by Rob Cox, December 23, 2009
Green Pool Lighting ~ Watts Happening
The modern world is an electrified world. The light bulb, in particular, profoundly changed human existence by illuminating the night and making it hospitable to a wide range of human activity. The incandescent light bulb, invented in the late nineteenth century is widely credited to Thomas Edison. Great invention without a doubt. As with most inventions, however, the light bulb was only made better. Flourescent bulbs, then compact flourescent bulbs, and now...the LED bulb! Several decades later, LED lights are now standard issue for stoplights and taillights...and pool lights!
Ed Hammer invented the first Compact Flourescent bulb in the early 70s, at the height of the energy crisis. Compact flourescent bulbs,. or CFLs are a must around the house. At a cost of under $5 each, they can save hundreds of dollars per year on your electrical bill. But not only do they save you money, using compact flourescent bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs reduces your demand on the electrical grid. Coincidentally, Thomas Edison is also credited with the design of the US electric grid, or the interconnected nature of electrical power flowing around the country. Reducing demand on "the Grid" means that less resources are used to create power, with less pollution as a result.
Now, what I really want to talk about is using LED bulbs in your swimming pool. Invented by Nick Holonyak, in the 1960s, LED bulbs use less wattage, usually under 10 watts. That's a lot less than a 500 watt bulb! LED pool bulbs also last nearly forever! A light emitting diode won't burn out like the tungsten filament in a regular bulb. LED bulbs are also much brighter! Lower wattage means fewer amps required to operate your lighting around the pool. This means less energy consumption and less dollars flying out of your pocket.
Sure LED pool bulbs are more expensive, but how many times do you want to change that bulb? Not only are they brighter, but most LED pool light bulbs have the ability to change colors, by flipping the switch. Go from cool blue to hot red in an instant! 7 colors can be used on the ColorSplash LED bulb, or set it to cycle between all colors. Available to fit most pool and spa lights, the price on LED pool bulbs has come down a lot in the last few years. They were around $350 each, but are now under $200 for the LED pool bulb and just over $100 for the spa bulb. Expected life span is 100,000 hours! You can even use them indoors.
Other ways to save energy include solar lighting. Not very bright, but very Free! With no demand on the 'ol Grid! Solar Accent Lighting is great for outdoor or pathway lighting, or for creating a glow around the pool. Floating solar pool lights are an easy alternative to wall installed traditional pool lights, and work great on above ground pools. Using CFL bulbs on the patio or porch lights is a great way to be green, especially if you leave these lights on late into the night. Installing timers on these outdoor lights can also turn your neighbors "green" with envy and appreciation.
Finally, if your pool still operates this time of year, be green and run the pump a bit less than you normally would during the summer. Some pools may need only 4 hours per day of filter run time. By experimenting with a pool pump timer clock, stepping it down an hour every few days, you should notice when the water begins to become a bit hazy or cloudy. At this point step it back up one hour, and you should be good to go! Saving electricity is smart and every little bit helps!