Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Save Energy With This LED Retrofit for Recessed Lighting

One way heat escapes from a house in the winter is through recessed lighting that vents to the attic. Oftentimes, the "cans" that hold the light were designed with holes in them so that heat from the bulb wouldn't build up. Those holes allow hot air to escape from the house 24/7, whether the bulb is on or not.

It seems crazy to heat air with fossil fuels, then let it escape through all these holes. Back when I was on the board for Mountain Lakes House, I inventoried the recessed lighting and concluded that the heat loss through them all must be significantly increasing the house's carbon footprint and energy bills.

At the time, the only remedy was to build airtight boxes over each "can" where it vents into the attic--a tedious, expensive process. Just throwing insulation over the cans in the attic wouldn't stop the air loss. I crawled into my own attic and built a box over one, then ran out of patience.

What a surprise, then, to stumble upon the solution years later, in the form of new LED inserts. Take out the old bulb, screw one of these things in, slip it into place,

and you now have a more efficient bulb that no longer leaks conditioned air.

They're called "recessed retrofit downlights", with lots of options for purchase locally or online.

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