The Value of Green Lighting Ideas When Remodeling
So you want to remodel your kitchen. Great Idea. Smart Investment.
In the bay area, in particular, a kitchen remodel will often recoup its value and make a tidy profit for the homeowner when it’s time to sell.
But let say you also want to incorporate green building practices, for instance, install sustainable wood flooring with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approval, add countertops made from recycled material, or include cabinets that are formaldehyde-free to mitigate potential health risks. All good.
But kitchen lighting and electrical practices to promote an eco-friendly home?
Yes, there are indeed many green lighting practices besides LED lighting systems that save money and promote a healthy environment. And the kitchen is a good place to start. A kitchen is the most energy-intensive room in a house.
Here are five energy efficient lighting-related ideas:
1. Fix Air leaks. Free flowing air is a Pandora’s box of potential energy issues, which can increase a homeowner’s energy bill make home life less comfortable than it needs to be. When remodeling your kitchen take the time to limit air flow by tightening seals or limiting gaps.
A recent Department of Energy study underscored this by examining energy loss associated with everyday object in the home. Their findings are startling, pointing to a host of energy-leaking sources: ceilings, wall and fans, ducts, fireplaces, doors, windows, electrical outlets and more.
2. Install Energy Star Appliances. Since 1992, a voluntary Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program has helped to identify and promote energy efficient building and products. For consumers who are looking to remodel, add a new Energy Star washer and/or dryer or dishwasher. An Energy Star product is a great way to go green by conserving water and reducing electrical use. And Energy Star product evaluations extend well beyond home appliances.
Energy Star also examines energy consumption for electronic components such as TVs, computer monitors, windows, HVAC systems and more. Appliances—any home-related device—can receive an energy-star ratings based on off-the-shelf testing and a strict verification process.
3. Eliminate Phantom Loads. There is an energy ghost in your home. It’s called a phantom load and it works covertly, unknowingly, against homeowners each month to increase their energy costs. A phantom load is quite simple the energy consumed by leaving appliances, electronic devices and other home apparatus plugged in when not in use. Yes, even your coffee maker needs to be unplugged.
For those who haven’t yet purchased surge suppressors, now is the time. After buying one, or multiple devices, effortlessly plug all major household appliances or electronic devices into it. A surge supressor will mitigate damage from occurring during a power surge. It’s really that simple. At night, turn each suppressor off and you’ll be well on your way to defeating phantom loads.
4. Use Lighting Controls. When you can manually dim a light or have an automated light turn on, needless electricity isn’t wasted. Dimmers, a simple device, can be added to most lighting design systems. Dimmers are a smart green investment when remodeling your kitchen.
Inexpensive. Efficient. Reliable. These are the three hallmarks of a dimmer switch. It can also create the right mood or ambiance and, of course, install LED lights—the most energy efficient type of bulb, which can burn brightly for 15-25 years before needing to be replaced. Indoor motions censor lights, and timer lights, are also terrific energy savers . . . triggered to go at specific times, or with censors, lighting up an area only when someone enters a room.
5. Apply Passive Architecture. The notion of using available daylight or natural light to illuminate a room as been around for centuries. When remodeling, pay strict attention to the direction the room is facing and you’ll recognize many options for using natural light. Changes to a room’s architecture will change lighting dynamics. Be mindful of layering lights, too, that is, combining lights in different ways to generate the right illumination.
For daylight to serve as the main lighting source, a minimum of 5% of the room floor should be a window area and include a low-
emissivity (Low-E) coating to reduce glare. Low-E will play a role a crucial role in heat gain during the summer and heat loss during winter.