May 14, 2001 at 10:36 PM CDT - Updated July 27 at 4:50 AM
Increasing your lighting efficiency is one of the fastest ways to decrease your energy bills. If you replace 25% of your lights in high-use areas with fluorescents, you can save about 50% of your lighting energy bill.
Use linear fluorescent and energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last 6 to 10 times longer. Although fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves by saving energy over their lifetime.
Indoor Lighting Tips
• Turn off the lights in any room you're not using, or consider installing 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. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets.
• Consider three-way lamps; they 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 mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs These compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and provide the same lighting.
• Use CFLs in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger CFLs.
• For spot lighting, consider CFLs with reflectors. The lamps range in wattage from 13-watt to 32-watt and provide a very directed light using a reflector and lens system.
• Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
Torchiere Lamp Halogen lamps generate excessive heat that can create fire hazards. Use compact fluorescent lamps in your torchiere fixtures. They are safer and use much less energy.
• If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and can produce more light (lumens) than the halogen torchieres.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing these products.
Many homeowners use outdoor lighting for decoration and security. When shopping for outdoor lights, you will find a variety of products, from low-voltage pathway lighting to high-sodium motion-detector floodlights.
Some stores also carry lights powered by small photovoltaic (PV) modules that convert sunlight directly into electricity; consider PV-powered lights for areas that are not close to an existing power supply line.
Outdoor Lighting Tips
• Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a timer so they will turn off during the day.
• Turn off decorative outdoor gas lamps; just eight gas 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 CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold-weather ballast.
For more information on energy-efficient lighting, contact: