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How to save energy with your lights

Being conscious of each area’s different lighting needs will help to reduce use as well. As an example, reading rooms, workshops and outdoor areas all have different needs. There are several options that will fulfill your needs for the space while reducing the energy cost.

  • Approximate kWh per month: 300 kWh
  • Install motion detectors or timer switches. In low-trafficked areas like outdoor areas, basements or garages, it is easy for a light to be left on for days. By installing motion detectors or timer switches, you can make sure you're not lighting an area when it’s unnecessary. 
  • Use a dimmer or three-way switch. Oftentimes our lighting needs depend on whatever activity we’re doing at the time. Installing dimmer switches or using three-way bulbs will let you select the right amount of light for each activity.
  • Be an "enlightened" decorator. Decorate your home or business with illumination in mind. Light colors reflect light, so use them in areas you want to be bright.
  • Keep lighting fixtures clean. A cleaner bulb is a brighter bulb. But let incandescent bulbs cool before cleaning or they may break.
  • Use natural light when possible.

Choosing the right bulb

Incorporating more energy-efficient lighting in high-use lighting areas can help to reduce your energy use and save you money. Replacing just two 75-watt incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can save an estimated $14.40 on your bill per year.

The vast number of lighting options for your home can be a little overwhelming. So, we’ve put together some tips and ideas that can make choosing the right lighting for you a little simpler.

Buy bulbs by the lumens and the watts

Lumens measure the amount of light a bulb produces, and watts measure the electricity the bulb uses. Consider both factors when you buy. Bulbs with larger wattage give you more lumens per watt than small-wattage bulbs.

For example, six 25-watt bulbs give off the same amount of light as one 100-watt bulb. And a "long-life" bulb gives off less light than a standard bulb of the same wattage. A bulb with a clear finish will give you more light than a frosted bulb. Energy-efficient bulbs may cost more initially, but they can save you money in the long run with lower bills and fewer bulb replacements.

Features Benefits
Energy-efficient incandescent
  • 25 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to three times longer.
  • Best for lamps that are on less than 15 minutes per day or where halogen or compact fluorescent bulbs won’t fit.
  • Gives light similar to a standard incandescent.
Compact fluorescent
  • Use one q     uarter of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb and last about 10 times longer.
  • Best where usage exceeds four hours a day.
  • Floor lamps, hanging fixtures and some ceiling sockets are easiest to fit.
  • Gives light similar to an incandescent bulb.
  • Uses only about 20-25 percent of the energy and lasts up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Come in a variety of bulbs including standard screw-in bulbs, desk lamps, recessed lighting and even holiday light strings.
  • Similar light quality to traditional incandescent.
High intensity discharge
  • Up to 400 percent more efficient than a standard incandescent bulb.
  • Life-span is about 10,000-24,000 hours.
  • Best for the outdoors, especially security lighting and where usage occurs over extended periods.
  • Gives a different color light than an incandescent bulb.
  • Up to 200 percent more efficient than a standard incandescent bulb.
  • Fits recessed or “canned” fixtures, track lights and outdoor lights.
  • Produces whiter light than standard incandescent bulb.