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Eco-Friendly Lighting: Save energy and lower utility bills by changing the lighting in your home
09/19/2013

Eco-Friendly Lighting: Save energy and lower utility bills by changing the lighting in your home

 



A few changes in your home lighting can greatly reduce your energy usage, resulting in a cleaner environment and lower utility bills. Whether it's installing dimmer switches or changing the type of light bulbs you use, even a small adjustment can yield big results.


Dimmer switches

In just a few minutes, you can change regular flip light switches to dimmer switches. Dimmer switches allow you to control the amount of light (or energy) you want to use in a room. By dimming lights in certain rooms or areas when you don't need full lighting, you can quickly recoup your cost for dimmer switches and see significant energy savings.

 

Different light bulbs

If you're using older incandescent light bulbs, you'll notice energy savings right away if you switch to more energy-efficient bulbs. If you do not want to waste your old incandescent bulbs, continue to use them until they burn out, and gradually replace them with CFL, halogen or LED light bulbs. While these bulbs cost more upfront, they last longer and consume as much as 98 percent less energy than their older counterparts. Energy-efficient bulbs offer a range of hues depending on the type used (e.g., LED bulbs burn with a bright white light), so experiment with several types before deciding on which mood you want to create in your home.


Paint color

Painting your ceilings white or light colors can help overhead lighting disperse light more evenly. Dark colors absorb light, so painting a ceiling or room a very dark color will require a significant amount of energy to illuminate properly. White reflects light. When an overhead lighting fixture is turned on in a room with a white ceiling, the light is reflected from the ceiling to the entire room. When deciding what colors to paint the main rooms of your home, using white and lighter colors on the ceiling will help you save on energy costs.


Solar power

Focusing on renewable sources of energy, such as solar panels, is the best option for reducing energy usage. During daylight hours, solar panels can provide all the energy needed to light a home. While other sources of energy may be required at night, solar power can greatly reduce the amount of energy your home uses overall. The cost of installing solar panels varies widely, so be sure to shop around and check local, state and federal incentive programs to learn whether this is a viable option for you.


Skylights

While the installation of skylights may not be practical for many, if you are in the process of remodeling your home, skylights are an option to consider. Installing skylights in the main rooms of your home can provide natural light during the day, so you do not need to turn on lighting in some rooms. Changes in lighting within your home do not need to take place all at once. Begin with one step (such as turning off lights when leaving a room) and then gradually change other habits. Small changes over time can yield big results in energy savings and your utility bills.

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