Efficient lighting the simplest solution to energy securityBy Amado de Jesus
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A fifth of global use of energy goes to lighting, three quarters of which is said to be inefficient. That translates to millions of pesos lost, for example, in the electricity bill of the city of Manila where many street lights remain on during the day, and electric bulbs easily get busted.
Using energy efficient lighting technology can bring up to 40-percent savings in energy cost. Lighting is the biggest opportunity for energy solution, the simplest solution. It also gives the highest savings.
Architects are enjoined to be strict with passive design of buildings in order to minimize use of artificial lighting and air conditioning.
By utilizing the natural features of the site and proper orientation of the building to maximize shading from the sun, building occupants will use mechanical lighting and cooling minimally.
Following that, the Asean Energy Awards going on for longer than a decade now, has given the prescribed energy efficiency index of 200 kilowatt-hours per square meter of floor space per year for offices, 240 for retail and shopping malls, 300 for hotels and 400 for hospitals.
Energy efficient index for homes
Houses, not cars they say are the biggest guzzlers. The amount of lumber, concrete, energy and other resources consumed, and waste excreted is considerable; never mind our healthy growing population.
We mentioned earlier in this column that 15 kw-hr/sq m/year is the ideal energy efficiency index for residential houses. If we divide our annual electricity consumption in kilowatt-hours by the amount of house floor area in square meters, the resulting energy efficiency index should not go far above 15 kw-hr/sq m/yr.
If such benchmarks are made into a law, you can imagine the energy savings to be gained, and the ripple effect on the quality of life in general.
To facilitate such a move, we can look at the latest lighting technology being used in the developed world where LED lighting is used everywhere from the streets up to buildings and homes.
We are an impatient generation because we are used to a fast life. We want everything in an instant and that has unfortunate repercussions on family life.
But thanks to modern lighting, optimized light generation and light control are now available. And we can minimize light pollution that harms the ecosystem, aside from wasting money.
By applying lighting where it is needed and when it is needed with the use of digital control provided by LED lights, life will be much easier.
These lighting mechanisms can be upgraded with new technology because they are modular. The housings or luminaires and electronics are intact, while the light emitting part can be replaced.
Yes LED lighting is expensive, given two or three years payback period. But reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs added to the longer lifetime of LED light give a more attractive economic benefit.
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