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OCTOBER 2012 PAGE 5 LET’S SAVE ENERGY TOGETHER AARP DRIVER SAFETY TIP


CO-OP


Saving money is no joke New lighting standards mean big savings ahead


BY JOHN DRAKE cooperative energy auditor


W


e’ve all heard the joke about how many people it takes to change a lightbulb. While the humor here sometimes leaves


a bit to be desired, the underlying principle— simple changes can needlessly get complicat- ed—stays the same.


Nowadays the average home contains around 40 light fixtures, according to the U.S. Depart- ment of Energy (DOE). Thanks to a series of staggered federal standards—and more lighting choices than ever before— the aver- age homeowner could save $50 every year by simply using more energy efficient lightbulbs.


This year, the first of several federal lightbulb efficiency standards kicked in. These stan- dards require manufacturers to stop making 100-watt incandescent bulbs in favor of ones that use less electricity to produce the same amount of light (lumens). This doesn’t mean the outmoded bulbs went away—you can still find traditional lightbulbs at stores around town. But keep in mind that those traditional incandescent bulbs waste 90 percent of your lighting costs as heat.


If you don’t want to stray too far from the bulbs you’re used to, consider halogen incandescent lightbulbs. Color options and dimming abilities are about the same as be- fore, but they cut energy consumption by 25 percent and last three times longer.


Another style that your friends at Choctaw Electric have championed for years is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). These swirly bulbs slash energy use by 75 percent com- pared to traditional incandescent bulbs and they last up to 10 times longer.


For folks who don’t like the pigtail CFL shape or those who worry about the very small amount of mercury in these bulbs, another,


brighter option looms on the horizon: light- emitting diodes (LEDs). These solid-state products have been used in electronics since the 1960s, and manufacturers are ramping up efforts to transform them into the perfect replacement bulb. LEDs require 75 percent to 80 percent less energy than traditional incan- descent bulbs and can last 25 times longer— by far the longest lifespan yet.


The DOE estimates it’ll take more than six years for a $40, 800-lumen (60-watt-equiv- alent) LED to pay for itself. But investments in manufacturing and increased demand should help drive down costs. By 2021, LED prices are expected to drop by a factor of 10. That’s good news for anyone who enjoys the thought of only changing a lightbulb once every 20 years or so.


In January 2013, a new set of lightbulb ef- ficiency standards will fall into place. These standards will halt the production of inef- ficient 75-watt incandescent bulbs. One year later, household lightbulbs using between 40-watt to 100-watt must consume at least 28 percent less energy than classic bulbs. This move is expected to save U.S. consumers an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion in lighting costs annually.


So what’s the punch line? Every time you change a lightbulb, buy a more efficient re- placement. No matter which kind you opt for, you’ll save money every time you flip a light switch—and that’s no joke!


To visit with a CEC energy use specialist about energy use, free energy audits or loans for energy efficient appliances, please contact John Drake or Mark Zachary at 800-780- 6486, ext. 233.


Lucky Account # 6632400. If this number matches the account number on your bill, please call 800-780-6486 for a $25 bill credit.


New Vehicle Technology


Every year new technology is being added to our vehicles. It’s important that you understand how to use new technology before driving a new vehicle so that it is not a distraction. Here is a list of a few of the new safety technologies being used on some of today’s vehicles.


 Daytime running lights. These lights make it easier for others to see you.


Adaptive Cruise Control. Allows you to maintain the following distance you set when you engage the cruise control. If the vehicle ahead changes speed, your space ahead will also adjust.


Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Uses sensors to detect if a driver is about to lose control, and microprocessors automatically apply individual brakes and/or reduce power. ESC is most effective in lowering fatal single-vehicle crashes.


Collision Avoidance Systems. Alerts you to a backing hazard, or when another vehicles is in the rear blind zone.


Windshield Heads-Up Display. Speed reading appears in the driver’s windshield. Omits the need to glance down to check your speed.


Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Alerts you when tire pressure is low.


Navigation (GPS) Systems. Provides electronically displayed maps for your trips and gives verbal instructions as you travel your route.


On-Board Communications Assistance. Summons help at the touch of a button.


To schedule an AARP driver safety class please contact Brad Kendrick 800-780- 6486, ext 248.


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