Practical Question for Energy-Saving Geeks

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Working with my calculator, I came up with the following question. The answer surprised me.

    Knowing that lighter gauge wire results in greater energy loss (cost), I wondered what makes more sense to the consumer - paying more for heavier gauge wire (but less for energy) or paying less for lighter gauge wire (but more for energy).

    Let's consider a 250 ft. wire run of (12) 7W LED fixtures (1 every 20 ft.). Calculate the annual energy cost first with #14/2 then with #12/2.

    Then compare that with the difference in purchase price of the two wire types (about $64 difference - retail).

    How long before the homeowner breaks even on the additional expense of the heavier gauge wire.

    Any guesses?
  2. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,646

    Im no enigneer but your 84w which is the less than a old fashion light bulb, probable wont make any difference.
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    OK, so let's say you have (10) wire runs of this same load and length - 840W total.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I dont have a direct answer for you Steve but can say that using 14/2 low voltage lighting cable is not really a viable option as it is a relatively rare commodity whereas 12/2 is ubiquitous. I have not checked in some time, but I do recall a few years ago that my cost for 14/2 LVLC was actually higher than what I was paying for 12/2. (having everything to do with volume sold/manufactured and inventory/stocking levels) This might change over time as the market shifts, but for now 12/2 is the only way to go from a cost perspective.
  5. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I mainly will use 10-2 for home runs to In ground hubs , hardly ever use 12-2 or 14-2.
  6. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    For the 12-fixture system, the answer is that by using #14/2 instead of #12/2you save $64 in material and pay about $1 per year more for energy.

    Breakeven time on investment for using #12/2 instead of #10/2 is over 60 years.
  7. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380

    Why is it important that a consumer needs to know all of this? Is this forum about lighting professionals or a sales forum?
    Lets get on with talking about whats important such as designing with light and being artistic and passionate about that, not conversating about 64 bucks worth of wire or awards in fence lighting. This is about architectural & landscape lighting not a sales website.
    For goodness sake. Really??
  8. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179


    I agree with you for the most part. But when you think about how much conversation on here really is about guys promoting themselves or products they are associated with, it's quite a bit. I'm not mentioning any names past or present, but this forum is equally now about promoting one's work or product as is it about the things you mention. I'm don't know if that's good, bad, or indifferent, but it's the way it is. Just my two cents

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  9. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380

    Thanks Scott,
    It's a real shame to be honest. You know when I first wanted to start learning about landscape lighting I did a search and found this forum and a few others but this contained the most valuable information in my opinion. I started reading the oldest threads and learned so much that my passion just grew.
    After trying a few things around my own property and wanted to learn more I decided to contact somebody that i hoped would share his experiences and thoughts. That person was James and he really helped a lot through the telephone conversations and some of his postings on this forum. Of course there are many others that have shared their experiences and I thank all of them. I learned of the AOLP and Jan's landscape lighting Institute from this website in which I am part of now and am loving it. The benefits have been fruitful.

    Through reading, completing courses and many discussions within these threads I discovered that landscape lighting is another layer of artistic creativity to clients properties. I have learned that the light source is what is important to achieve that artistic creative layer and it's importance in protecting that light source from the outside elements. Installation techniques and tricks of the trade are equally important.

    I hope that this forum can revert back to those positive sharing discussions but for now because of all the influences from the many "LOOK AT ME" people I am deciding to not contribute on this forum. Probably happy for some but anytime anybody would like to discuss landscape lighting (my passions) please feel free to call or email me as I would be more than happy to help any way I can.

    I encourage all new people to read the oldest threads on this forum and try to disregard the sales pitching that has taken over in the last few months.

    Thank you
  10. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Surprised to hear objections to this thread - no sales pitch here - just an attempt to stimulate some thinking about how pros can make decisions on wire gauge for their projects - keeping in mind the desire to save energy and the desire to lower costs for thier clients.

    In my view, it is critical for pros to fully understand the electrical calculations of voltage loss and energy consumption - these calculations are different for LED's - and getting this right is essential for today's priorities - energy and cost savings.

    I view this forum as addressing the art, business, and technology of architectural and landscape lighting. As pros, we need to be experts in all three, and this forum is a great venue for that.

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