This article provides 8 ways you can save energy while lighting the home, with tips for efficient fixture placement and techniques to avoid wasting energy.
At the risk of stating the obvious, converting your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (see energy-efficient light bulb ) is critical to saving money on your light bills. But let’s move the conversation beyond that. Here are a few other helpful techniques you can draw upon.
1 Turn off lights that aren’t being used
Okay, YES, this is another obvious one. Could anything be easier than flipping a light switch? This is the simplest, most common-sense solution, which can result in surprisingly significant energy savings. Consider that a 75-watt light bulb left on for a couple hours daily can comprise up to 2 percent of your overall monthly lighting bill. Make it a habit to always shut off the lights when you leave a room.
2 Be sure to dust
You might as well get the most light possible out of a bulb—a layer of dust is going to cut down on the light it offers. A dusty bulb is an inefficient bulb. Get out the dust rag, and get your money’s worth from your lighting.
3 Use task lighting
Just use light where you need it. Don’t flood an entire room with light when all you need is a small reading lamp. Choose lighting that meets your specific functional needs. Bedside lights, reading lamps, under-cabinet lights, and desk lights are just a few examples of good task lighting.
4 Place lamps in corners
Take advantage of walls as reflective surfaces. Placing lamps in corners allows light to bounce off two wall surfaces, meaning you will need fewer lights overall.
5 Choose light colors when painting your walls
Light reflects off pale tones more easily than it does off dark shades, allowing you to use lower-wattage light bulbs in your home. Where glare isn’t a problem, consider paints that have high reflective values.
6 Use daylighting techniques
This is the practice of using natural light for illumination. Enhancing your home’s daylighting can mean everything from simply moving your desks and work surfaces closer to sunny windows to installing new skylights. See Daylighting Techniques for more on these methods.
7 Use automatic timers and/or dimmers
Timers, which regulate electrical usage by turning on and shutting off lighting sources at set times, and dimmers, which allow you to modulate the brightness of a lighting source, can contribute greatly to energy savings. For more on these, see Light Switch Options and Lighting Dimmer Switches.
8 Don’t neglect outdoor lighting
Outside lights are often left on unnecessarily. Using things such as timers, motion or photoelectric sensors, or solar power with your exterior lighting setup can be helpful. For more, see Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting.