Not Sure how to Read New Light Bulb Labels? Don’t Worry, There’s an App for That

 In a recent blog post, Penni McLean-Conner of NSTAR, highlighted the tremendous innovation spurred on by the new EISA standards enacted on January 1. The standards have truly brought about the biggest evolution in the lighting industry since Edison was around.  Some of this change has not been so welcomed.  In her post Conner explains,

“Another important change brought about by the EISA will be a focus on comparing bulbs based on light output, or lumens, rather than relying solely on the traditional comparison of electricity use measured in watts. That straight-forward measurement is an apples-to-apples comparison consumers will warm up to over time.”

But with the advent of technology there is no reason for consumers to have to take time to warm up to these new light bulb changes. We all have the best teaching tools right in our back pockets – our smart phones.

While Fido still ranks high as man’s best friend, smartphones aren’t too far behind. These days, we use our smartphones for entertainment, instant answers, social connections, photos, and driving routes.

A rapidly increasing segment of the population favors smartphones over desktops for Internet access. Since 2010, the number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown a staggering 45 percent, according to a recent Nielsen study.

App downloaders report having an average of 33 apps on their mobile phone, up 22 percent, the study says. And it’s not just about Angry Birds anymore. Being social, local and mobile (“So-Lo-Mo”) all at once has clear advantages way beyond entertainment applications. Apps are changing consumer behavior and generating real, long-lasting benefits, including saving energy and money.

One such app, Light Bulb Finder empowers users to make informed decisions that meet their own needs and priorities. Named “Best Overall App” by the EPA, users get instant recommendations for energy-efficient light bulbs with the right fit, style and light quality.

Through utility partnerships such as Mass Save, users also can use the app to access local retailer discounts and other energy-efficiency incentives and information. Efficiency program administrators can contact the app’s creator, Eco Hatchery, to see how they can customize the app to meet its specific needs. So while Fido is out fetching a bone, the Light Bulb Finder app can fetch over $100 in annual energy savings per household. That’s money that most American families would be happy to use for something else.

Saving with efficient lighting is just the start. The Alliance to Save Energy’s “Top 5 Energy-Efficiency Smartphone Apps” includes a vampire power calculator and an app that controls your home thermostat. AT&T’s “Power Your Future” contest put the spotlight on apps such as GoodGuide that helps consumers discover whether products are safe, produced in a sustainable manner and socially responsible. Another app, People Power, tests energy knowledge and compares homes against those of other users.

These days, nothing takes long to learn with a smart phone in your hand, and apps are one of the best tools we have to advance consumer education about high efficient lighting. So when you’re looking to take a break from “Words with Friends”,  try savings with energy efficiency.

Andrea Nylund, Principal, Eco Hatchery, developer of efficiency software and mobile apps.  Follow Light Bulb Finder on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/LightBulbFinder

 


Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) is a non-profit organization that transforms the way we use and think about energy.  NEEP was founded in 1996 as a non-profit whose mission is to serve the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to accelerate energy efficiency in the building sector through public policy, program strategies and education. Our vision is that the region will fully embrace energy efficiency as a cornerstone of sustainable energy policy to help achieve a cleaner environment and a more reliable and affordable energy system. Read more from this author


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