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Energi Efficiency

Ergonomic Science Of Work Physiology & Work Demands

Work physiology is the science that studies how the human body responds to the physical stress of work or activity demands. These physiological responses are important in maintaining homeostasis in the body during work activities and reducing the adverse effects of physiological fatigue due to work. Homeostasis is defined as the maintenance of a constant or changing environment. In practical terms, it refers to the relatively constant internal environment of the human body during both stressed and relaxed conditions, due to many regulating anatomical and physiological systems. These organ systems and physiological responses regulate cellular metabolism, energy production, cellular waste product removal, voluntary muscle control, and the flow of blood and oxygen to working muscles. An understanding of the role of major organ systems in the human body during work activities and the relationships between work intensity and recovery intervals is essential to the science of ergonomics.

Metabolism
To accomplish work, the body requires energy, oxygen and nutrients. The human body consumes and uses carbohydrate, fat and protein nutrients to provide the required energy to maintain homeostasis both at rest and during work activity. During work, the primary nutrients utilized are fats and carbohydrates, with proteins contributing less than 5-15% of the total energy used. These nutrients, after having been converted to chemicals, enter the blood stream and circulate to the various internal organs and muscles. At the muscle sites, this chemical energy is converted into mechanical energy, or a muscle contraction, and heat. This process is known as metabolism.

Working muscle requires a constant supply of energy. The fundamental source of energy for these contractions is the high-energy Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) molecule. The ATP molecule is the most important energy carrying molecule in the muscle cell. The ATP compound consists of three parts: adenosine molecule, a ribose molecule and three phosphate molecules linked together by chemical bonds. The bonds linking the phosphate molecules are high-energy bonds and when these bonds are broken, large amounts of energy are released. This energy is then used for muscle contractions. The energy can be liberated from the ATP molecule by a process known as phosphorylation. This metabolic process is shown below. Phosphorylation is the process in which the Adenosine Triphosphate molecule is broken down by the enzyme ATPase into Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP), a phosphate molecule (Pi) and energy.
Aerobic Metabolism
The Adenosine Triphosphate needed for muscle work can be produced from either aerobic (with oxygen) metabolism or from anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. The aerobic metabolism of nutrients refers to the oxidation of glucose or glycogen molecules and fatty acids to form ATP, this process is called aerobic glycolysis. This metabolic pathway requires a continuous supply of blood in order to provide ongoing oxygen and nutrients.

A cardiovascular response to increased workload is to increase the amount of blood flowing to active muscle. However, it can take almost one minute for this response to be activated. Therefore, at the onset of most industrial tasks, or in cases of quick-high intensity tasks, it is not always possible to have adequate blood flow available to working muscles. When this occurs, the muscles switch to anaerobic metabolism.

Anaerobic Metabolism
The muscle cells can produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) or energy, without oxygen (anaerobic metabolism) by two methods: the first method is to break high-energy phosphate bonds in Creatine Phosphate (CP) molecules. The second method is by a process known as anaerobic glycolysis. Under anaerobic conditions, the simplest and thus immediate source of energy is through the use or production of the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) molecule by breaking high-energy phosphate bonds in the Creatine Phosphate (CP) molecule. The CP molecule donates a phosphate(P) to an ADP molecule to create an ATP molecule and energy. Creatine Kinase is the enzyme that initiates this reaction in the muscle

The second anaerobic metabolic process for energy synthesis is called anaerobic glycolysis. This process also generates a limited amount of energy, but does so by breaking the chemical bonds in the breakdown of glucose to lactic acid. Anaerobic glycolysis can only produce enough ATP or usable energy for a few minutes. In this method, however, the supply of CP is quickly depleted in under 1 minute. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy for up to four minute. Only the aerobic glycolysis process can provide a sustained supply of energy to working muscles. With both anaerobic processes, work can only be sustained for short periods because is a limited supply of available ATP and CP molecules in the muscle cells

Muscle Fatigue
When skeletal muscle is continually stimulated, the force or tension that is developed by the muscle fibers diminishes. This failure of muscle fiber to maintain tension as a result of contractile activity is known as muscle fatigue. The onset of fatigue depends on both the type of skeletal muscle fibers as well as the intensity and duration of the muscle contractions. The red muscle fibers, or the -slow twitch- fibers appear to have better blood flow and therefore oxygen supply to maintain aerobic metabolism. In the slow twitch muscle fibers, fatigue develops more slowly. These muscles fibers are used mostly during long duration, low intensity activities. The white muscle fibers, also called -fast twitch- fibers, appear to rely more upon anaerobic metabolism. These fibers fatigue more rapidly, and are used more for short duration, high intensity activities. The development of muscle fatigue corresponds to four events that occur in working muscles:

1.)The depletion of the concentration of ATP. The rate of ATP utilization exceeds the rate of production. The muscle cannot contract without ATP.
2.)Increased amounts of intracellular acidity due to the rise in lactic acid levels. This increased hydrogen ion concentration affects the contractile proteins of the muscle fibers, decreasing the force generated by the muscle fibers.
3.)The depletion of muscle glycogen levels. As the amount of available glycogen diminishes, the muscle can no longer sustain a contraction.
4.)Levels of other metabolic waste products, including Carbon Dioxide, increase within muscle cells. If levels of acid and carbon dioxide waste products build up, this will slow aerobic metabolism, resulting in less efficient metabolism.

If muscle fatigue sets in and the muscle is no longer able to sustain work efficiently, the muscle becomes overloaded resulting in micro trauma to the muscle fibers. If this fatigue and overloading is repetitive or long term in nature the resulting microtrauma becomes cumulative and pathology or injury occurs. Local muscle fatigue is suspect to contribute to work-related Cumulative Trauma Disorders. In order to avoid the adverse effects of muscle fatigue, a sufficient supply or flow of blood to the working muscles is critical.

Since aerobic metabolism generates almost 20 times as much ATP for energy as does anaerobic energy, the effects of muscle fatigue can be minimized by ensuring work load intensity is low enough so that adequate oxygenation, or blood flow to the active working muscles is achieved. If heavy workloads are required, they should be brief in duration, lasting less than a few seconds or minutes, which reduces the effects of prolonged anaerobic metabolism, and maximizes metabolic efficiency.

Summary
The most important factor in ergonomic job design or modification is to promote aerobic metabolism and adequate blood flow, resulting in a high metabolic efficiency. This will maintain adequate blood flow to working muscles, prevent fatigue and allow maximal performance. Dynamic muscle contractions are always preferred over static muscle loading situations. Work-rest cycles should provide sufficient recovery times to sufficiently perfuse active muscles with blood. Jobs should be designed or modified to minimize or reduce the requirements for static contractions, such as static grips, extended reaches and extreme postures.

Plumbing Jobs Not Considered Do It Yourself Projects

There are some plumbing Jobs you just should not attempt yourself. That may even include some you think you can do. D.I.Y. plumbing is not for the faint of heart.

You will find that pipes in walls and ceiling are problematic to work on not a D.I.Y. plumbing job. It is often best to consult a plumber when trying to locate and fix water damage do to pipes that are in walls or ceilings. Often it can be much bigger then you might think such problems will often require much more than just fixing a leaky pipe often the damage from the leak is worse than the leak.

Think for a moment, we have all been there. The toilet wont flush down, the bowl is over flowing you try to fix. You get out the plumber out and work away at it but youre not sure why the water in not flushing through. The next thing you know there is water and other matter all over the floor. You soon realize that the plunger isnt working. D.I.Y. plumbing I think not, it is time to get professional advice. Call in a plumber

Now you head to the shower to clean up, where you are scalded when one of the kids flush the newly fixed toilet. This is not a D.I.Y. plumbing job either. You will need someone who knows how to set up the plumbing so that you get equal pressure. You will need to have a plumber install a plumbing manifold.

Manifold systems (which maintain the temperature throughout the house regardless of use) can accept all common supply line sizes. Typically, a parallel supply line layout or a hybrid version of this will be used with a manifold, so fewer fittings are required therefore, less drop in the pressure occurs

Now youre all cleaned up and ready for dinner, however, the water takes so long to drain out of your tub, then you are always left with a puddle of grunge at the drain. You scrub the tub and wipe it out but the pooling water is a problem. D.I.Y. plumbing?

It is possible that you have galvanized pipes and they will need replacement with new pipes. Galvanized pipes can become clogged solid requiring replacement. As for the pooling around the drain it could be that the tub was not installed correctly or that there is a dint in the tub causing the pooling water. A Plumber will be able to assess the situation

Need to replace your hot water tank? Replacing a hot water heater is not a D.I.Y. plumbing job. You will want to have it professionally installed. Once you have it installed, you may want to insulate it for energy efficiency.

There is a list of plumbing jobs not considered D.I.Y. plumbing projects. For instance, damage to a sewer line do to tree roots, or a clogged sewer line. You may what to put a new bathroom in the basement. This will require braking up the concrete for new drains and pipes. You may be looking to Installing a new dishwasher or garburator. What ever the project you may want to think about the money you can save by using a professional the first time.

There are dangers to consider if D.I.Y. plumbing is what you wish to do. Which include damage to your property. For example flooding, you could even suffer bodily harm. Drain cleaning chemicals can be hazardous to your health as well.

D.I.Y. plumbing can be fine for little projects, however, when things get bigger then you expected, do not wait until its too late- call a plumber.

Polished Concrete Floors For Increased Profit In Denver Retail Space

Retail stores are all over Denverso what sets one apart? Great customer service is of course absolutely essential, but so is the actual space in which your products are displayed. Even with a fantastic product, the design of retail space weighs heavily on its competitive nature. For this reason, it is vital to take inventory of the value of your retail space, and devise a way to improve it for a more appropriate atmosphere and better sales. One important aspect of that space is your flooring. Polished concrete floors are a great asset to any retail or commercial area, and can be a wise investment.

Concrete vs. Stone

If your business already has concrete flooring, then you understand how durable it is. Once installed, it will last forever. Taking care of it, then, is a matter of sprucing it up here and there. Polished concrete floors are a cheaper option than natural stone flooring, but have the same great benefits. Maintenance is incredibly simplesweeping and a periodic mopping will do the trick. This saves time and energy.

Beauty and Versatility

Many think of drab gray when concrete comes to mind, but in actuality polished concrete floors are elegant and classy. They look clean, are easy to clean, and can be incredibly versatile. You may have to look for quite a while to get the right color of marble, but concrete can be stained a variety of shades and colors. Concrete can also be painted for a different coloror stamped to have an edgy, textured look to your flooring. The possibilities may be limited with other flooring choices, here they are endless.

Energy Efficiency

Every owner would jump on the opportunity to save on the electric bill, right? Polished concrete floors have a fantastic, reflective surface that increases the efficiency of your lighting. This way, you dont have to install as much lighting, or at the same brightness as you would otherwise. This gives your retail space a financial edge, but also improves the atmosphere of your spaceparticularly if you have sources of natural lighting.

If youre looking to gain a competitive edge in the Denver retail sector, polished concrete flooring could help you to maximize the value of your space and make more for less.

Double Glazing As An Energy Efficiency Measure

Double glazing involves adding a second pane of glass to the existing one while leaving a space in between. This space traps air that can act as an excellent insulator against noise and heat loss. Many people spend a lot of money buying home heaters to keep the house warm during the cold days. Windows that are single glazed usually loose up to 20 percent of heat. With double glazing however, you can save a lot of utility costs since the glazed windows and doors will conserve the heat energy in the house. During the hot days, the glazed windows keep the heat out thereby maintaining a cool atmosphere inside the house.

When looking for double glazing material that will help you conserve as much heat as possible, it is important to consider the efficiency of that material. UPVC is the most popular of the double glazing materials; it comes in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. It is up to you to choose which of these fit into the design of your home perfectly. UPVC is also a suitable option for those operating on a tight budget because of its cost effectiveness. The material is also used when you want to make minor improvement to your home heat conservation system.

Other materials that can be used include hard wood and aluminum. Aluminum is quite durable as well as very strong. All these materials are suitable for double glazing since they do not react to adverse weather conditions, unlike wood. They are also not only energy conservatives, they also act as deterrent to would be burglars. Contrast to popular belief, double glazing does not have to spoil how your house looks; you can pick colors and styles that complement the general design of your house.

For high level of energy conservation, you can install secondary double glazing. This involves installing a second door or window on the interior side of the old one. You can save up to 135 pounds on your heating bills every year if you install double glazing in your house. You also save around 720 kilograms of carbon dioxide in the same time period.

If you are not sure about the best way to install energy saving double glazing, seek help from an energy efficiency advice center near you. Double glazing does not harm the environment in any way. On the contrary, you would be conserving nature if you adopted this natural way of conserving energy. It has been proven beyond doubt that double glazing can help you save over 50 percent of heat that would otherwise be lost if your windows were not glazed. Save energy and money by double glazing your windows and doors.

How to Reduce Wastage of Energy and Cut Your Energy Bills

It is time you truly decide upon yourself to reduce wastage of energy and slash your energy bills as far as possible. A committed effort from your end will true make things easy and feasible for you as you initiate these energy saving measures. A few of them are enumerated below

Paperless bills and direct debit mode of payment of energy bills – You can avail your energy bills online which are indeed a good measure to reduce costs. In fact most energy suppliers encourage customers who sign up for paperless bills. Similarly by opting for monthly direct debit method which is the cheapest way to pay your energy bills you can enjoy additional discounts ads well. You could check out the energy tariffs and the energy supplier online who offer the same to their customers.

Track your energy consumption – make it a habit to track your energy consumption by taking regular meter readings. You also need to make sure you are not billed on the estimated meter readings but for the energy you have actually consumed. By keeping track of your meter readings you can monitor your energy consumption and take efforts to reduce it as well.

Compare suppliers – With energy suppliers vying for a larger market share, you should keep checking the energy prices as frequently as you can. In case you find cheaper energy tariff you could seriously contemplate a switch. Most energy suppliers offer a welcome bonus and discounts to customers who switch. This means you succeed in lowering your energy bills and enjoy discounts on account of the switch. The best way to compare supplies is to log on to the Internet and check out them out through comparison sites.

Undertake home improvement measures – You could check out the time tried and tested energy saving measures which make your home energy efficient. Make sure the new energy appliances you go for carry the energy saving logo and are recommended as well. In case you wish to go for home insulation, new boilers or renewable energy generation schemes you could check out for offers and grants available for the same. Your energy supplier could be your best guide in this initiative.

Glazing of Windows and Doors – Windows and doors can be glazed implying two sheets of glass can be used with a gap between them which act as a barrier in preventing hot air from escaping. At the same time light can through the glass enabling your home to stay lit with the available natural light during those winter months as well. Ideally you should go for B rated double glazing products which also enjoy accreditation from the Energy Saving Trust.

Install a condensing boiler – If you have an old non condensing boiler you could be wasting a considerable amount of energy for they are capable of converting just 60%of their fuel into heat. On the other the new condensing boiler are capable of converting almost 88% of the fuel into heat and also emit low carbon levels. In case you decide to replace your old condensing boiler make sure you go for an A-rated condensing boiler which is equipped with a plastic flue and lets out a visible steam when firing as against non condensing boilers which are equipped with a metal flue.

Install a renewable energy system – By installing a renewable energy system such as solar electricity, wind turbine, hydroelectricity and Micro combined heat and power. With government supporting these initiatives through Feed-in-tariffs (FIT), more and more people are encouraged to generate their renewable energy. The main financial benefits are receive extra payouts for excess energy sent out to the national grid, savings on your energy bills and a guarantee for a minimum payment from your energy supplier for the electric energy generated by a renewable source installed on your property.

In case you find all or even a few of these measures convenient for you to follow, do make a committed effort to implement them. If at all, you wish to pursue these initiatives in greater detail, you could always seek the assistance of your energy supplier who would be more than ready to help you in the same direction.

For more information visit: http://www.energypicks.co.uk

Central Heating Pros And Cons – Underfloor Heating

Put simply, underfloor heating provides warmth to a room by heating the floor and having that warmth travel up, rather than heating the air, which rises to the top of the room before falling as it cools. All under-floor heating systems work according to similar principles, in that they consist of a heating element surrounded by insulation to disperse the heat and keep it in the room.

Rooms where people are likely to feel the coldness of the floor through their feet, such as bathrooms or kitchens, are obvious candidates for under-floor heating. However, you can have underfloor heating installed in virtually any room, with any type of flooring, be it linoleum, carpet, stone or hardwood.

It is common for extensions and conservatories to be fitted with under-floor heating, as it is a lot easier and cheaper to install it while other building work is being done.

There are a number of good reasons to install underfloor heating, but it is not a technology that is entirely without its drawbacks, either. Here are a list of the pros and cons of underfloor heating:

Pros:

Tiled rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens are a lot less of an ordeal to walk on in bare feet when they are warm underfoot

Wet underfloor heating systems are much more energy efficient than a traditional radiator system, as the heat is concentrated in the lower half of the room where all the people are

Cons:

Though cheaper to buy and install than wet systems, dry systems are a lot less energy efficient and could end up costing you more in the long run

If you are installing an underfloor heating system in an existing property, the floors will need to be taken up, which can make it prohibitively expensive

As with any other heating system, underfloor heating will not work very efficiently in homes that are poorly insulated, as much of the heat will simply escape into the atmosphere

Free Energy – Fake Or Real

First of all, let’s define what free energy means. It means that the cost of creating energy is much less than produced energy. There are some obvious examples of free energy such as solar and wind energies, and not so obvious ones such as radiant energy and centrifugal force.

Some of those energy generating powers seem to be against all, or at least some, laws of science. Some of them are borderline with an ill-reputed “Perpetuum Mobile”. However, if you think about some major inventions of the past (such as airplane, diesel engine, and nuclear bomb) you will see that at the time those inventions were against scientific knowledge of the moment as well.

Let’s look at some possibilities in free energy which may not be as obvious as solar or wind.

– Ambient heat.
The idea of getting electrical or mechanical energy from the heat is not new. In 1900 Nicolas Tesla invented an engine which used heat from the air to produce mechanical energy and called it “Self-acting engine”. 60 years later, an air turbine was created which ran on the hot air going through it. In the same year Charles Brown was granted an US patent for his heat-to-electricity converter.

– Hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a part of water molecule (H2O) and as a result is highly available. With electrolysis hydrogen can be extracted from water and used as a fuel since when it is burned, it recombines with the oxygen and forms vapor. There are quite a few processes which allow separating hydrogen with little initial use of electricity making it a very efficient fuel for the future.

– Magnetism.
One of the most mysterious and abundant sources of energy, magnetism has attracted attention of humans since the ancient times. Sun and Earth both have their magnetic fields and this energy can be used for human consumption as free energy. Since 19th century discoveries in the field of magnetism (artificial magnetic field by Henry, magnetic induction by Faraday) reshaped our current reality with use of radio, television, computers, etc.

However, more applications for magnetism are yet to come. In the past 50 years inventions were made which seem to challenge the laws of physics known to us at the time. For example, inventors of a Zero point magnetic generator claim that their generator can produce free energy in the amounts larger than needed for the device to run. It means that Zero point magnetic generator is actually a perpetual generator, or a “Perpetuum Mobile” which was long ago dreamed off by inquisitive minds of the humankind.

How Can Rainwater Harvesting Systems Help You

Rainwater harvesting systems can benefit you on many different levels no matter if you are concerned about environmental pollution or you just find the utility bills to be too much for you to cope with, water collection systems will surely come in handy for you. However, if the high costs are the problem and you want to address it, it is important to understand that rainwater harvesting systems alone will probably not be enough, as you firstly need to reduce the water use statistically speaking, an average home uses around 160 litres of water per day, and you can reduce this by almost half by simply installing dripping taps or no longer using the dishwasher.

However, if you are looking for a rather affordable long term method to reduce your water use and your utility bills, then you should consider rainwater harvesting systems for a very simple reason: the metered water costs will go up given the increasing privatisation and in spite of the fact that installing a water collection system does require you to invest some money to start from, you will certainly get a return on investment shortly after that.

Did you know that these harvesting systems are very easy to install, very convenient and simple to use (as they typically consist of only water tanks and several other accessories) and they only require some routine maintenance and care every now and then? It is a known fact that plumbing services can cost a small fortune these days, but maintaining your rainwater harvesting system has never been cheaper or easier besides that, you can easily take care of all the maintenance yourself and you do not even need a license for keeping the gutters clean and free of leaves and other debris that can interfere with the quality of the rainwater. Besides this, there are several different types of systems to choose from as well: if you opt for the tank storage system, it must be said that while this truly is a lot more convenient as these tanks are designed to store the water, the systems that pump the water straight to your appliances are a lot cheaper at the same time.

At the time being, the United Kingdom has no regulations as to the type of water that you should use for toilet flushing, irrigating your veggies in your back garden or the water you use for washing your car, therefore there are no legal considerations to worry about all you need to worry about is finding a truly cost-effective and efficient rainwater harvesting system, that is in accordance with the standard regulations, and you have full control over the rainwater and how you will use it.

Besides this, dont forget that purchasing and installing a UV sterilisation unit in your water tanks (this unit is designed to make the water clean and good to dink) will only cost you around 500 pounds. These systems work with 40 Watt bulbs and they need to be replaced on a yearly basis, therefore they are low-maintenance as well besides, the greatest news is that you no longer need to worry about drinking water that comes from the mains and is filled with fluorine or chlorine, two of the most commonly used ingredients for killing bacteria and microorganisms.

Optimize Energy Efficiency By Using Solar Energy Sources

If you and your family are trying to ‘live green’ this year, you’ll definitely want to know more about passive solar energy sources. Solar power refers to the light and heat from the sun that is trapped and then converted into usable energy. Wind power, wave power, and hydroelectricity, are other, more common, forms of earth friendly energy technologies and are more commonly used to generate electricity for homes and businesses. Solar energy is by far the least used of the major renewable energy types. Although the use of solar energy has a long history, until recently it has not been possible to harness the massive amounts of energy needed to power a town or city. However, as an individual you can easily use solar technology to power your home. There are 2 types of solar power, active and passive, using an assortment of these resources your family can save a heap of money year after year on your utility bills. Plus you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and helping to care for the environment.
As a starting point look into using more passive solar energy, it’s easier to use and manage. In a perfect world we would all have south facing houses so that we could more easily utilize natural light. However, the world is not perfect nor are our houses. So we have to manipulate things a bit in order to make our homes more energy efficient. Natural light can involve any selection of materials with positive thermal characteristics. Such as double paned windows. Using drapes and blinds is a way to effectively use passive solar energy to help you reduce your energy costs year round. In the winter natural sunlight can warm a house and reduce the amount of energy used to heat your house. Open the blinds early and let in the natural light to warm the house. Then in the early evening begin closing your blinds and drapes to keep the heat from drifting back through your window panes. Of course, in the summer you do the exact opposite.
Active solar energy come from solar panels or solar water heaters. An array of photovoltaic solar panels hooked into your power grid or a battery pack is the perfect alternative to rising costs of electricity. Solar panels can be installed in any area of your home where the sun would naturally shine. Many people opt to have them installed on their roof, but that does not always have to be the case. If your backyard is large enough you can build your array off the ground. There are numerous Federal, State, and City rebates that can be applied for solar energy systems. Making the installation of solar nearly free, if not totally free. Of course if you own a cabin or a boat you can make your own solar panels. Other solar energy resources include, solar water heaters, solar attic fans, and solar powered lighting. They capture sunlight convert it into energy for immediate or later use.
Unfortunately, until recently, solar electricity has lagged behind other methods of renewable energy. Partly due to it’s high cost of installation. However, that is changing rapidly. Many people are choosing to make solar panels and create their own solar arrays. Depending on where you live you can qualify for government rebate programs and get a sizable chunk of your solar panel system paid back to you. Mass produced solar energy is, for the most part, still in it’s infancy, but for individuals who only need small amounts of solar power, it can be the easiest way to reduce your energy bill and live green.

Illuminating The Future Of Kitchen Lighting Energy Efficiency By Capitol Lighting

It doesn’t matter if you live in a home with a modern kitchen that has all the fancy upgrades, or one that just has a single overhead light in the center of the room. If you’re not using the latest generation of energy-efficient bulbs, it’s time for a lighting upgrade.

“Kitchen lighting has made great strides in the past couple of years, not just from a design standpoint, but with regards to energy efficiency. So upgrades are definitely worth looking into,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design. He travels the country tracking trends, and one he’s noticed lately is the focus on energy conservation.

“Lighting manufacturers are spending a considerable amount of time, and dedicating a lot of resources to developing fixtures capable of using more energy-efficient light sources than the standard incandescent,” Rey-Barreau says. “And it’s no coincidence that this trend is growing in popularity at a time when energy costs are on the rise,” he says.

As recently as two years ago, the only fixtures available for the kitchen that used the most energy-efficient light sources available today – fluorescents and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – were not aesthetically pleasing. In today’s marketplace, however, decorative energy-efficient fixtures are available in every product category, whether you’re looking for something traditional, modern or artsy.

“We know consumers want to capitalize on the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs are approximately three to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs can be three to 10 times more efficient, so we’ve dedicated a lot of resources to developing new fixtures that utilize the technology,” says Scott Roos, vice president of product design for Juno Lighting Group. “We’ll be introducing an LED under-cabinet unit in the fall that requires just eight watts of energy to provide the same illumination as an 80-watt halogen light source. Our new LED down light will be 40 percent more energy efficient than a compact fluorescent and 75 percent more energy efficient than an incandescent.”

Holtkoetter International, Inc., a manufacturer of residential lighting fixtures based in St. Paul, Minn., plans to release several models of fixtures that use LEDs early next year. But energy-saving products are nothing new for Holtkoetter. “We’ve been offering fixtures that take halogen IRC bulbs, capable of improving energy efficiency by 50 percent, for the last five years,” says company president Paul Eusterbrock.

Infra Red Coating (IRC) bulbs are designed in such a way that the heat they generate can be recycled and turned into light.

Hubbardton Forge, a lighting manufacturer out of Chandler, Vt., meantime has concentrated its efforts on developing decorative fixtures that take compact fluorescents. “We have offerings in every category for decorative fixtures that really enhance what you get out of a compact fluorescent,” says George Chandler, president of Hubbardton Forge.

No matter which of the new technologies you choose to go with, when shopping for energy-efficient fixtures, Rey-Barreau says it is important to look for the Energy Star label. In order to qualify for the Energy Star designation, the product must meet specific performance criteria for energy-efficient performance set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As for concerns people may have about the quality of light given off by compact fluorescents and LEDs, Rey-Barreau says that “while in the past color rendering may have been a concern, it is no longer a problem. Consumers can rest assured the quality closely matches that of incandescents.”

Today’s advancements are quite impressive, but what does the future hold? Rey-Barreau expects the lighting industry to work hard at getting more products on the shelves that use the most energy-efficient technology developed to date – LEDs. “Right now LEDs are still kind of expensive, but once they become more readily available, the cost will come down significantly,” he says.