An average household dedicates about 6% of its energy budget to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. Timers and motion sensors save you even more money by reducing the amount of time lights are when they are not being used.
- Replacing 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year. Replace your old incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR® bulbs for the best quality in savings.
- Turn your lights off. For every hour a day you keep a 100-watt standard bulb turned off, you’ll save $4 a year. The more lights you turn off, the more you’ll save.
- When remodeling, look for recessed light fixtures or “cans” which are rated for contact with insulation and are air tight.
- Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR® fixtures, they are available in many styles, distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures, and some offer convenient features such as dimming. The fixtures are designed for outdoor use and come with features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.
- Controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.
- Keep your curtains or shades open to use day lighting instead of turning on lights. For more privacy, use light-colored, loose weave curtains to allow daylight into the room. Also decorate with light colors that reflect daylight. Sunlight is brighter than light bulbs and it’s free.
- Try task lighting and focus a bright light on a necessary area rather than evenly lighting the whole space.
- Dust your light bulbs and their coverings. The cleaner the glass, the more light shines through.
- Use bulbs with a lower wattage.
- CFL bulbs last about 10 times longer and use about one-fourth the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs. A typical CFL can pay for itself in energy savings in less than 9 months and continue to save you money each month.
- Always make sure your CFL bulb is appropriate for the light fixture and usage. Improper usage may result in the CFL burning out early, changing colour or charring around the base.
- You can buy CFLs that offer the same brightness and colors as traditional incandescent bulbs. Some CFLs are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to traditional incandescent bulbs.
- CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury and require special handling if they are broken. CFLs should be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar powered outdoor lighting.
- LED bulbs are rapidly expanding in household use. ENERGY STAR® LEDs use only about 20-25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They come in a variety of colors, and some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors.
- Use a censored LED nightlight in your hallway instead of leaving a light on all night.
- Because outdoor lights are usually left on a long time, using CFLs or LEDs in these fixtures will save a lot of energy. Most bare spiral CFLs can be used in enclosed fixtures that protect them from the weather.
- CFLs and LEDs are available as flood lights. These models have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures.
- CFLs can cost three times what a regular incandescent bulbs costs. LED lights can cost 10 times as much. Don’t let sticker shock rattle you. Running (and replacing) an incandescent bulb can cost 6 to 10 times the operating cost of a single LED.