Efficient Lighting

Turn off lights when you leave a room. Make the most of natural daylight. Switch to lower-watt bulbs where you can. These are just a few simple examples of how to be efficient with lighting. Here are some more:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with efficient ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) —  they use about 75% less electricity and last about eight times longer than a regular light bulb. Replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 13-watt CFL will save about $37 over the 8,000 hour life of the bulb. Learn about safe handling and disposal of CFLs.
  • In ceiling pot lights, use ellipsoidal reflector lamps — they reflect the light out of the ‘pot’ and down into the room.
  • Use lower-wattage bulbs for room lighting, or try one stronger bulb instead of two or three weaker ones. Two 60-watt bulbs provide the same light as one 100-watt bulb.
  • Focus work lighting where it’s needed, such as over a table or at a desk.
  • Switch to LED holiday lights. They use 85% less electricity and last 10 times longer than traditional holiday lights.
How do different types of lighting compare?
Incandescent Halogen Fluorescent tube CFL
Efficiency Poor Poor Good Good
Light output per watt 8 to 20 lumens 15 to 25 lumens 20 to 90 lumens 36 to 70 lumens
Cost Inexpensive Moderate Moderate Moderate
Lifespan Poor (750 to 1,500 hours) Moderate (2,000 up to 4,000 hours) Good /Excellent (10,000-20,000 hours) Good (6,000- 15,000 hours)

How to use less light

The best way to be efficient with lighting is to use less of it. These automatic controls can help.

  • Dimmers — They save energy, lengthen the life of the bulb, and can help your lighting enhance the look of a room. Check to be sure the type of lighting you use works with a dimmer.
  • Timers — They’re affordable, easy to operate, are good for home security, and can be programmed for time periods of 24 hours to seven days. You can also get them with dimmer switches that override the timer.
  • Motion sensors — They’re energy-efficient and they can help warn you when there’s movement on your property.
  • Photocells — They come on when natural light levels are low, making them good for outdoor decorative or security lighting.