Lighting typically accounts for nearly 10% of the average home’s total energy usage. If you’re looking to save money on your energy costs and make your home more energy efficient, here are some tips to help you choose more environmentally friendly lighting options for your home.

Use LED Bulbs Whenever Possible

In the not-too-distant past, the vast majority of light fixtures in most homes used incandescent bulbs. The issue with incandescent lighting is that it is extremely inefficient and uses lots of electricity. The main problem with incandescent light bulbs is that only a small fraction of the energy they use is turned into light, as most of the energy is instead converted to heat and wasted. The fact that incandescent bulbs are so inefficient is what led the US Department of Energy to phase out their production and sale as of August 2023.

Since incandescent light bulbs are now banned, it means that your two main options for most light fixtures are compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs. CFL bulbs are around 70% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they still waste energy since they give off lots of heat. Nonetheless, the main issue in terms of eco-friendliness is that CFLs and traditional fluorescent lights contain small amounts of mercury that contribute to environmental damage if the bulbs are just thrown away or not correctly recycled.

This issue is why multiple states have already banned the sale of CFLs. Although CFLs aren’t yet banned in Florida, they may soon become illegal across the country. This is because the Department of Energy has proposed new regulations that would require all lights to produce at least 120 lumens of light for every watt of electricity they consume, and CFLs only produce around 60 lumens per watt.

The fact that CFLs contain mercury and are still not all that efficient is why you should always use LED lighting as much as possible. LEDs don’t contain mercury or any other major pollutants, but the biggest reason why they are the best choice is because they are far more energy efficient than any other type of lighting. Most LED bulbs produce at least 100 lumens per watt, but higher-quality bulbs usually produce at least 140-150 lumens per watt. Compared to CFLs, LEDs are usually at least 40% to 50% more efficient. They are also at least 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Another major advantage of opting for LED lights is that they have an extremely long lifespan. Most LEDs are rated to last for at least 12-15 years, and some can potentially last for up to 25 years. This is important to think about when choosing which type of light bulbs to use since the longer lifespan will more than offset the higher cost of LEDs.

Opt for Task and Mood Lighting

Even if you use LED bulbs, overhead lighting uses quite a bit more energy than most other light fixtures. One way to avoid this is to put the overhead lighting in different parts of larger rooms like your kitchen and living room on different switches. This way you can just light certain parts of the room as needed instead of constantly having all of the lights on. Using lamps and other smaller fixtures when you don’t need as much light is also a great, more efficient option. For instance, having a light bar above your sink can allow you to do dishes or other tasks without needing to have all of the other kitchen lights on. Having reading lamps next to your bed and sitting areas also offers practical task lighting that uses much less energy.

Install Dimmer Switches and Motion Sensors

Having overhead lights and wall sconces on dimmer switches is another great way to reduce your energy usage and also allows you to choose the right amount of light for each situation. Dimmer switches work by reducing the amount of electricity that flows so that the bulbs produce less light.

Another useful solution is to use motion sensors to control the lights in certain parts of the home, such as bathrooms and hallways. The motion sensor will always turn the lights on when you enter the space and then automatically shut the lights off after a certain time if it doesn’t detect any movement. This way you won’t need to worry about anyone forgetting to turn the lights off and wasting energy. Using plug-in lights with a dimmer switch in the bathroom and hallway is also an easy way to reduce energy usage since you won’t need to turn all of the wall or overhead lights on if you get up during the night.

Use a Timer to Control Outdoor Lighting

Having adequate outdoor lighting is important for allowing you to make use of outdoor spaces in the evenings and also for security purposes. Any type of security light should always be on a motion sensor instead of just staying on constantly. While you may want to still leave your front porch lights or those next to the door on all night, using a timer to control all other outdoor lights is both convenient and an easy way to save energy. You can simply set the timer so that the lights turn on automatically at dusk if needed and then turn off around when you normally go to bed.

Upgrade to Smart Light Bulbs and Fixtures

Smart light bulbs and smart light fixtures are a great investment that adds convenience and can reduce energy consumption. These light bulbs and fixtures connect to your Wi-Fi network so that you can control them using an app on any mobile device.

When most people are going out in the evening and know they’ll be home after dark, they just turn the lights on that illuminate the driveway and front door before leaving. While this is useful for ensuring you can see when you get home in the dark, it also wastes energy. With smart lighting, you won’t need to leave the lights on the whole time you’re away since you can just turn them on using the app when you’re almost home. You can also use the app to check if any lights are on when no one is home and turn them off remotely if they are.

Smart lighting can also help make your home more secure in addition to lowering the energy usage of your lighting. If you’re on vacation, you can turn the lights on remotely to make it look like someone is home. You can also program different lights to turn on and off at different times to again make it look like your house is occupied.

If you’re looking to upgrade the lighting in your home to be more efficient or need to add dimmer switches or additional fixtures, Top Flight Electric is ready to help. We are a full-service electrical contractor specializing in all types of electrical installation services, and our expert team can also help if you need an electrical inspection or have any electrical issues that need to be repaired. For more information on the ways you can make your lighting more environmentally friendly or to schedule any electrical service in the Winter Haven area, contact us today.

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