A single light doesn’t use a whole lot of energy. But when you add up all the lights in your home, and think about how long they are usually on during the month, it can really add up. In fact, lighting is about 12% of your monthly bill.
- Let the sun shine in — Why use the lights when you can use the sun? Open blinds and curtains during the day to take advantage of natural light.
- Dim the lights — Consider purchasing dimmer switches. They can increase bulb life while reducing electric consumption and operating cost. But don’t use them with compact fluorescent bulbs, because they’re not compatible.
- Save watts wherever you can — Use LED bulbs! LED bulbs can be 6–7 times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and can cut energy use by more than 80 percent. Good quality LED bulbs can have a useful life of 25,000 hours more, which means they can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. Install LEDs in your most frequently used lights to save the most on energy costs. Although they cost more, they are worth the investment.
- Motion sensors make sense — Are you tired of asking everyone to turn off the lights when they leave the room? If so, try replacing light switches with motion or occupancy sensors. These make the lights go on or off when someone enters or leaves the room. The garage is the perfect place for one. They’re also good for exterior lighting. Your lights will only come on when motion is detected.
- Let timers take on the task — If you forget to turn off lights, think about buying a timer. It turns lights on and off automatically and helps your day-to-day home security too. Best of all, you can set it and forget it.
- Try photocells — Photocells automatically turn on lights when it gets dark. Then, when it’s bright enough, the photocell turns the lights off. They’re great for outdoor or security lighting because you don’t have to remember to turn them off in the morning. The sunlight will do it for you.
- Decorate in light colors — If you plan to redecorate, think about lighter colors. Dark colors absorb light, so you’ll use more watts to light the room.
- Let the light through — Lamp shades can make a big difference. A lamp with a light colored shade, especially one that’s lined in white, will give the best light. Tall, narrow shades or dark-colored shades let less light through. You’ll probably need to turn on another light to see properly, which means you’ll use more electricity.
- Keep them clean — Dirty or dusty light bulbs don’t put out as much light as clean bulbs, because dirt and dust absorb light.
- Consider low-voltage outdoor lighting — If you’re planning to light up your landscaping, install low-voltage lighting whenever possible. A string of six low-voltage lights, which can light a large area, uses about 108-watts, compared to a single 150-watt flood light.
- Plan for that vacation — If you’re going away, you’ll probably want to leave some lights on for security reasons. If so, consider buying timers to turn your lights on and off instead of leaving them on 24 hours a day. The money you save on lighting could easily pay for the timers.
- Use only what you need — Do you ever go into a room and turn on all the lights? Or leave landscaping lighting on all night? Inside and outside, use only as much light as you need.