when the rooms are not being occupied.
  • Consider using desk lamps ("task lighting") and reducing overhead lighting in the room.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs where possible.

Energy Efficient Computing

  • Do not leave your computer running overnight and on weekends. Also, wait until you are ready to use it before you turn it on.
  • A modest amount of turning on and off will not harm the computer or monitor. The life of a monitor is related to the amount of time it is in use, not the number of on and off cycles.
  • Try to plan your computer-related activities so you can do them all at once, keeping the computer off at other times.
  • Do not turn on the printer until you are ready to print. Printers consume energy even while they are idling.
  • Do not print out copies of email unless necessary.
  • If you spend a large amount of time at your computer, consider reducing the light level in your office. This may improve CRT (cathode ray tube) screen visibility as well as save energy.
  • Most computer equipment now comes with power management features. If your computer has these features, make sure they are activated.
  • The best screen saver is no screen saver at all - turn off your monitor when you are not using it. This option is second best only to turning off your computer all together.
  • Use "paperless" methods of communication such as email and fax-modems.
  • When typing documents, especially drafts, use a smaller font and decrease the spacing between lines, or reformat to keep your document to as few pages as possible, especially when typing drafts.
  • Review your document on the screen instead of printing a draft. If you must print a draft, use the blank back side of used paper.
  • Use a printer that can print double-sided documents. When making copies, use double-sided copying.
  • Always buy and use recycled-content paper. Look for papers with 50-100% post-consumer waste and non-chlorine bleached. Also, recycle your paper when done.
  • Buy a monitor only as large as you really need. Although a large monitor might seem more attractive, you should remember that a 17-inch monitor uses 40 percent more energy than a 14-inch monitor. Also, the higher the resolution, the more energy it needs.
  • Ink-jet printers, though a little slower than laser printers, use 80 to 90 percent less energy.
  • Request recycled/recyclable packaging from your computer vendor.
  • Buy vegetable (or non-petroleum-based) inks. These printer inks are made from renewable resources; require fewer hazardous solvents; and in many cases produce brighter, cleaner colors.

General Energy Quick Tips:

  • Dress appropriately for the season; wear layers of clothing during the winter months.
  • Avoid the use of portable electric space heaters.
  • Keep thermostats set at 68 degrees during the heating season and 78 degrees during the cooling season.
  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed.
  • Remember to close windows when rooms will be unoccupied.
  • During the heating season, open blinds, drapes, and curtains to allow sunlight in for solar heat gain. In the evenings, close blinds, drapes, and curtains to reduce thermal heat loss.
  • Use hot water sparingly.
  • Avoid hot-plate coffee makers; use thermal carafe style coffee makers instead.
  • Turn off all unused electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Maintain refrigerators and freezers by keeping coils clean and doors properly sealed.
  • If refrigerator or freezer is over 8 years old, consider upgrading to a newer more energy-efficient model.
  • Do not place refrigerators or freezers next to room thermostats.
  • Consolidate contents of refrigerators or freezers--a full freezer is more efficient to keep cold than a half empty freezer. Turn off the empty, unused appliance.
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