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Save energy with Bulbs

August 6, 2010

Lighting Ideas to brighten your home

When it comes to choosing energy-efficient light sources for your living space, there is more to consider than what type of bulbs to use. Many elements play a role in the energy efficiency of a room’s lighting.

Here’s a set of guidelines to help plan or update the lighting of a room and use existing lights more efficiently:

Design Guidelines

    * Light-colored interior surfaces reflect light and therefore reduce the level of artificial lighting needed.

    * Most rooms are best equipped with two types of lighting. General lighting is needed for all-over illumination, for which pendant or surface-mounted light fittings work best.

    * Because down lights provide individual pools of light, several may be needed to provide the same degree of illumination as one pendant light.  Be sure to choose light fittings that do not obscure the light, and you may even be able to switch to a lower wattage bulb.

    * The second type of lighting that a room should have is task lighting, for illuminating specific areas used for reading and other general tasks where a concentrated and bright source of light is needed.  Get used to turning off general lighting when engaged in activities that require task lighting,       when you have no need to illuminate the entire room.

Optimal Efficiency

You can use the lights in your home more efficiently by installing dimmer controls, motion sensors, and multiple switches—most of these are inexpensive and easy to install.

    * Placing two-way switches at all exits from rooms allows for lights to easily be turned off whenever someone leaves the room.

    * Installing dimmer controls for incandescent lights will save both energy and money.

    * Dimming your lights by half results in your bulbs lasting about 20 times longer, and also makes for a nice, warm atmosphere.

    * Installing occupancy sensor switches in bathrooms, closets, and garages prevents lights from being left on accidentally, though the sensors themselves use some power continuously.  Make sure that the ones you use have a built-in daylight sensor so that lights don’t turn on unnecessarily.

    * Use timers and daylight and motion sensors to control outdoor lights. Try taking advantage of the sun even at night by using solar powered lighting for garden and/or security lights.

    * Turn off lights when you are not using them.

    * Switch to ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) from incandescent bulbs.

    * Look for opportunities to use natural light.

    * Keep bulbs clean.

    * Instead of leaving lights on when you’re away, install timers

Occupancy Sensors. These little gems are inexpensive, easy to install, and can produce significant energy savings around the office.  Install them in store-rooms, break rooms, bathrooms, and conference rooms that are in limited use.  For larger rooms, install the sensors in the ceiling; in smaller rooms they can be installed in place of the light switch.

Of course the best thing you can do is to get everyone to turn off any and all lighting whenever it is not in use.  This is a smart policy for office equipment, too.

Consider developing a checklist of energy-saving things to do before leaving the office each day or week.  Suggest that a point person be selected to complete this checklist or that duties be shared on a rotating schedule.

The latest home improvement trend uses professionally installed LED outdoor lighting to accentuate architectural features and landscaping at night. Homeowners can enjoy more time outside and create an elegant atmosphere for outdoor entertaining.

Outdoor lighting for the home used to be simple, a few light fixtures from the local home improvement store placed around the home, and you thought you were done. Unfortunately, those fixtures rapidly deteriorated over time. Today, homeowners have seen the quality and the difference professionally installed, LED lighting can provide.

Professional landscape lighting uses an array of special “Lighting Techniques” that not only enhance the beauty of the outdoors at night but foster outdoor safety and security. Outdoor lighting gently adorns your house, yard and garden areas with soft accent lighting to create warmth, atmosphere, ambiance and safety that you, your family and friends will enjoy all evening long.

Different Lights


Incandescent is the least expensive to buy and the most expensive to operate. It has the shortest life span of the common lighting types and is relatively inefficient compared with other lighting types.Replacing incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps provides energy savings of 60% to 75%. Tungsten halogen bulbs use about 60% less power than standard incandescent and provide longer service. They are considerably more expensive than standard incandescent.


Fluorescent is an energy efficient lighting choice because it is about four times as efficient as incandescent lighting.Fluorescent lighting is used for both ambient and task lighting.They normally last about 10 times longer than incandescent and 3 times that of HID.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

LED’s are small, solid light bulbs that are extremely energy efficient. Until recently, LED’s have been limited to single bulb use. Manufacturers have expanded the application by clustering the small bulbs. This opens the door to many energy efficient retrofits/replacements.LED’s are on the path to become the next generation of standard lighting.


Proper maintenance is vital to efficient lighting. The amount of light produced decreases over time because of aging lamps and dirt on fixtures, lamps, and room surfaces. This can reduce total illumination by 50% or more, while lights continue drawing full power.

Energy efficient fluorescent T5/T8 lamps will only depreciate about 6% over their life. HID lamps will depreciate 50% at half of their life expectancy.
T5/T8 lamp life is now improving beyond 39,000 hours of operation.HID lamps have a life expectancy of approximately 20,000 hours.

Optimize Energy Efficiency and Lighting Quality

Simple changes in your lighting can improve lighting quality and levels, make visual tasks easier, and save money on energy costs. Consider the following:

  •       Reduce light levels where there are no visual tasks.
  •       Provide necessary light for safety, security, and aesthetics.
  •       Provide adequate light levels for visual tasks.
  •       Provide task lighting based on the difficulty of visual tasks.
  •       Reduce glare and brightness contrast.
  •       Use daylight where possible and practical.

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