Energy Saving


Baxter Brewing – Expanding Efficiently

We were thrilled to see our customer Baxter Brewing featured in April’s edition of Lewiston Auburn Magazine (pp 34-46). It’s exciting to see a local business expanding, and doing so with sustainability as central to their plans. As we work with Luke to design the lighting for their expanded operations, we’re looking into alternatives like  energy-efficient lighting (LED and CFL options), motion controlled sensors, etc.

Many of our customers are becoming interested in energy-efficient lighting. Our customers are learning that energy efficiency is not just good for the environment and for the soul, but good for the bottom line as well.


Check it out – featured expert in LA Magazine

We’re a featured expert in this month’s L/A Magazine!  Explore expert previews of 2013 Construction & Design trends from us, and others, in this month’s edition. It seems we’re all in agreement that energy efficiency is the leading L/A trend.

Any easy way for anyone to jump on the energy efficiency bandwagon is by switching to LED lights.

If you don’t already subscribe to L/A Magazine, you should. It’s packed with stories on local trends, people, entertainment, etc. I look forward to receiving each issue, and know you will too



LED light bulbs save money

LED light bulbs are a great way to be more energy-efficient.  Although they are more expensive to purchase, their long-term savings can be worth the investment.

LED bulbs last longer than incandescent, so you don’t have to replace them as often. They also don’t produce as much heat, which can translate to air conditioning savings in the summer. In Entrepreneur’s December 2012 issue, the article How I saved $24,000 has Chris Manning of Travaasa Experiential Resorts citing that an investment of $7,500 to replace 100 incandescent bulbs in a 2,000 square foot art gallery saved them $24,000.

If you are looking to replace your incandescent bulbs, LEDs can be a great money-saving alternative.


Unplugging made easy

We love to give tips on how to save energy – and thus lower your electricity bill. There is no better way than simply not plugging in to begin with.  But let’s face it…if you are anything like me, the convenience of leaving an appliance (my mobile phone) plugged in often outweighs the hassle of unplugging it. But now, there is a nifty little gadget called the Plug Out Plug Organizer that makes unplugging easy. Once my phone is charged, I can unplug, but snap my plug into the organizer for easy access when I once again need a charge. Best of all, it’s less than $10 and comes in two color schemes.


Retrofits – planning for the future

Today, I’m catching up on some industry magazines. I’m struck by, and thrilled by, the dominance energy-efficiency and alternative energy articles are playing  in these magazines. I am one of the 95% of Americans that think energy efficiency is an important issue and the 89% of Americans that pay active attention to their energy consumption. While I’d like to claim that its green idealism on my part, frankly it makes sense for my wallet.

Buildings use 40% of energy and emit 40% of greenhouse gases worldwide – and 50% of buildings in use today will still be in use in 2050.  A recent report from Pike Research shows that retrofits can provide 10% to 50% in energy savings. This is a big tangible savings alongside those feel good benefits like reducing greenhouse gas reductions, gaining energy independence, green branding for your business, property valuation, and even employee productivity.

You may remember that last month I wrote about a couple of steps I was taking to improve my energy efficiency – installing a Nest learning thermostat and doing some CFL light bulb replacements. I’m happy to report that I’m saving about 30% on my gas & electric bill compared to last year!

If you are a building owner – commercial or residential – I encourage you to take an active look at what you can do. Here are a few tips/ideas:

  • Install programmable building controls that enable systems to provide light, head and cooling to building spaces only when they are occupied. For control systems that are already time-programmed, revisit the schedule to make sure it still reflects actual occupancy periods. You could save 10%+.
  • Energy-efficient lighting uses less energy and generates less heat, reducing your costs and easing the strain on your HVAC systems. Reduce lighting loads with advanced fluorescent and LED technology. Compact fluorescents use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • In areas where its acceptable, dim lights and consider programmable dimmer controls. You could see energy savings of nearly 20 percent.
  • Schedule office cleaning and other services during regular work hours. This way lights, heating, and air conditioning don’t need to be left on at night.
  • Turn off computer monitors at night. A screen saver isn’t an energy saver – have your employees turn off their monitors, and computers (if possible) at night.
  • Use energy-star rated equipment and appliances – and don’t forget to have your IT department use energy-star rated servers in your server room too.

It’s not too late for new year’s resolutions – get more energy efficient

The tree is down, the lights taken off the house, and those new year’s resolutions….well, if you’re anything like me, the year started with good intentions but somehow honoring my resolutions hasn’t kicked in yet. But it’s not too late!

One easy resolution that I’m taking action on this week – getting more energy efficient. The first step I took was installing my new Nest – the learning thermostat.  Did you know that heating and cooling costs typically make up 50% of your energy bill? This made me take action. I wanted a thermostat that would work for me – learn my schedule and program itself!  The EPA says a properly programmed thermostat can cut 20% off your heating and cooling bill.  Now that Nest will learn my schedule, rather than me remembering to turn the thermostat up and down, I’m looking forward to that 20% savings. Not only is it helping the environment, but that’s money that stays in my wallet.

Today’s agenda – switching to more energy efficient light bulbs. There are two main types of energy efficient bulbs – CFLs (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diode). Although I like LED’s better, well, I just can’t afford them. So, I’m going with CFLs. Energy Star rated CFLs not only save money, but typically pay for themselves in just 6 months. Here are some of the benefits of CFLs:

  • Use 75% less energy (saving up to $100/yr per home)
  • Last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • Are cooler to the touch

Changing just one bulb will save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb. Changing 5 bulbs can save you $200 or more over the lifetime of the bulbs. The typical household has at least 30 lightbulbs – that’s more than $1200 in savings! Efficiency Maine’s Residential Lighting Program worked with manufacturers and lighting retailers to reduce the prices of energy-efficient lighting products – even more savings for us!  Some of the retailers in the Lewiston/Auburn area offering discounted CFLs include: Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Aubuchon Hardware, TruValue Hardware, Ace Hardware, Hannaford Brothers, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Wal-mart.

To learn more about CFLs and to calculate your savings, visit the Energy Star website. I’m off to the store to pick up some bulbs…..