If done right, lighting can enhance your property’s curb appeal and boost its safety and security. However, this comes at a cost, and many homeowners can end up paying high electricity bills. In this Ultimate Lighting Savings Guide, we will provide simple tips on saving money on lighting immediately.
A study from Penn State has shown that traditional incandescent bulbs give off 90% of heat as energy and only 10% as light. However, with recent technology developments, property owners are turning from traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs.
Unlike incandescent bulbs, energy-saving bulbs produce more light using less energy. These bulbs come in different colors, wattages, and styles to fit different fixtures.
For this reason, some people find it daunting to understand the right type of bulb for their needs and how much they are likely to save. In this article, we’re going to provide you with a guide on how you can save with energy-saving bulbs.
How Different Types of Lights Can Affect Your Energy Bill?
There are numerous choices for energy-efficient lighting in the market to choose from. How much you save at the end of the month will depend on the type of bulb you choose. Let’s explore the following types of light and how they can impact your energy bill:
1. Halogen Incandescent
A halogen incandescent bulb features a capsule that holds gas to increase bulb efficiency. This type of bulb features a tungsten filament that heats up to give light when it passes through a current.
Its light output is similar to that of a traditional incandescent bulb. However, halogen bulbs produce more light and consume 25% less energy, thereby enabling the user to save a significant amount on their energy bills.
For instance, a standard/traditional incandescent lamp that uses 60 watts can give the same light output as a halogen incandescent bulb that uses only 42 watts. Although halogen incandescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, they are not as efficient as LED and CFL. Additionally, they are short-lived and very expensive to run, hence you will have to buy replacements from time to time.
2. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
CFL are fluorescent lights that are a great source of energy-efficient lighting. CFL bulbs feature a recognizable curl shape and come in a variety of colors and shapes in order to complement different lighting fixtures. They also feature a transparent glass tube that contains mercury vapor and argon. When current is passed through the gases, small amounts of UV light are emitted.
CFLs are more energy-efficient than incandescent as they consume 50-80 percent less energy. For example, a CFL that uses 22 watts gives the same light output as an incandescent that uses 100 watts. Also, CFLs can last up to 10 times longer when compared to incandescent, reducing the replacement cost. Due to their low energy consumption, CFL will pay for its high initial cost in just 9 months. After that, it will begin saving you money every month.
The downside, however, is that CFL bulbs tend to have a reduced lifespan in applications where the lights are regularly switched on and off. Moreover, the bulb may have reduced light levels when used in low-temperature areas.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a flexible and popular energy-efficient lighting choice for various applications. LEDs have been around for a while now, and they are known for using very little energy compared to any other light source.
These bulbs contain a silicon diode that is treated so that the spare electrons produce light when an electrical current is passed through. Interestingly, LEDs can produce a lot of light when a small amount of current is passed.
Quality LED bulbs produce a lot of light using very little electricity and heat compared to halogen and CFLs. Compared to other alternatives, LED bulbs use less wattage and can last longer.
Typically, an LED bulb consumes 20-25% of energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and 25-30% of energy than halogen incandescent, which is considered less. Similarly, LED bulbs can last up to 15 to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and 25% times longer than halogen bulbs. Traditional LED bulbs with 60 watts consume about 75 to 80 percent less energy compared to a traditional incandescent because it does not require too much power to operate due to it having less watts.
The electrical current in LEDs does not pass through the filament; instead, it goes through a microchip as this simplifies applications done in the LED. For instance, a microchip can be used to manage drivers, its interface, power management, microcontrollers, and connectivity, making everything easier and convenient. The LED bulbs are available in a plethora of shapes, colors, and wattages such as 40W, 60W, 75W.
For the colors, the LEDs can be dimmable or have features like daylight and motion sensors. Apart from indoor use, LED bulbs like porch lights, step lights, and pathway lights can be used for outdoor lighting.
Comparing Bulb Types
Homes with LEDs could save over $100 every year
|Traditional Incandescent (60W)||Energy-Saving Incandescent (43W)||CFL (15W)||LED (12W)|
|10-Year Operating Cost²||$1,565||$1,057.50||$336.50||$264.60|
|Annual Operating Cost per Bulb³||$4.80||$3.50||$1.20||$1.00|
|Bulb Life (hours)||1,000||1,000-3,000||10,000||25,000|
- Savings are calculated based on a home with 25 bulbs.
- Savings are calculated based on a home with 25 bulbs and 2 hrs/day of annual usage for each bulb. The cost of replacement bulbs were also considered ($2 each).
- Calculations are based on 2 hrs/day of usage and a rate of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. (Source: energy.gov)
How Can Motion Sensor Light Switches Help You Save Money?
One way to reduce the amount of energy used by your lights is by switching them off when not in use. However, there is no assurance that this can be maintained, especially when using light bulbs. For this reason, motion sensors were invented to control the lighting in homes and buildings. They can also help you save money in the long run.
Most property owners tend to leave the exterior lights powered on through the night and day for security, safety, and convenience purposes. However, installing motion sensors eliminates the need for full-time outdoor security lights, and this significantly lowers the amount of energy used. As a result, your energy bill will reduce every month, and you will be able to save a significant amount of money.
Motion detecting lights can help you save more than 35% of the energy usage of the traditional light bulb depending on the volume of activity. For instance, if you use a 60-watt bulb every day for 8 hours at $0.10/kwh, then your overall cost will amount to $17.52 each year.
If you want to get one, its cost is around $19.09. It’s a lot more expensive compared to a regular bulb which usually costs around $1-5. However, it’s way more energy-saving features.
According to this post, motion sensor switches consume one watt of energy when put on standby mode and 5 watts when on active mode. Since they are always on standby for about 23 hours a day, motion sensors use phantom energy. For this reason, they are only worthwhile if you leave a 60-watt bulb on for 14 hours daily each year. Otherwise, the cost of buying and running a standby motion sensor light switch can be very costly.
Where are Motion Sensors Best Suited?
Motion-activated lights work well in areas that experience low to medium traffic such as guest rooms, garages, storage rooms, and utility rooms. Motion sensors can also work for rooms where the lights are accidentally left on.
For instance, the lights in bathrooms and restrooms are often forgotten, causing them to consume a lot of energy. Motion sensors can also work in office and retail store environments in order to remove the burden of having to check whether the lights have been switched off.
For high traffic areas, installing energy-saving bulbs like CFL and LED bulbs would be a great idea. These bulbs consume less energy compared to traditional and incandescent bulbs; hence, you will be able to save money even when the lights are accidentally left on for an extended period of time.
Benefits of Motion Sensors
There are several benefits that you can enjoy by installing motion sensors in your household: They’re as follows:
When you install motion sensors on your home or property, you will deter burglars and other criminals from breaking in. Since these lights automatically switch on when someone approaches your home, potential intruders will be startled and run away. Motion sensor light switches, therefore, play a big role in crime deterrence.
Motion sensors are very convenient, especially when you need to navigate to your property or home at night. This technology is very vital for individuals with vision problems since they don’t have to fumble for switches on the wall. When this lighting is installed inside and outside of your property, it will make life easier and even reduce the chances of injuries. Additionally, the lighting is convenient and will eliminate the need to continually switch the lights on and off, particularly if you are arriving home carrying items.
The initial cost of installing motion sensors ranges from $10 to $30. This lighting is great for saving money and reducing energy consumption when installed in low traffic areas like garages, bathroom cabinets, laundry rooms, pantries, and hallways as well as near the stairs. Besides, these lights automatically switch on when motion is detected and turn off after seconds of no motion, thus saving energy. This means that your power bills will be considerably lower, thereby allowing you to increase your savings.
Basic Habits with Lights to Help You Save Money
Truth be told, most of us are guilty of leaving lights on and wasting energy which results in wasting money. Luckily, there are some habits that you can adopt with regard to lighting in your home so that you can save money on utility bills. They’re as follows:
Turn the lights off when you don’t need them
Always strive to switch off the lights each time you leave the room or when not using them. Switching off two of your 100-watts incandescent bulbs could save you up to $15 every year. By adopting this habit, you will save a considerable amount of electricity and prolong the life of your light bulb.
Replace traditional lighting with energy-efficient bulbs
Buy energy-efficient bulbs like CFLs, halogen, and LEDs to replace incandescent light bulbs. Energy-saving light bulbs are ENERGY STAR certified and give the same output of light as the standard bulbs but at lower energy consumption.
Besides, CFLs can be recycled after they burn out. Plus, CFLs bulbs tend to last 10 years longer than standard bulbs while LEDs can last up to 25 years longer. Although the initial cost of energy-efficient bulbs is high, it can’t be compared to the amount of money that you will save in the long run.
Install dimmer switches
Turn to dimmer switches that let you light up the room depending on your requirements. Dimmers help reduce the amount of light so as to avoid over lighting. With dimmer switches, you can tailor the amount of light and electricity that you intend to use.
Upgrade your walls with light-friendly paint
If you are repainting, be sure to use semi-gloss or satin paint as they reflect light better. With such a painting, you can use lower wattage bulbs.
Leverage natural light whenever possible
During the day, take advantage of natural light rather than switching on the lights. If you are renovating or constructing a new house, make sure that you position the rooms in such a way that they can get adequate sunlight.
Another way to save money is by using task lighting like under counter lights and table lamps to work in certain areas like the kitchen.
Rather than using overhead lights, turn to electrical lights which produce a decent amount of light but at a lower cost. This will allow you to get sufficient lighting and save money at the same time. Besides, lamps can enhance the ambiance and add to the curb appeal of your home.
Use halogen lights
For outdoor lighting, opt for halogen light bulbs as they use a quarter less electricity compared to incandescent bulbs. They will help you save money without losing brightness.
Turn to smart lighting
Additionally, opt for motion sensors to light your exterior and rooms with low traffic. Since these are activated by motion, they will power on when someone comes to the room and shut off when there’s no one in the room.
Lower the wattage
When installing lighting for your household, consider low wattage bulbs based on the intended purpose. If you want to create a cool atmosphere, go for bulbs with a low wattage as they will help reduce your energy costs.
Install multiple switches
If you are planning to install lighting in a large area, it is wise to install different switches for various areas in the room. This will allow you to control the lighting only on the areas that you intend to use at a particular time. If you are not using an area, it will be easier to keep the lights turned off so you can significantly reduce electricity wastage.
Dust your light bulbs
It is a good idea to dust your bulbs from time and again as dust can lower light flow. Unknown to many, dust can absorb dust which can reduce your lighting’s overall efficiency.
Avoid multiple fittings
A bright idea for saving on lighting is avoiding the use of multiple lights. It is better to use one incandescent light than multiple low wattage bulbs. More lights will only mean that you will consume more electricity which can be costly.
Turn to solar-powered lights
One way to conserve energy and reduce high electricity bills is by adopting green energy by using solar panels. For instance, you can use lamps that store energy from the sun to light up outdoor areas.
Educate your household
Last but certainly not least, take the initiative of educating your household on the importance of energy-saving. By teaching them the basic light saving tips, you will be able to power your home without breaking the bank by paying high electricity bills.
Saving Opportunities for Outdoor Lights
If you love outdoor lighting, it is only right that you scout for ways to save on energy and money. Outdoor lighting is a great way to enhance security and add to the curb appeal of your home. Unfortunately, this lighting can be expensive, especially if you don’t know the tips for saving energy and money when installing them.
That said, here are some effective ways to save big when installing an outdoor lighting system:
Use Energy-Efficient Bulbs
When looking for bulbs for outdoor lighting, it pays to invest in energy-efficient bulbs. Though standard lights are cheap to buy, they are expensive in the long run in terms of maintenance and upkeep costs. Efficient bulbs, on the other hand, are expensive to purchase but are going to save you money in the long run. Some types of efficient bulbs you want to consider for your outdoor lighting include:
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) tend to save energy and last for many years than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. These lights consume a third or less energy than the standard bulbs and operate a lower wattage. As they consume less energy, these bulbs last longer and don’t need replacement like traditional bulbs. Due to their durability, LEDs do well in both indoor and outdoor environments including cold weather.
Besides, they come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and temperatures to choose from. For outdoor use, LED products such as porch lights, pathway lights, and step lights would be ideal. Another reason why you may want to switch to LED lighting is due to the fact that they generate less heat than other alternatives, resulting in reduced cooling costs.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
Though they are less efficient than LEDs, CFLs are great energy-efficient options for outdoor use. Just like LEDs, CFLs have been proven to be floodlights as they can withstand harsh weather like rain and snow. Nonetheless, the performance of CFLs depends on the temperature as they are likely to produce less light during cold nights.
This is another energy-efficient option that can make a great difference in your outdoor lighting. These lights give off natural light which can help lower electricity usage. Besides lighting, these lights can also be used for aesthetic purposes.
Halogen bulbs are great to use outside since they consume 25-30% less energy than incandescent bulbs without compromising on the brightness.
Use Automated Lighting Controls
In most cases, outdoor lights are left powered on even when they are not needed. This can lead to massive wastage of electricity and will cause you to dig deeper into your pocket. To avoid this, think about investing in auto lighting controls such as motion sensors, dimmers, and timing controls.
If you need outdoor lighting for purposes of safety, convenience, and security, motion sensors would be a great choice. Motion sensing technology is very convenient for turning on the lights if necessary them and turning them off when you don’t need them. Despite being convenient, they can help you save energy and money for your outdoor lighting system.
Meanwhile, timing control systems give you the ability to shut on or off or even dim the lights automatically. You can set the timer for certain times during the day or night. Similarly, you can install dimmer switches that allow you to tailor the amount of light needed which can really help combat wastage.
Invest in Solar Lighting
It goes without saying that solar-powered lighting is great for the environment and an effective measure for saving money on energy consumption. Solar light is an environmentally friendly outdoor lighting solution that will help you cut down on maintenance and operation costs.
Other lighting alternatives emit carbon which is a great contributor to global warming. This damages the environment and adversely affects human health. For this reason, most homes and businesses are turning to solar-powered lighting for an energy source.
It is, however, important to note that installing a solar outdoor lighting system is going to cost a lot of money compared to the cost of installing standard bulbs. The good news, however, is that you will be able to regain the money since you won’t have to pay any energy bills.
Plus, solar light requires very little maintenance and will allow you to recover your money through tax incentives. If you opt for the solar lighting system, make sure that you customize it to meet your lighting needs.
Carefully Select the Lighting Fixtures
Most people don’t know that there are various lighting products that come with incentives. These fixtures are great at improving the environment and reduce electricity waste. You can, therefore, save energy and money with these fixtures which can be found at different conventional retailers.
For instance, there are some electrical companies that provide incentives of $60 for each daylight dimming controls installed.
Don’t Forget About Routine Maintenance
While outdoor lighting is built to endure the harsh environment, there is still a need for routine maintenance in order to keep the lights in perfect shape. Neglecting to do routine performance could be one of the causes of high electricity bills.
An example of an important and easy routine maintenance is cleaning the bulbs twice a year. This helps to remove dust which can absorb light and reduce the efficiency of the bulb. Another way of ensuring maintenance for your outdoor lights is by changing damaged and burnt bulbs.
Also, ensure that the cables are well-maintained and keep the trees near the lights well-trimmed. Doing this will prolong the life of your outdoor lighting system and increase its efficiency.
Things to Look Out for When Buying Light Bulbs
The right choice of a light bulb can ensure that you get more savings at the end of every month. However, you need to know how to purchase the right light bulbs so you can reduce your energy consumption. Below are some important factors you have to consider:
1. Your Preferred Style
There are different types of energy-efficient light bulbs in the market to choose from. For this reason, it pays to know your style so you can choose bulbs that won’t just complement your décor but also meet your saving needs at the same time.
When choosing the style and shape of a bulb, it is important to know that the design will determine the direction in which the light will go. To illustrate, a bulb that features a candle shape will do well in a lamp while a spiral-shaped bulb is great for a ceiling pendant.
While you’re at it, the size of your preferred bulb also matters. While smaller bulbs are great for creating a decorative background, larger bulbs can give better brightness for your outdoors- this means that you won’t need to invest in multiple bulbs.
2. The Right Brightness
When deciding which bulb to choose, it is vital to consider your brightness requirements. For example, the brightness of an outdoor LED light is measured in lumens, and the higher the number of lumens the bulb has, the brighter the light it produces. For outdoor lighting, you want a bulb that has high lumens to provide adequate brightness outside.
If you are looking for an indoor bulb to create a cool atmosphere, consider a bulb with fewer lumens. If you want a light that is bright like a 60-watt incandescent, you will need about 600 lumens.
If you are thinking about replacing your halogen bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, it is vital to ensure that the brightness is the same. To do this, you need to match the lumen output. With regards to wattages, energy-saving bulbs give the same brightness but at a lower wattage than halogen.
To illustrate this, check out the brightness table below in order to know the amount of wattage energy-saving bulbs should have before replacing the halogen bulbs:
3. Security and Motion
Most outdoor bulbs come with motion sensors or timers in order to enhance security for your property. This feature helps reduce electricity wastage as it ensures that the lights operate only when necessary. Make sure that your bulb and motion sensors are compatible with each other.
When shopping for energy-saving light bulbs, you need to decide whether you want warm or cold light. The temperature of light is measured in Kelvin which can either be warm or cold.
Warm light has a slightly yellow glow which is about 2700K, white light is at 3000K, bright white light is around 3500K to 4100K, and blue-white light is around 5000K to 6500K. Natural white – which sits at 3000K – has a less yellow light and is ideal for areas like bathrooms and kitchen. If your home is modern, you may want to consider cooler temperatures.
You also want to make sure that the lighting solution you choose is compatible you’re your existing connections. If not, then ask your supplier or electrician about the accessories that you will need in order to mount the light to the current connections.
6. Compatible with Fully Enclosed Fixtures
Another factor to consider is whether the bulbs you are considering can be used in fixtures that are fully enclosed. This is important, especially if you are choosing bulbs for outdoor lighting. Otherwise, heat is likely to build up in the fixtures which can reduce the efficiency and performance of your bulb and even shorten its life.
7. Weather Resistance
Most outdoor lighting systems are designed to be rugged and work well in outdoor environments. Despite this, you have to counter check and ensure that the bulb you choose can withstand the weather conditions in your area. If the bulb is not tolerant of conditions like rain and snow, don’t think twice about installing it under a canopy or porch as doing so will only shorten its lifespan.
Conclusion: Energy-efficient lighting can save hundreds
As seen above, there is a wide range of energy-efficient lighting options that can help you save a considerable amount of money in the long run. Although bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR certification are costly to buy at first, they use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. This will allow you to cut your energy bills and provide you with consistent savings during their lifetime without compromising on their lighting quality.
We hope this guide has covered everything you need in terms of proper lighting and how you can save money on your monthly electricity bills.