Lighting is critical for comfort and security, but it can account for up to 15 percent of your annual electricity costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Reducing lighting energy use is one of the fastest and most effective ways to lower your utility bill. There are a number of things you can do to improve the energy performance of your home lighting, including the following:
- Turn off lights in any room you are not using and throughout the house when no one is home.
- Instead of lighting an entire room, focus low-power light where you need it (task lighting). For example, try using a portable lamp for your home office, or use under cabinet lighting in your kitchen.
- Use high-efficiency fluorescent tube lights in garages, work rooms and laundry rooms.
- Clean light bulbs regularly to maximize light output.
- Take advantage of natural light during the day by opening blinds, shades and other window coverings.
- Use three-way lamps; they make it easy to save energy by reducing light levels when bright light is not needed.
- Install dimmer switches; reducing the intensity of light in a room saves energy.
- Replace low-efficiency incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). They use less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
- Use high-performance, light-emitting diode (LED) lamps for decorative lighting, holiday lighting and under kitchen cabinets.
- Consider installing occupancy sensors to control lights in garages, storage rooms and other areas of the house where use is limited.
Think lumens not watts
When shopping for light bulbs, think lumens not watts. Lumens measure the light output of a bulb, while watts measure the amount of energy they use. For decades, consumers have purchased bulbs based on watts. In today’s lighting market—with a variety of energy-efficient lighting products available—it is more economical to compare lumens rather than watts.