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The more you know, the more you save: Case study on Sambalatte Torrefazione

Luiz Oliveira is the owner of a popular local coffee shop called Sambalatte Torrefazione. In the summer of 2011 Luiz noticed that his AC system was having a hard time keeping up with their cooling needs. The building is newer (in Boca Park), so Luiz and his staff started investigating what could be causing this problem. What Luiz learned is that lighting can be a major factor in one’s energy bill!

Sambalatte has 100 outlets in their store and when Luiz’s staff member pointed a laser thermometer (which they use to take temperature for coffee) at one of the bulbs, he discovered it was burning at 200 degrees! Incandescent lighting uses a filament that creates light through heat- the filament itself burns at around 4500 degrees Fahrenheit and gives off ambient temperatures of 115 to 260 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the wattage. Luiz had 100 40-watt light bulbs giving off 200 degrees each.

His solution was to change out the lighting to 7-watt LED light bulbs that give off almost no heat. According to Energy Star, for every 15 incandescent light bulbs that you change out for highly efficient CFLs, you will save $600 over the life span of the bulbs! Overall Luiz spent $2,700 on a lighting upgrade with a result of $300 a month in savings! By buying bulbs that use less energy and remain at a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Luiz was able to pay off his investment in less than a year and put those savings back into his growing business.

Breaking down Luiz's bill: Before & After

1. 40 watts x 100 light bulbs = 4000 watts
2. 4000 watts x 12 hours/day = 48,000 watts/day
3. 48,000 watts/day ÷ 1000 = 48 kWh a day
4. 48 kWh x $0.079= $3.79
5. $3.79 x 30 days = $113.76 a month spent on lighting before considering the stress it adds on your AC unit.

1. 7 watts x 100 light bulbs = 700 watts
2. 700 watts x 12 hours/day = 8,400 watts/day
3. 8,400 watts/day ÷ 1000 = 8.4 kWh a day
4. 8.4 kWh x $0.079= $0.66
5. $0.66 x 30 days = $19.8 a month spent on lighting after the upgrade, with very little effect on indoor temperatures.

Plug your own numbers into this formula and see for yourself! If you want to know what you use for home and business keep in mind that commercial energy is around $0.79 per kWh and residential is about $0.11 per kWh.

Tips and facts from EnergyStar.Gov

* Reducing the need to cool your home or business by one degree can save 3% on cooling costs.

*Lighting consumes 25% - 30% of energy in commercial buildings.

* On average, 30% of energy usage in commercial and industrial facilities is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

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