One of the biggest ways families unintentionally crank up their electricity bill is by the use of lights in or around their homes. In fact, lighting consumes about 10 percent of the average home’s electricity usage. By employing some simple energy-efficient lighting strategies, you can reduce your home’s lighting costs by up to 75 percent.
- Use more direct “task” lighting
When we walk into a room, we impulsively turn on the lights. On top of that, most of the time we forget to turn them off as we leave. Instead of lighting up the whole room, try using task lighting, such as over desks, kitchen areas and craft tables. If you stop illuminating the whole room and focus on lighting just the area you are using instead, you can cut lighting costs.
- Install energy-efficient light bulbs
There are so many different types of energy-efficient light bulbs to choose from. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, high-efficiency halogen torchiere bulbs, and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are a few of the many great options. Beyond changing to a more efficient light bulb, there are also bulbs that can be used with dimmer switches, which can also reduce the amount of electricity being used.
- Shop for lumens, not watts
Remember to shop for light bulbs using lumens, not watts. Lumens describe the amount of light a bulb produces, while watts determine the amount of electricity the bulb uses. Energy-efficient light bulbs will produce the same lumens but use fewer watts, which is how a 12-watt LED can produce as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
- Locate lamps in corners of rooms
When possible, place or install floor, table and hanging lamps in the corners of rooms rather than against a flat wall. Doing so will allow the light from the lamp to reflect off of two wall surfaces instead of one, providing you with greater illumination from the same bulb(s).
- Make the most of the outdoors
Because outdoor lighting is usually left on for a long time, and is often forgotten about, use CFL or LED light bulbs to save a lot of energy. You should also look for fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with timers, automatic daylight sensors and motion detectors that will maximize your energy savings.