Money-Saving Tips: Lighting
Making improvements to your lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. An average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50% to 75%.
Consult a residential electrician to review and optimize lighting placement.
Use tube fluorescent and energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than standard bulbs and last about 4 to 10 times longer.
Today's compact fluorescent lights offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to incandescent lights. Although fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves by saving energy over their lifetime. Compact fluorescent lights fixtures are now available that feature dimmers and operate much like incandescent fixtures.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and provide the same light levels.
Halogen lamps generate excessive heat that can create fire hazards. Use compact fluorescent lights in your torchieres or, buy a torchiere designed for compact fluorescent bulbs.
Indoor Lighting Tips
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing indoor lamps and lights.
- Turn off the lights in any room you're not using. Install timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it.
- Consider three-way lamps. Three-way lamps make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
- Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage, and laundry areas.
- Consider using 4-watt minifluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts.
- Use compact fluorescent lights in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them.
- Recessed downlights are now available that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated), are designed specifically for pin-based compact fluorescent lights, and can be used in retrofits or new construction.
- Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy.
- If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy, can produce more light (lumens), and do not get as hot as the halogen torchieres. Halogen torchieres are a fire risk because of the high temperature of the halogen bulb.
When shopping for outdoor lights, you will find a variety of products, from low-voltage pathway lighting to motion-detector floodlights. Some stores also carry lights powered by small photovoltaic modules that convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Outdoor Lighting Tips
- Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a motion sensor so they will turn on only at night or when someone is present. A combined photocell and motion sensor will increase your energy savings even more.
- Turn off decorative outdoor natural gas lamps; just eight such lamps burning year-round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.
- Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use compact fluorescent lights because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold weather ballast since standard compact fluorescent lights may not work well below 40°F.
- Consider using high-intensity discharge (also called HID) or low-pressure sodium lights.