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What the heck is a negawatt you might ask...

From GreenTrust, the free encyclopedia.

It hasn’t yet made it into the Webster’s Dictionary, but you will find the following definition of “negawatt” and the following quotes on the internet:

Negawatt (n) - a measure of energy efficiency; a unit in watts of energy saved.

"Every negawatt generated has the potential to increase our wealth and health as few other investments can. Negawatts enable us to do more with less and the opportunities are almost boundless. Energy efficiency is the great new energy resource of our future and a vital key to a sustainable environment."

The word “negawatt” was coined by Amory Lovins, a Harvard and Oxford-educated experimental physicist who is CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute and a Time Magazine “Hero of the Planet”. In 1989 Lovins gave the keynote address at a Green Energy Conference in Montreal . You can read this fascinating address on the web; it is called “The Negawatt Revolution: Solving the CO2 problem”.

Lovins makes the case, very persuasively, that enormous amounts of energy are wasted in North America . ($300 billion per year in the U.S. and $30 billion per year in Canada ) By increasing our energy efficiency we can “generate” large amounts of power without building any new power plants or buying any fuel for existing plants.

One area that Lovins targets as having great potential for negawatt generation is lighting.

According to Lovins, “Roughly half of U.S. and Canadian lighting energy is in fluorescent systems. There is a package of things you can do to them that will save 70 to 90 percent of their electricity . . . The first thing you normally do is to install above the lamps a specially shaped, computer-designed reflector, made of a very shiny kind of metal that is precisely bent and installed in a certain shape. The reflector roughly doubles the optical efficiency of the fixture. That is, you can remove half the lamps, and still get the same amount of light underneath that you started with.“

“The ballast -- the device that controls the current to the lamps -- can be replaced with a remotely-dimmable high frequency electronic ballast. This is electronic Wonder bread: it saves electricity nine ways. The saving from the ballast is typically 50 to 90 percent”.

Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs is another tremendous source of negawatts. Compact fluorescents are available in all sizes and shapes. They are generally four times more efficient than regular light bulbs (14 watts replaces a 75 watt incandescent) and last ten times longer.

“Think of such a compact bulb, with 14 watts replacing 75, as a 61 negawatt power plant. By substituting 14 watts for 75 watts, you are sending 61 unused watts -- or negawatts -- back to the electric company, who can sell the electricity saved to someone else without having to make it all over again”, says Lovins.

Of course generating negawatts also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves money for consumers.

If you would like to generate some negawatts and save on your electric bills, consider replacing your most-used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescent bulbs are available in hardware and department stores everywhere . Prices vary quite a bit so it pays to shop around.

There are many other ways to save energy and increase energy efficiency, one prime example is solar thermal.  Pre-heating your hot water with the sun can be a very affordable way to produce some negawatts.  With the current federal tax credits it is even more affordable.  Call us today for your free estimate and start producing some negawatts of your own!






Andy Wollyung and Ed Woll Control Alt Energy, LLC



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