Wellness Wednesday: BFFs & LEDs

Wellness Wednesday has surprisingly been a challenge for me. I thought it would be easy to make the link between personal wellness and happenings in the clean energy world because, to me, the two are so closely tied together; however, it seems that it is not a widely publicized topic. Good and bad. Good because I feel like we can pave the way in exploring this topic and bad because it requires that extra bit of research on my end! With that being said, I encourage you to send any ‘Wellness Wednesday’ ideas to me at mhoff@pesc.com - I want to make sure I am addressing what interests our readers! In the meantime, you will have to hear a lot about my personal life adventure of buying and greening my home.
Meet my BFF, IKEA. She’s modern. She’s hip. Yep, she’s my Best Frugal Find and she’s into energy efficiency. It’s like we were meant to be. I just wish she lived a tad bit closer but thank goodness for the Internet because we are able to keep in touch!

Okay, yes. I have lost my mind but to be fair I am drafting this blog on a misty, October Friday when all I can think about is organic hot chocolate, curling up next to the fireplace, and listening to Celine Dion (note to editor: do not remove this Celine reference - I like her and I am not ashamed). Note from editor: I am ashamed for you. 

Back to IKEA.  A recent article let me know that my BFF has a goal to sell only LED lamps and bulbs by 2016. Like Oprah, she really wants people to live their best life and feels that saving energy, slicing utility bills, and cutting carbon emissions are a big piece of that pie. IKEA as a company is strongly committed to being a leader when it comes to energy efficiency – check out the page on Climate Change. I too like to lead by example and feel that as a new home owner it is important to do my part in making my space energy efficient to not only put money back in my pocket but to protect our environment for generations to come.

‘If all IKEA customers around the world took out one traditional light bulb and replaced it with a new LED bulb that would save enough energy to power up a city with one million people.’ – James Futcher, IKEA Product Developer

Energy efficiency is easy and can be cheap thanks to no-cost, low-cost fixes and BFFs like IKEA. Just one bulb per household?! Come on, I think we can all do better than that. I know I plan to. Besides cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, LEDs also cut down on exposure to toxic substances because they are mercury free, unlike traditional incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs. Sure LEDs still cost more upfront, but thanks to a long life and companies like IKEA LEDs will most definitely save you in the long run.

Light bulb projected lifespan
50,000 hours
10,000 hours
1,200 hours
Watts per bulb (equiv. 60 watts)
Cost per bulb
KWh of electricity used over 
50,000 hours
300 500
Cost of electricity (@ 0.10per KWh)
Bulbs needed for 50k hours of use
Equivalent 50k hours bulb expense
Total cost for 50k hours

Energy Savings over 50,000 hours, assuming 25 bulbs per household:
Total cost for 25 bulbs
Savings to household by switching 
from incandescents

Healthy wallet, healthy home, healthy planet - just another win on this Wellness Wednesday.

photo credit: slimmer_jimmer via photopin cc

Huge IKEA Warehouse To Get Rooftop Solar

Every six months or so, my family heads south from Fresno on Interstate 5. We summit the Grapevine and drop down into the massiveness that is Southern California as we make our way to my sister-in-law's home in Fontana.

Each trip takes us past the 1.8 million-square-foot IKEA warehouse at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley. That's usually where, if it's summer, I turn off the air conditioner to avoid overheating as we slog up the hill.

It gets hot in the Valley, and the sun bears down relentlessly in the summer. IKEA plans to harness some of that sun power by installing rooftop solar on that huge warehouse - and seven stores in California.

When finished, the 7,980 panels on the Tejon distribution center will generate 2.8 million kilowatt hours annually, enough to power 251 houses. It also is equivalent to eliminating 2,278 tons of carbon dioxide or removing 395 cars from the road, IKEA said in this press release.

The retailer also plans to install solar energy systems at stores in Burbank, Costa Mesa, Covina, East Palo Alto, Emeryville, West Sacramento and San Diego.

Collectively, the eight buildings comprise nearly 90% of the IKEA presence in California, and will total 4.5 megawatts of solar-generating capacity, nearly 20,000 panels, and an annual output of 6.65 million kilowatt hours of electricity. That equates to reducing 5,268 tons of carbon dioxide in California – equaling the emissions of 914 cars or providing 580 homes electricity yearly.

Rooftop solar is a key part of the green-jobs initiative of incoming governor Jerry Brown, but it also makes sense in other ways. Warehouses cover vast amounts of the Inland Empire portion of Southern California - and more of those rooftops are doing double duty as solar generators.

The San Joaquin Valley has some rooftop systems, but the opportunity exists for much more. Fresno and Tulare counties, because they are in the middle of the state, are a magnet for companies looking to site a central distribution center.

Gap Inc. installed a solar-energy system on its warehouse in Fresno in 2008, but there are many other large distribution centers that could follow its lead and help make the Valley a leader in rooftop solar.

Photo of IKEA warehouse by bakersfield.com