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Defining Green: Innovation, Labeling and Self-examination

By: Frederic Holzberger
Posted: February 24, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
eco-friendly lightbulb

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An easy way to immediately help reduce your electrical usage is to install room occupancy sensors to control the lighting when the room is not in use. A variety of companies offer room occupancy and vacancy sensors that can be retrofitted to suit various existing rooms, and these help to dim or turn off lights when the rooms aren’t in use. Many dimmer and sensor options use minimally invasive techniques, such as radio frequencies, to detect occupancy, and also provide enough flexibility to control the level of light, allowing these systems to be used in treatment rooms, as well.

Also available are room-dimming systems that utilize LED technology to show when energy is being saved, the light glowing brighter the more energy that is saved, and eco-friendly timers that automatically shut off of fans or lights in a room after 1–30 minutes. The bottom line is, a commercial dimmer can save up to $85 per year in electricity costs compared to a regular light switch. And, off course, the more you dim, the larger the savings and the shorter the payback time.

Other energy-saving devices to consider as well include LEDs as light sources; window film to control light and heat; and daylighting, the practice of using natural light to illuminate building spaces. Becoming more popular in building specification today, daylighting reduces the need for electric lighting while providing illumination at a fraction of the cost. And with its natural, open feel, it’s a wise move to consider employing daylighting in your next construction project.

True green

Everyone is looking for words beyond the overused terms of “green” and “environmentally friendly” to measure the environmental impact of a product, even in how people define their lifestyles and business practices. These words have been used so frequently they no longer hold the weight they first did several years ago.

Consumers want to know the product or service they are buying is authentic in its environmental claims. This is especially true given the fact that consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally and socially responsible products or services. So how do you navigate responsible purchasing, and guide your lifestyle and business practices? You arm yourself with knowledge.