Lighting accounts for about 5%-10% of our energy bills. In the USA that amounts to $100-$200 per year/household...
But it's not difficult to reduce lighting consumption. New high-efficient light bulbs and fixtures combined with simple strategies, and timers, sensors and dimmers can easily reduce bills by half or more.
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Low-energy Lamps Provide Savings of About 75%
The easiest way to reduce lighting bills is by using energy efficient efficient lamps; they can provide savings of about 75% and last much longer than traditional incandescent lamps.
Halogen lamps can provide savings of about 25% when compared to traditional incandescents, and are a reasonable choice for places where lights are rarely used (say, less than 15 or 20 minutes per day); otherwise they too are a poor option.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and LEDs are a much better choice than traditional incandescents or halogen lamps.
The Brightness of a Light is Measured in Lumens, Not in Watts
Watts is a measure of the energy used by a lamp; the brightness of a light bulb is measured in lumens.
If you want a new light lamp with the light output of a traditional 60 watts incandescent bulb, consider a CFL or a LED lamp with about 800 lumens.
Carelessness and Excess Illumination are Two Major Sources of Lighting Waste
Do not leave the lights on longer than necessary. Consider using light controls, if necessary.
See if you have fixtures providing more light than you need, and if you can install new low-energy lamps with a smaller wattage. This strategy is especially valid for lights that are left on for large periods.
Use Task Lighting for Energy Savings
Consider task lighting wherever possible. Task lighting provides additional, directional lighting for specific areas of your home (kitchen counters, chair reading...).
Task and spot lighting save energy and provide a better illumination.
Many common fixtures trap a significant part of light.
They may accept new CFL and LED lights but many of them also reduce their efficiency and lifespan.
High-performance lighting fixtures can distribute light more efficiently and evenly, and offer features such as dimming, for savings.
If you plan to replace older fixtures, prefer qualified ones; you will not have to pay significantly more, or to sacrifice style.
Lighting Controls for Energy Savings
Lighting controls are used for turning lights on and off automatically, or for dimming purposes.
When you dim a CFL or a LED bulb you are reducing their wattage and their output, saving energy and also extending its lifetime.
And the same is true for occupancy detectors and timers: they can be great in some energy saving strategies.
More Outdoor Lighting Doesn't Provide More Safety
Outdoor yard lighting is important for security. But many people over-light their yards.
The idea that more light provides better security is a misconception. You should minimize obtrusive light and glare by limiting outdoor lighting to the minimum necessary.
Outdoor Low Voltage Lighting Doesn't Mean Low-Energy Consumption
Low-voltage lighting systems aren't necessarily low-energy consumption. That's a common misconception. Low-voltage doesn't mean low-wattage...
The energy-efficiency of a low-voltage system depends largely on the type of lamps used in it, and their wattage; you will have to use lighting controls (timers, photocells...) to get further energy savings.
Not All Solar Lights Are a Good Choice
Outdoor solar lights can be a great option to provide safety and nighttime navigation. But choose well.
The best solar outdoor lights use micro LED bulbs with a small solar panel and a rechargeable battery (Ni-Cd). Low-cost solar lights are little more than useless.
Daylighting involves properly designed and positioned windows and skylights, and light-colored interior walls.
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