Friday, August 13, 2010

Three Simple Steps to Reduce Energy Consumption on Design Projects

by Jim Diez
Southwest Audio Visual, ASID Industry Partner

It is estimated that on an average power bill over 50% can be directly attributed to HVAC and lighting. If you are an eco-conscious interior designer, here are some easy steps that have a substantial impact on the energy use of your project.

Energy Efficient Bulbs: On average, most standard light bulbs burn about 65 Watts of power, sometimes more. A chandelier can use well over 1000 Watts of power depending on the number of bulbs. By switching over to energy efficient light bulbs, you can cut the cut the energy use of the lighting fixtures by as much as 90%! CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs), use on average 25% of the power that a normal incandescent light bulb burns. LED light bulbs are a new technology that can be even more efficient, running on an average of 10% the power used by an incandescent light bulb.

Lighting Automation and Dimming: Lighting automation used to be an option that was only available to our elite, high-end clients. New technologies have brought the cost down significantly and made it an option that can greatly enhance the comfort of a home. Dimming a lighting circuit reduces energy consumption, and adds significantly to the life of the bulb. If used in conjunction with energy efficient bulbs, your client might not ever have to change a light bulb again! If the designer works closely with the lighting automation company, together they can create scenes that save energy and highlight the details of the designer’s work. This can be done by highlighting a beautiful stone countertop or illuminating art on the walls.

Total light Control: This is where you really start to make an impact on the power bill. In common areas where there are a lot of windows, suggest automated shade control to your clients. To do this you will rely heavily on the knowledge of your subcontractors handling the home automation and lighting control. If designed correctly using daylight sensors and timers, automated window treatments will greatly reduce the solar heat gain from direct sunlight. By doing this you reduce the demand on the AC/Heater, which is your biggest power draw in any home. This will also help protect the beautiful furniture and elegant flooring that you install in your homes.

These are 3 simple steps that will make a significant impact on the power use of any project. As we move forward into these eco-friendly times, suggest these options to your clients. Although it can cost a little money up front, in the end these investments into the home will pay for themselves and eventually even make money for your clients.

For more information, please contact Jim Diez at Southwest Audio Visual, 858-324-1704 or