Shopping for Lights? Look for Lumens Not Watts!

When you’re shopping for lightbulbs, compare lumens to be sure you’re getting the amount of light, or level of brightness, you want. Today’s Lighting Facts Label will make it easy to compare bulb brightness, color, life, and estimated annual operating cost.

Look for Lumens, Not Watts

Lumens and watts are different, which can make it harder to figure out what type of bulb to buy. For decades, consumers have bought incandescent lights based on watts, which gives a good indication of the brightness of the bulb. 

The more watts, the brighter the bulb. The rules have changed. An LED that uses 60 watts is in no way comparable to an incandescent bulb that uses 60 watts. LEDs are designed to use less energy and naturally have a lower watt rating. This means it’s useless to used to determine brightness. 

What’s a Lumen?

Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb, the higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Lumens provide a more accurate indication of the amount of light the bulb will produce.

The brightness, or lumen levels of lights in your home may vary widely. If you want something dimmer, go for less lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens. Here’s a rule of thumb when replacing bulbs:

  • Replace a 100-W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that
    gives you about 1,600 lumens
  • Replace a 75-W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 1,100 lumens
  • Replace a 60-W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 800 lumens
  • Replace a 40-W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 450 lumens.
What Should I Look for? The Lighting Facts Label

The label clearly provides the lumens (lm)—or brightness—of the bulb, estimated operating cost for the year, and the color of the light (from warm/yellowish, to white to cool/blue). 

To learn more about lighting options, visit us at union-power.com/lighting.

Let’s Talk about Energy- Part II

For part two of our Energy Talk series, we will discuss insulation and ways to keep your home warm in winter months. 

Insulation

Heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home could be very large if the insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. If the attic hatch is located above a conditioned space, check to see if it is at least as heavily insulated as the attic, is weather stripped, and closes tightly. In the attic, determine whether openings for items such as pipes, ductwork, and chimneys are sealed. Seal any gaps with an expanding foam caulk or some other permanent sealant. Be sure to use a non-combustible sealant when sealing gaps around chimneys or other heat producing devices.

Selecting the proper R-value (thermal resistance) is key to proper insulation within your home. An R-value of R30 to R60 is recommended for most attics, while a value of R22 to R38 is the proper level for ceilings and floors. Walls and cavities should be insulated at a minimum of R13. If the sub-space is enclosed and contains heating or cooling appliances, air ducts or plumbing, you should probably insulate the sub-space perimeter rather than the living space floor. Your water heater, hot water pipes, and furnace ducts should all be insulated. Finally, if your crawlspace is open to the exterior, determine whether there is insulation under the living area flooring.

Inspect Heating and Cooling Equipment

Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a forced-air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. Generally, you should change them about once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. Have a professional check and clean your equipment once a year.

If the unit is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing your system with one of the newer, energy-efficient units. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition.

If you are uncertain of your audit’s finding, contact one of our Energy Specialist’s at 704-289-3145 to schedule an in-home energy audit. Visit our Energy Center at union-power.com to obtain energy savings tips and tools.  

2017 Bright Ideas Grants awarded in Union County

– More than 3,800 Union County students will benefit from the Bright Ideas grants awarded by Union Power Cooperative during surprise visits to classrooms in November and December. Union Power Cooperative granted $22,000 this year to area teachers for their “bright ideas.”

The Bright Ideas grant program, sponsored by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, strives to improve education in North Carolina classrooms. Grants of up to $2,000 are awarded to teachers for innovative, classroom-based projects in grades K-12 that would not otherwise be funded. Union Power congratulates Union County winners:

  • Tiffany Medford & Tracy Price from Piedmont High won $2,000 for their project, “Glass Transformations”;
  • Susan Samsel & Cheryl Nebel from Wolfe School won $1,222 for their project, “Inclusive Tablet Time”;
  • Teresa Higgins from Wingate Elementary won $135 for her project “Lighting up the Minds Eye”;
  • Joya Wortham from Wingate Elementary won $508 for her project “My Sisters Keeper”;
  • Adam Haas from Rocky River Elementary won $1,000 for his project “Observing the Unseen”;
  • Andrew Starnes & Alicia Swackhamer from Union Virtual won $484 for their project “Seeing with my own Eyes, Virtually Everywhere”;
  • Eddie Mull from Sun Valley High won $1569 for his project “Solar Electric Pet Shelter”;
  • Chris Roncone & Stacy Corday from Marvin Ridge High won $1797 for their project “Souper Students Helping the Hungry”;
  • Marianne Conti, Sarah Mintz, Kelly Hagerman, Amanda Ball & Tracy Vargas from Poplin Elementary won $500 for their project “Thankful Thursdays”; and
  • Susan Helms, Stacy Ferguson & Morgan Miles from Union Academy High won $1750 for their project “The Trail of Native Americans on School Grounds”.

“Through these innovative and creative ideas, students are engaged in learning in the classroom. We are thankful we can help strengthen our communities through programs like Bright Ideas”, said Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Union Power, Carrie Stroud.

View pictures of our 2017-2018 winners on the Bright Ideas page of our website. 

2017 Bright Ideas Grants awarded in Stanly County

More than 560 Stanly County students will benefit from the Bright Ideas grants awarded by Union Power Cooperative during surprise visits to classrooms in November and December. Union Power Cooperative granted $22,000 this year to area teachers for their “bright ideas.”

The Bright Ideas grant program, sponsored by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, strives to improve education in North Carolina classrooms. Grants of up to $2,000 are awarded to teachers for innovative, classroom-based projects in grades K-12 that would not otherwise be funded. Union Power congratulates Stanly County winners:

  • Amber Flamer from Central Elementary won $1,500 for her project, “Muddy Sneakers, the Joy of Learning Outside”;
  • Hannah Griffin from Oakboro Choice S.T.E.M. won $1,000 for her project “Seeds of Sustainability at Oakboro Choice STEM”; and
  • Michelle Meehan from West Stanly Middle won $500 for her project “West Stanly Book Ninjas”.

“Through these innovative and creative ideas, students are engaged in learning in the classroom. We are thankful we can help strengthen our communities through programs like Bright Ideas”, said Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Union Power, Carrie Stroud.

Visit the Bright Ideas page of our website to view pictures of this year’s winners.