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Energy Efficiency Wins Top Prize at EPA App Contest

November 23, 2011 - 11:11am

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The winner of best overall app at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Apps for the Environment. | Video courtesy of Light Bulb Finder.

Quick, if I want to replace a 60-watt incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient fluorescent or LED bulb, what wattage should I choose to keep the same level of illumination? If you don’t know, there’s now an app for that.  The winner of best overall app at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Apps for the Environment is called Light Bulb Finder, a free iOS and Android application that helps a user choose the energy efficient bulbs that best match their home’s current lighting conditions.  

For example, if I want to replace an open sconce, 5” diameter globe bulb in my bathroom with a standard base and a power of 60 watts, Light Bulb Finder recommends an ENERGY STAR 14-watt compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) that fits my wall sconce. Even better, the app estimates the energy savings from changing the bulb, and how long it will take for the bulb to pay for itself.  I can then save the bulb to my shopping list, or order it directly via the app. Savings will vary from bulb to bulb, but my 14-watt CFL will save me about $10 in the first year, which is about how much the bulb costs.  My new CFL should also last several times longer than the incandescent bulb it replaced.
 
Light Bulb Finder is the creation of Andrea Nylund and Adam Borut at Eco Hatchery, a sustainability software and services firm.  In addition to making it as easy as possible for people to switch to efficient lighting, Eco Hatchery is working with utility companies and local governments to include localized information about energy efficiency incentives. For users in Massachusetts, Light Bulb Finder includes information about state rebates for efficient lighting, while in Philadelphia the app advertises locally available whole house energy audits.
 
Light Bulb Finder demonstrates the power of local data to help consumers make smart, energy efficient decisions.  The app uses electricity cost data from the Energy Information Administration, data about carbon emissions from the EPA, and light bulb data from ENERGY STAR.  Apps and other technologies are making it easier to save money by saving energy!

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