"Offices in the Vallis building were renovated in 2006 and one of the tenants recently moved out at the end of August. We thought that as the place was vacant we could replace as many of the current bulbs as we could with LED bulbs," explains Ms Vallis. "We figured that this would give a us a clear and measurable way to realise the impact of changing out the lights."

One of the office spaces is currently available for rent.

Ms Vallis was able to switch out about 80 percent of the bulbs, as LED lights are not available for all light fixtures. Although she says, Michael Burke, owner of thegreenhousebermuda, which sells Green products and advised Ms Vallis on Green solutions for the building, has been on the hunt for the right bulbs. However, she was able to replace florescent tube lighting with only two LED tube bulbs rather than the four that are generally found in one rectangular light fitting.

She also has replaced most of the light fittings in the corridors of the International Building with LED tube lights and offered the bulbs as alternatives for the building's tenants.

"This is a self-metered space so we will be able to get a history of usage in the space so that we can recognise the cost savings as I am constantly measuring the energy usage. We only first started replacing the bulbs in August, so we won't really see the benefits until they've been in for longer," she says.

Ms Vallis says that it can be hard to retrofit old Bermuda buildings, adding that they are unable to add things such as solar panels due to the lack of roof space.

"Things we have been able to do is add window films and have helped the tenants to give them options to use conservation methods throughout the building. We're looking into putting the lights on a timer, but for safety reasons we can't have the building in complete darkness. The timer would allow us to be able to have lights switched off after a certain time when everyone has left the building," she says. "At this point it's about making the tenants aware and trying to do what they can for their office space."

Other features Ms Vallis has included in her own office space include a Clear Water system water cooler which also features a dehumidifier and a green wall to help regulate the humidity in the space. The green wall is basically a planting system that is hung on a wall to take up less space than a potted plant. Ms Vallis' green wall contains a few different plant varieties including elephant ear, spider plant and even an African violet, and makes for quite a striking way to decorate an office.

Although the upfront costs are greater for products like LED bulbs the prices are starting to come down, Ms Vallis says.

"Sure it costs a lot at first but it helps out in the little areas. The obvious benefits are that we use less equipment and the bulbs are just as bright."

Mr. Burke adds that the benefit of using LED bulbs is that we can also reduce our energy consumption.

A basic LED lamp-style bulb uses approximately 90 percent less energy than a typical incandescent bulb, according to the company Pharox, which makes LED lamp bulbs and are available through thegreenhousebermuda.com.

"Overall you will save a lot of energy and with that you save a lot of money. We need to reduce our energy use in Bermuda," he says.

Mr. Burke suggest that if the upfront cost is too much at first that the bulbs can be fitted over a period of time as Ms Vallis has done rather than all at once.

"We tend to illuminate our lives more than we need. You can use something more efficient like a 36 watt bulb instead of something between 144 watts and 160 watts so you are already seeing a 50 percent plus difference," he explains.

LED lighting has come a long way and now can be found in a range of colours from cool white to a soft yellow, and are available for more light fixtures. They are also mercury free and can be disposed of like any other ceramic fixture — plus they will last a lot longer.

"You can get about 35,000 to 55,000 hours of functional usage from an LED, which is about three to five years of use. They also do not produce any heat so they can be on all day and you can still touch them without waiting for them to cool," explains Mr. Burke.

Even small spotlight-type fixtures that are dimmable can now be changed out for LED bulbs — these bulbs are often known to get very hot, but with a change of LED this reduces the heat being emitted, which can also help with regulating the heat in a home or office.

For more information on LED bulbs, visit thegreenhousebermuda.com

http://www.royalgazette.com/rg/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7dab23f3003000b&sectionId=146

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


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