How to Use Energy-Efficient Lighting to Reduce Home Utility Bills
Lighting your home makes up about 10 percent of your general energy consumption. That may not seem like much, but if you’re looking to lower energy bills, it can be a good place to start. Traditional incandescent bulbs are incredibly inefficient. Around 90 percent of the energy they use is given off as heat rather than light. Fortunately, there are several much more energy-efficient home lighting options available. Replacing some or all of your existing bulbs with more efficient ones can lower energy bills significantly. Here are some of the more energy-efficient home lighting options you can choose:
- Halogen incandescent bulbs – Halogen incandescent bulbs are a step up from regular incandescent bulbs, providing the same level of light for about 25 percent less energy. It’s a good start toward saving power, but there are other options that can operate even more efficiently.
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) – CFLs are most easily recognized as the bulbs with a thin, curling tube rather than a dome shape. They’re more expensive than incandescent lights, but they generally pay for themselves in under a year, using a quarter of the energy and lasting up to 10 times longer. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, CFLs wear out from being turned on and off rather than the amount of time they stay lit. Therefore, for maximum cost-effectiveness, leave them on if you plan on coming back into the room within 15 minutes or so.
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) – LEDs are by far the longest lasting bulbs on the market and often the most efficient, depending on how and where they’re used. They can use as little as 20 percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 25 times longer. The drawback: they tend to be more expensive, but prices are expected to drop with time. In the meantime, their long life span and energy efficiency does allow them to pay for themselves in the long run.