Enerlites HOSS: an occupancy sensor switch without ground

The Enerlites Top Greener HOSS is an occupancy sensor switch without ground wire requirements, and it’s pretty cheap too, at $12. A Lutron switch costs almost twice as much.

But the HOSS does come with some compromises. The HOSS does require a neutral (white) wire. But most switch boxes will have the whites in there and accessible, so that’s not a big deal. It’s also a bit trickier to wire than a Lutron, and it doesn’t look as nice.

That said, it’s nice to have an option for older houses that may not have a ground connection available. People in older houses need energy savings too. Read more

My favorite LED bulbs for 2014

After talking about LEDs last week, a friend asked what my favorite LED bulbs today are. I’m not sure I would say I dislike any of the bulbs that are widely available today, but I do have two favorites.

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My household’s energy usage dropped 19% in 2011

I got a letter from my utility company Saturday morning. Inside was a chart, comparing our household’s energy usage from 2010 and 2011. It dropped 19 percent.

Considering our total bill for 2011 was over $900, that’s hardly chump change. Read more

How computer and energy technology don’t relate

Bill Gates says the rapid advance of computers created unreasonable expectations for the advancement of energy technology. The argument makes sense. And while desktop computers did advance very quickly, I think people have a misconception of even how quickly computers developed–which makes it worse, of course. Some people seem to believe the computer was invented by IBM and Microsoft in 1981. Far be it from Gates to lead people to believe otherwise, but the direct ancestors of modern desktop computing date to the early 1970s, and the groundwork for even that dates to the 1940s, at the very latest.
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Review: The Lutron MS-OPS2 occupancy sensor switch

I installed a Lutron occupancy sensor switch this weekend. It detects you entering the room, turns the lights on, then turns them off five minutes after it detects nobody is in the room. The timeout period is adjustable. It comes in four models: MS-OPS2-WH (white), -AL (almond), -LA (light almond), and -IV (ivory) and retails for $29.

Installation was surprisingly easy–it took about 15 minutes, which is about how long it takes me to change a regular switch, and unlike most models in its price range it works with modern CFL and LED lighting, but I recommend some prep work ahead of time. Read more

LED lighting gets cheaper

I saw this week on Cnet that Pharox is selling basic, bare-bones LEDs direct from its web site, hoping to get consumers to try out LED bulbs.

The Pharox 300 is a 6 watt, 360 lumen bulb priced at $6.95.

The Pharox 200 is a 5 watt, 240 lumen bulb priced at $4.95.

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