Lighting accounts for nearly 5 percent of an average household’s budget. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating, you can save $75 each year (source: U. S. Department of Energy).
Even with ambitious energy-efficiency regulations taking effect all across California in 2018, consumers still have many lighting options. The most popular light bulbs now available are compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Although these energy-efficient lamps will cost you more upfront, they will save you more money during their lifetime.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are coiled and folded versions of the long tube fluorescents. They generate light via an electric current driven through the tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. At onset, a CFL’s activation is generally delayed a few seconds, but a bulb typically uses 70 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than a comparable traditional incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of lumens.
Although compact fluorescent light bulbs are a popular way to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury. If a CFL should break, it is important to know what to do.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a form of solid-state lighting that uses a chemical chip embedded in a plastic capsule to create light. LED lighting is more efficient and longer lasting than any other type of light source and can be found in a variety of sizes and styles.
Money-Saving Lighting Tips
- Place ENERGY STAR®-qualified lightbulbs in fixtures you use most frequently.
- Before turning on overhead lights, try using a table or floor lamp or wall sconces that can sufficiently provide focused task lighting or ambiance to a space, while minimizing energy use.
- Place light reflecting floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners or near walls to produce better room lighting.
- When installing lighting in a large space, install multiple switches to cover different areas to limit the use of lighting to only the area(s) needed.
- Install timers or dimmer switches for more energy savings. Certain CFLs and LEDs are designed to work in dimmable, three-way fixtures that are hard to reach, such as ceiling fans and outdoor light fixtures.
- To ensure outdoor lights operate only when needed, install outdoor lighting with photosensors and/or security lighting that is equipped with built-in motion sensors.
- For maximum daylight harvest, use lighting systems that are able to dim or switch electric lighting in response to changing daylight availability.
- Keep lights clean—dusty light bulbs and dirty lampshades can obstruct as much as half the light emitted by the bulb.