Five Easy Ways to Save on Lighting Your Home
The days are getting cooler and it’s getting darker earlier. Here are ways to save this fall on lighting your home.
Change Your Light Bulbs
Saving on lighting costs can be as easy as changing a light bulb. Replacing 15 traditional incandescent bulbs in your home with ENERGY STAR qualified energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs could reduce your electricity bill by $50 a year. Another advantage of the efficient bulbs is they don’t need to be replaced as often. CFL bulbs typically last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, and LED bulbs can last 25 times longer.
Design for Efficiency
When lighting your home, brighter isn’t always better. To avoid wasting energy, select bulbs and light fixtures based on the needs of a particular space. Add task lights such as desk lamps or reading lamps in areas that need to be brighter, and reduce the brightness of general lighting. When possible, open shades to take advantage of natural daylight.
Turn Off the Lights
While turning lights off is an obvious way to save energy, frequent on/off switching can reduce the life span of CFL bulbs. To balance energy savings and bulb life, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning off CFL bulbs only when you leave a room for 15 minutes or longer. LED bulbs are not affected by frequent on-off switching and can be turned off whenever they are not needed. Incandescent bulbs are the least efficient light bulbs, and should always be switched off when not in use.
Upgrade Outdoor Lighting
Install energy efficient light bulbs, controls, and fixtures to save on outdoor lighting. LED bulbs work well in most outdoor settings because they are durable, can withstand cold temperatures, and reach full brightness almost immediately. To make sure lights are on only when needed, consider motion sensors for security and utility, along with photo sensors that turn lights off during daylight hours. Fixtures that use shields to direct light where it is needed will reduce glare and improve visibility without the need for extremely bright, energy-hungry bulbs. Finally, look for solar powered outdoor lighting where available.
Celebrate and Save
With the holiday season coming up, it is worth considering the options available for festive seasonal lighting. Decorative strands of LED lights use 70 percent less energy than traditional incandescent strands. They are also sturdier, safer, and last 10 times longer than old standard versions. Decorative LED lights are available in a wide variety of styles and colors and cost about the same as the incandescent versions.
To save even more, consider participating in ComEd Residential Real-Time Pricing or Ameren Power Smart Pricing. Hourly electricity pricing programs can be an especially good fit for people who heat their home with electricity by taking advantage of the lower seasonal price trends found during the fall, winter, and spring. Here’s more on how you can save you money.
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy (energy.gov), ENERGY STAR (energystar.gov)