In early 2007 we added an extension to our home. We put 15 halogen down lights in the ceiling, small lights with a transformer, and wired in. All lights needed a heat insulation cover to reduce the risk of roof fire.
Cost per down light $27
Heat insulation cover $4
Total = $31/light + electrician time.
Fast forward to 2016, we decided to update our lights. Why? Because with the previous halogen lights we had our electrician round to replace 2-4 lights every 18 months. He advised us that new innovation and technology existed to reduce maintenance and energy bills and offering a 5 year warranty, and better brighter lighting!
We bit the bullet. We paid $21/light incl GST, no heat insulation covers were needed, no separate transformers were needed and all were 'plug ins' so a good handy man could safely change the lights as each down light was plugged into a power point in the ceiling like plugging an appliance into a wall power point.
The electrician advised us to keep all dockets for the 5 year to retain warranty - in that time you could travel from Earth to Mars and back 3 times or three quarters of the way to Pluto!
Now Comes the Really Interesting Part, Comparing Costs
LED Lights compared with halogen lights:
- Lower maintenance by 30%,
- Lower light cost by 30%/light.
- Massive fire risk reduction.
- Electrician visits reduced by 50% over 5 years.
In 2007 the energy use for 15 halogen lights was 750 watts/hr
In 2016 the energy use for 15 LED light was 144 watts/hr
A massive 80% reduction in energy costs 2007 and 2016 and better quality lighting.
Total savings using 15 LED lights approximately $1,484
(lights on 5hrs/day x 350 days/yr at 28c /KW) over 5
And this is only at current innovation levels as at 2016.
There will be many many more innovations in lighting over the next 5 years.
Innovative appliances can now do both washing and drying in one. In Australia, laundry space has always been much bigger than in many other countries who for years have incorporated the laundry into the kitchen. More Australians are now living in smaller spaces as unit and apartment living expands dramatically. Smaller laundries with smaller or no tubs is the new norm.
Not long along laundries had 70 litre tubs - big enough to wash a dog or small child. These days even 45 litre tubs are less common with many laundries not being defined as laundries anymore but are just a space provided with no tub.
Washing machines are becoming smaller too and yet still providing 3 or 5kg washing capacity. The savings are in the size of the motor its efficiency.
Moving on from this is the new wave of combo units to hit Australia in 2016. These washing and drier combinations claim to do a 5 kg wash and dry in less than 60 minutes. Only one power point is needed. Several machines are now priced under $980. Many machines also only come with cold water connection now.
However there are a number of issues to take into account before making the decision to switch.
Check out this article 'The Ultimate Laundry Convenience?' in Choice in 2014 before deciding if the washer-dryer route is the one for you.
Photo Attribution: By Sae1962 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A recent visit to Switzerland and in particular Lausanne revealed water stations from the 1800's still actively in use like in Paris where 1870's water fountains are still in use (See our earlier blog post).
In water drenched Europe, community water stations still exist and are extensively used by residents.
Recently, I gave a lecture on Sustainability at the University of Technology, Sydney to a class of students from Michigan State University. During question time they highlighted their disbelief that in the centre of Sydney there were very few water or no water fountains in the streets or on university campuses in a hot, dry country like Australia.
Water fountains are everywhere overseas including Michigan USA, where these students lived. They expected that in sunny Sydney there would be water stations everywhere.
In over 15 states in the USA there are laws now that require every floor level of commercial buildings over a certain size to provide drinking fountains at least one per floor in the building. Water for Health is a big push in parts of the USA.
Australia does not have any such laws.
On the 2nd February the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued an update.
El Nino is reducing and rains are expected over the next few months . The history since 1990, even though a short time shows that of the 26 El Nino events (hot and dry times) the following year there was a 40% chance of wet time (La Nina) and 50% chance of neither too hot or too wet with only a 10% chance of another El Nino.
Have a look at 'El Nino in Australia' a PDF education poster giving lots of El Nino facts about Australia
May be time to buy a brolly while there is no rush
That's all for us for our first post of 2016, watch out next time for more articles, tips and info about all things energy, water and sustainability....