“ECO!” Made Simple


Soon, you’ll be seeing a new logo around the area: the Bethesda Systems mark—but with a leaf.

Over the past couple of years, co-founder Jonathan Stovall had a growing interest in the green technology market.

Throughout the past year, Bethesda Systems had several green accomplishments under its belt.

At the end of summer 2012, a popular Bethesda sports bar realized huge reductions in energy usage, and maintenance, with an LED retrofit performed by Bethesda Systems.

Before the retrofit, the bar went through 10–15 bulbs per week, and their lights were on for at least 14 hours per day. Also, half of their old lights would not dim due to overheating issues on the circuit.

Management of the sports bar now deals with less maintenance, a greener business, and lower energy costs due to PEPCO utility rebates Bethesda Systems helped the bar become eligible for.

On October 31, and December 28 respectively, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a PEPCO Trade Ally and a Delmarva Power Trade Ally.

As trade allies, Bethesda Systems is able to assist PEPCO and Delmarva Power customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to these utilities’ customers, instructing and applying ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives the utilities offer.

Now, with another, eco-friendly logo, Bethesda Systems will be able to promote its commitment to a greener environment.

By the start of the New Year, Bethesda Systems has already built new relationships with restaurants and other commercial business throughout Montgomery County.

Bethesda Systems plans on spreading the word on energy-efficiency in residences, offices, retail establishments, strip-malls, condominiums, parking garages and more.

With its commitment to always provide the highest quality and most cutting-edge consumer electronics available, Bethesda Systems wants to ensure that their customers will also be able to integrate the latest green tech products, without having to compromise their lifestyles while doing so.

Bethesda Systems becomes Delmarva Power Trade Ally

BETHESDA, Md.–On December 28, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a Delmarva Power Maryland Service Territory Trade Ally.

A Delmarva Power trade ally is a technical partner to Maryland’s Eastern Shore Delmarva Power service territory. As a trade ally, Bethesda Systems will be able to assist Delmarva customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to Maryland Delmarva Power customers and instructs and applies ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives Delmarva Power offers.

Catering to both residential and commercial projects, Bethesda Systems offers a multitude of different products and services to help customers throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia cut down on energy loads and save on energy bills.

The integrators are well-versed in energy-saving practices that involve energy automation systems, installing LED lighting, and offering energy storage products.

Case Study: LED Retrofit

A popular local Bethesda sports bar has been a longterm Bethesda Systems client. The lighting throughout the bar was outdated and costly from a replacement and maintenance perspective. Management grew tired of changing light bulbs and their increasing energy bills.

The bulbs they used before the retrofi t constantly burned out. The bar went through 10–15 bulbs per week, and their lights were on for at least 14 hours per day. The owners grappled with the growing expenses and time devoted to constantly restock the bulbs, as well as continually climbing ladders throughout the entire bar several times per week in order to replace the lights.

On their older system, half of their lights would not dim due to overheating issues on the circuit. For example, over one of their bars, the dimmer switchers did not work properly, and bulbs would go off at random.

Bar Co-Owner said, “We’ve been told these bulbs last much longer. During the summer, this is huge for us because there is much less heat produced from the lighting. Bethesda Systems also added dimmers, making it simple for universal settings and usage all over the bar.”

The retrofit was an easy decision when we presented them with an upgrade yielding energy savings, reduced maintenance, better quality light and general information behind the benefits of going LED from incandescent or halogen bulbs. With not only an LED retrofi t completed, but an update to their automated control system for lights and HVAC, this sports bar became eligible for PEPCO utility rebates. Management now deals with less maintenance, a greener business, and lower energy costs.

Gary Hefner, Project Leader, Bethesda Systems said, “Some lights weren’t on due to circuit overload from excessive wattage. Bulbs were exploding, and the bar was paying a fortune to PEPCO. After the retrofi t, there was a major heating difference since no more halogen or incandescent bulbs were being used, allowing the bar to no longer run their air-conditioning as hard, thus allowing them to save additional energy.”

Lighting Retrofit Downloadable PDF

Major Change In Store For Lightbulbs As We Know It

by Jonathan Stovall

Thomas Edison

If you’ve been out shopping for light bulbs lately, you’ve probably noticed that your selection is growing.  What you may not know is that some of your staples, like the 100 watt traditional incandescent bulb, will no longer be available come the first of the year.  The standard, highly inefficient technology invented by Thomas Edison back in the Good Ol’ Days is seeing some phased regulation.


One lighting technology we are beginning to see on the store shelves next to the old faithfuls & the newer ugly squiggly ones (CFL) is the LED. LEDs are significantly more energy-efficient than either old-style incandescents or CFLs. LED uses 6 to 8 watts of electricity to produce light equivalent to that of a 60-watt incandescent. Compact fluorescents require 13 to 15 watts to produce similar results. Here are some additional benefits of the new LED lighting technology:

• Incandescents will need to be replaced up to 25 times in the same amount of time as one single LED bulb lasts.

• LEDs have the potential to last up to 22 years and save 75% or more in energy costs. According to ENERGY STAR, based on normal use, you can install a bulb in your newborn’s nursery and not have to change the light until he/she graduates from college!

• LEDs turn on instantly (no warm up time compared to CFL’s).

• LEDs emit almost no heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat. In warmer climates this reduces the need for air conditioning energy.

• LEDs have no breakable filaments or glass.

• LEDs don’t contain mercury (CFLs do in small amounts…eliminating storage and disposal concerns). Watch this Video!

• LED’s offer added convenience. The long bulb life of the LED is an added advantage for fixtures that are difficult to reach to change bulbs…like high ceilings, chandeliers, outdoor flood lights, etc.


Retrofit Bulbs
As we begin to convert our customers to LED our biggest challenge up to this point has been to ensure that the lighting quality of the energy-saving bulbs is at least as good (and hopefully better) quality than the traditional bulbs we replace. We know that the right lighting is crucial to how our customers live and work. Unfortunately a lot of the products we see on the local hardware store shelves don’t come close to the quality of the products we buy directly from our partner manufacturers. If you are going to start buying on your own you’ll need to consider a few things…here are just a few:

• Replacement lamps need to fit the fixture. For example, recessed cans require different bulbs than floor and table lamps.

• Color temperature ratings vary by lamp type and manufacturer. If you want a ‘yellower’ light output choose a lower color temperature.

• Outdoor LED requirements are different than indoor.

• Many packages say that their products are dimmable…but a lot of times the bulb is not fully dimmable or in some cases, won’t dim at all with a traditional dimmer.

• Most people are accustomed to buying bulbs based on watts, which refers to energy usage. The LED selection is based on actual brightness, which is measured in lumens. This brings a new level of confusion into the mix.

• Did you know your electrical utility may give you a rebate for your LED purchase?



The LED is one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technologies. LEDs last longer, are more durable, and offer better light quality than nearly any other type of lighting available. If you are in the DC metro area and are ready to make the switch, let us help you! We offer the following services:

• Our friendly sales staff is ready to consult with you inside your home or business.

• We offer free estimates with ROI (return on investment) projections based on current usage and utility rates.

• We use our own licensed electricians to do the work!

• Phased installation options available if you are on the fence about diving in head first.

• Guarantee on all LED products and performance we sell.

Energy Monitoring and Management Systems

Energy savings can only occur when you receive quality information about your consumption AND you are provided with practical, everyday applications and gear to do something about your usage. The first step is to implement an Energy Monitoring System. (FIG. 1-5) Energy happens to be one of the only things we buy that we don’t know the cost of until after we use it — and have no idea what we used it for. There are several monitoring systems on the market these days. Since you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we lean towards the systems that gather data at the circuit level rather than overall consumption. These systems let you know the cost to operate detailed areas inside your home over time.

Dimming Makes a Difference

For few of us, the information provided by these systems is enough to help curb consumption—knowing you just spent $85 over the last 30 days on your basement lighting makes you think twice when you reach the top of the steps, and you remember to shut off the lights. (FIG. 6) But for most of us, we need a little more help. So in addition to the Monitoring System, we provide networked devices and applications to help you control your various systems or just flat-out automate them for you.

The second step is having a simple and convenient way to control lighting, shades and climate settings. We do this using Smartphones, Website Applications, TV screens & Tablets. The ability to control from outside the home is also crucial. Automating these systems with sensors will maximize your use of daylight or turn your lights off when a room is not in use or even regulate indoor air quality to feel more comfortable while reducing the demands on your HVAC system. Lighting accounts for 20% of all electricity consumed in the U.S., and 50% of that is wasted with inefficient light sources or in unoccupied rooms. Additional savings can be realized by controlling the amount of wattage used by light bulbs. Furthermore, installing  dimming devices conserves electricity and also extends  the life of your light bulbs.
The Monitoring System will also point out ‘vampire’ power wasters — the devices that suck down power even when they are perceived to be turned off. Using cloud-based power controllers we can schedule conservation periods at the device level that will cut the power entirely and eliminate waste altogether.

In addition to lowering your electric bills, implementing an Energy Management System can also extend the life of your appliances. Continuous diagnostics helps avoid thousands of dollars in wasted energy and costly repairs by providing notice of hidden problems. Energy Management can help keep your family safe. Automated email and text alerts can notify you when appliances are left on, if circuits are nearing capacity, or if critical home equipment goes off.

Lastly, an integrated energy monitoring and management system that gives you clear feedback and automated control over various loads in the home qualifies for 2 LEED points.


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