Be Light Bright
Be Light Bright
As much as 15% of your total electricity bill is spent on lighting. Not only does electric lighting alone cost you money, but it can also raise the temperature in your home by several degrees, which forces your air conditioning to work harder during the summer. It definitely pays to be smart about household lighting.
Traditional Incandescent Bulbs
Traditional incandescent bulbs waste about 95% of their energy as heat, meaning they are only about 5% efficient. This puts them at the very bottom of the energy efficiency totem pole.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
At about 20% efficiency, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are four times more energy efficient than incandescent lights. You do not have to replace every incandescent bulb in your house with CFLs; just swap the bulbs on the lights you use the most. These are likely to be the kitchen, living room, dining room, front porch, and bathroom lights.
Replacing just five incandescent bulbs with CFLs helps you save as much as $60 a year on your electricity bill. That may not sound like much, but when you multiply that by every household in the country, it adds up to $6.5 billion in savings yearly. It is also the same as cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of eight million cars.
CFLs cost a little more than traditional bulbs, but they last longer and use less energy. We usually measure the lifespan of incandescent bulbs in months; the lifespan of CFLs can be measured in years. Many consumers have shied away from CFLs in the past, claiming they flicker or blink, but today’s technology has greatly improved the bulbs and most provide the same steady, unwavering light as the incandescent bulbs you are used to. You can now even find CFLs that work on a dimmer switch, saving you even more.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been around for a while, but are growing in popularity for everyday applications around the home. Unlike other bulbs, LEDs produce light in specific colors; which is why they have become so popular for holiday and seasonal lighting. LEDs can produce white light, but the process is a bit more difficult. LEDs are the most energy efficient type of bulb. They are most commonly used with batteries or devices for which changing a light bulb would be expensive or hard to do. LEDs are also used frequently in traffic lights, railroad lighting systems, flashlights, electric bicycle lights and motorcycle headlamps. They are also becoming increasingly popular for ordinary residential use.
Here are some other lighting tips to help you save energy and money:
- Stay away from opaque light shades. They trap light and heat and require a more powerful bulb to throw off sufficient light.
- Dark wall paints and flooring do not reflect light as well as lighter colors. This also means you will probably need stronger bulbs to light the room adequately.
- Dusty light fixtures block light, so keep bulbs, lamps and fixtures clean and dust-free.
- When you need light for reading or doing other tasks that require focused light, try turning off bright overhead or background lights and using small task lamps instead.