As the days are darker this time of the year, we turn the lights on earlier and leave them on more each day. Lighting accounts for about a quarter of all electricity consumed in the U.S. Here are some ways to lighten the energy load while keeping your home bright:
- Replacing light bulbs. Regular incandescent light bulbs are inefficient, with 90% of their energy going to generate heat, not light. Replace standard lamps with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs – they cost more per bulb but are far more efficient and last up to ten times longer. Over the life of one CFL, you can avoid replacing up to 13 incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy. Visit www.energystar.gov for more information.
- Photocells turn lights on and off in response to natural light levels – for example, on at dusk and off at dawn.
- Occupancy sensors activate lights when you enter a room and turn them off after you leave. They are good for areas of infrequent use, such as storerooms.
- Dimmers reduce the wattage and output of light bulbs. They also significantly increase the life of incandescent bulbs.
- Don’t overuse kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans. Left on for too long, these fans can pull out much of your heated air.
- Clean fixtures and lamps annually by wiping off the dust (make sure the bulb is cool first).
- Clean or repaint walls. Dirt on surfaces reduces the amount of light they reflect and make the room feel darker.
- Turn off incandescent lights when you’re not using them, even if you’re just leaving the room for a few minutes.
(Source: EarthShare, www.earthshare.org)