By following the tips below, you can reduce the energy consumption of your home lighting.
✔ Replace Incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) – The incandescent light bulb has been the standard lighting source used in homes since the invention of the light bulb. Although, in the past decade, the CFL has been introduced to the market. Modern CFL bulbs produce light very similar to traditional incandescent bulbs but use 65-80% less energy.
In addition to using a fraction of the energy, compact fluorescent light bulbs have a much longer usable life than incandescents, typically lasting between 6,000 and 15,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours or so for incandescent bulbs.
✔ Consider Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) – LED’s are a semiconductor light source. Early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light (you may remember this from electronic devices sold in the late seventies and early eighties). Modern LED’s consume 90% less electricity than incandescents, producing the same amount of lumens or brightness. They use two to three times less electricity than fluorescent bulbs, without toxic gases or mercury. Since they are entirely solid-state electronics, they last much longer than both incandescent and CFL bulbs.
However, before buying LEDs, be sure to check the following site: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/caliper.html. Some LED products in the market overstate their energy efficiency claims.
✔ Reduce waste heat – Lighting with incandescent light bulbs can produce significant amounts of waste heat. Waste heat places additional requirements on your home’s cooling systems. By replacing incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (which give off less heat), you can reduce your homes cooling requirements.
✔ Use dimmers – Dimmers can reduce the amount of electricity you use for lighting. Dimmers, besides adding an element of mood to a room, can be ideal in situations where full light might be undesirable, such as in rooms with televisions, or in bathrooms at night. They also reduce the amount of waste heat.
✔ Time your lighting – Putting timers on your lights can significantly reduce energy consumption. Some examples of when timers could be especially helpful are when you are out of town (but you want to give the appearance that someone is home), or for exterior lighting at night.
✔ Install motion detectors – Motion detectors can be used to turn on lights in areas of the house only when people are present. They are ideal for hallways and garages. They can also replace night lights in bathrooms. They are becoming much more common in commercial settings such as after hours in office buildings.
✔ Use daylighting – Daylighting is the use of natural light as a lighting source inside a building. It is a term that has become more popular over the past decade in office and home design. Although the concept can be very useful for existing homes too. By rearranging furniture or changing the type of shades or drapes used in your home, you can reduce the amount of artificial light needed for ordinary activities during the day.
✔ Install skylights – Skylights are an excellent way to increase the amount of light entering your home during daylight hours. Well placed skylights can reduce and in some case eliminating the need for using lights during the day.
✔ Make turning off the lights when leaving a room a habit in your home – While this may sound obvious, turning off the lights when you leave a room is an excellent way to save electricity. For homes with children, teaching this habit from a young age (and doing it yourself) is very important.
✔ Using CFL’s can reduce the risk of fire in your home – Contrary to a popular urban legend, which has been making its rounds on the internet, CFL’s are generally far safer (from the perspective of fire hazard) than traditional incandescent bulbs because they operate at a much lower temperature. The primary fire hazard with light bulbs results inflammable objects coming in contact with an exposed bulb.