Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's Lurking Behind the Night Light in Your Child's Bedroom?

As a parent, I find night lights to be particularly handy appliances. Still, I wanted to know how they impact our home energy use. So here's the quick survey:

We have three night lights in use in our home. Each contains a small incandescent bulb that draws a paltry 4 watts of electricity. Each has a sensor that automatically turns on the light in dark situations. Thus, two of the three are only operational for, let's say, an average of twelve hours daily. The third, however, stays on almost all the time, as its perched in a dark interior room. Because all three turn off when the overhead room lights are turned on, let's assume that, in aggregate, the night lights burn approximately 40 hours every day. So:

4 watts  ÷ 1,000 = 0.004 kWh
0.004 kWh x 40 hours = 0.16 kWh/day
0.16 kWh/day x 365 = Approx. 58 kWh/year

Not a huge amount, I'll admit, but here's the question: is this expenditure of power really necessary? I know I need the light, but is there another, more efficient, way?

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