We have discussed energy efficient light bulbs a few times now: how to pick the best, most efficient bulbs for your house and high-tech Wi-Fi enabled bulbs you can control with your phone. But we haven’t talked much about how we’ve been upgrading our lighting, something we’re very proud of and something we think about a lot.
The Kendall-Jackson Tasting Room, in downtown Healdsburg (a few miles north of the K-J Wine Center on Fulton Road), is a small, intimate tasting room just off the town square. Recently we were able to reduce the amount of energy we use to light that space by 86%. That’s a huge accomplishment. We accomplished this by instituting newer and better technology.
First, we replaced the old, inefficient 100-watt bulbs with LEDs that create just as much light, but only use only 28% of the energy. These bulbs come from a company started by former NASA engineers who took space station technology and developed a home version of it.
One of the challenges we faced was making sure the new bulbs put out the same amount of light. One of the knocks on LEDs is that they can sometimes feel dim compared to the old bulbs. Rightly or wrongly, it was something we needed to consider. So imagine our surprise when we flipped the switch after the swap and felt like we were standing on the surface of the sun. The new bulbs were so bright that it startled us.
Turns out those new bulbs weren’t the only thing we changed in the K-J Tasting room. Before we could remove the old bulbs we needed to remove some decorative screens that covered the fixtures. We forgot to put them back on before we flipped on the new LEDs. That’s when everyone discovered just how much light those screen blocked. It was startling to see how a design decision could have such an enormous impact on the energy usage.
After repositioned the, we were able to remove a few fixtures that had become excessive. All in we cut the total lighting energy used by 86%, which goes to show that technology isn’t the only solution. If you’re looking to brighten your home and save energy, take a look around and make sure your aesthetic choices aren’t getting in the way of your sustainable ones.