Energy Efficient lighting is more than simply turning off a light when leaving a room or maximizing your use of natural light.

The most cost effective way to economize energy through lighting is by replacing normal incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescents.

According to the US Department of Energy, an average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time lights are on but not being used.

Be sure to buy ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs.

They will save you about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

Producing about 75% less heat, they are safer to operate and can cut home cooling costs.

They provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day. The best places to use qualified CFLs  are usually in fixtures found in your family and living rooms, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and outdoors.

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that’s earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.

Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures. They are available in many styles including table, desk and floor lamps — and hard-wired options for front porches, dining rooms, bathroom vanity fixtures, and more.

ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures and they deliver convenient features such as dimming on some indoor models.

Controls such as timers and photo cells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with CFL bulbs; not all products work with CFLs.

When remodeling, look for recessed downlights, or “cans”, that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated).

Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, consider lighter wall colors that reflect daylight.

If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and do not get as hot as halogen torchieres.

For more information on indoor lighting:

US Department of Energy

City of Seattle Green Home Remodel Guide — Lighting





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