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Expert Tips for Saving Energy with Lighting

Expert Tips for Saving Energy with Lighting

Lighting accounts for 5-10 percent of total energy use in the
average American home and costs $50 to $150 per year in electricity.
That’s not a huge amount, but it’s enough to justify doing something
about—especially when you consider the advantages of energy-efficient

These tips from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy will help!

Make use of natural light

Nothing’s nicer than natural light, and in terms of energy use, nothing’s more efficient. A single skylight or properly positioned window can provide as much light as dozens of light bulbs during the daylight hours. To benefit more from natural lighting you may need to rearrange the furniture in your rooms—putting your favorite reading chair over by the south window, for example. Or you may want to go to more effort and install one or more skylights. To help get that light deeper into the room, you can paint your walls a light color and use reflective louvers or Venetian blinds.

Reduce background light levels and rely more on task lighting
You can save a lot of energy by concentrating light just where it’s needed and reducing background or ambient light levels. This strategy—called task lighting—is widely used in office buildings, but it makes just as much sense at home. Install track of recessed lights to illuminate your desk or the kitchen table where you do the crossword puzzle, and keep the ceiling lights off.

Switch to compact fluorescent lamps

Most of the lighting currently provided by incandescent lights can be provided just as well with compact fluorescent lamps. Replacing your incandescent lamps with compact fluorescents is the best way to save lighting energy in the average home.

When design permits, use tube fluorescent lighting

The best tube fluorescent lamps with new electronic ballasts are a far cry from what most of us think of as fluorescent lighting. They now make sense in places other than your garage or basement workshop. In fact, they can provide very satisfactory (and energy-efficient) recessed lighting around the perimeter of a living room, or overhead lighting in kitchens and bathrooms.

Use incandescent lights wisely

Higher-wattage incandescent light bulbs are more efficient than lower-wattage bulbs. It takes two 60-watt bulbs or four 40-watt bulbs to provide as much light as a single 100-watt bulb. In a fixture that holds several bulbs, you’ll save by using a single higher-wattage bulb instead of several smaller bulbs. (Be sure to follow precautions on the fixture about maximum wattage, though.)

Quick suggestions

  • Turn lights off when you leave the room, or install occupancy sensors.
  • Install energy-saving floodlights outdoors.
  • Use solar-powered accent lights outdoors.
  • Buying energy-efficient lighting equipment.

Read more: Home, Conservation

Adapted from Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, by Alex Wilson, Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill. Copyright (c) 1999 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green.
Adapted from Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, by Alex Wilson, Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings.

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+ add your own
2:52AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

one thing you haven't mentioned at all is the use of candles! not only are they a welcome source of some heat in the winter, they can provide enough light needed, without turning on the main light. and use energy efficient lightbulbs. i don't see the need for these light fittings that need several bulbs. get one that has a powerful bulb in it and just use that!

10:45AM PST on Jan 8, 2013

thank U

12:40PM PST on Jan 4, 2013


10:56AM PST on Jan 4, 2013


12:58PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Thank you

4:33AM PST on Nov 28, 2012


1:01PM PST on Nov 9, 2012

I am a business man but an expert on energy saving lighting. I am in the health club business. Does this look realistic. I'm the skeptical type.

8:15AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011


3:37PM PDT on May 5, 2011


9:01AM PDT on Aug 26, 2010

Most of us know all this ~ now all we need is to DO iT.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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