Green Lighting Tips for Homeowners

Energy Department ENERGY STAR 2.0 energy saving from LED lighting

Eco-Friendly Lighting Tips

We Got Lites, May 3, 2015

There are increasing amounts of opportunities to undertake environmentally-conscious practices, from the car you drive to where you shop and the type of food you buy. The small choices you make in your everyday life can really add up over time to help benefit the planet. An extraordinarily easy way you can practice being green is to use green lighting in your home. Once you install your fixtures or bulbs, there’s not much else to do except enjoy your new lighting knowing you’ve done something good for the environment.

Not sure where to start? Shop for lights with the ‘Energy Star’ stamp of approval on them – these are tested and proven to be energy efficient, and will therefore save you money on monthly electric bills while also working to protect the environment. However, these are not the only ways you can help the environment.

If you’re not ready to invest in new eco-friendly fixtures, consider simply changing out the bulbs in your current lamps to more energy efficient ones. The three main types of eco-friendly light bulbs are CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs), LEDs (light-emitting diodes), and smart bulbs.

CFLs

Even if you haven’t tried CFLs, you’ll likely recognize them due to their swirly, cone-like shape. These bulbs burn for 10,000 hours, a huge difference from traditional incandescent bulbs, which only last between 1,000 and 2,000 hours!

The obvious drawback is that CFLs have a much higher sticker price; however, those who are resistant to making the switch should consider that CFLs wind up saving you plenty in the long run. Their extended lifespan means that these bulbs pay for themselves in only 500 hours of use. Not only that, they also use about a quarter of the energy that an incandescent bulb does, so you’ll be paying a lower monthly electric bill.

CFLs also don’t give off as much heat at incandescent bulbs. Therefore, when you are running air conditioners and fans in attempts to keep your house cool, your light bulbs will be working with your appliances instead of against them to keep the house at a comfortable temperature.

The only real concern regarding CFLs is that it does require more resources to manufacture a CFL than an incandescent bulb. It also contains a small amount of mercury, however, almost all of a CFL lightbulb is recyclable.

LEDs

Although a bit more expensive, pricing at $8 to $20, LED light bulbs are quite possibly the most energy efficient kind of lightbulb. The reason for their higher price is due to their much longer life span of up to 50,000 hours.

There is also a wide range of colors and brightness levels for LED lights and they do not take a long time to warm up, in comparison to CFLs. They are also dimmable, but can sometimes flicker or waver when using a dimmer switch.

LED lights can be used anywhere because of its long life span and varying levels of brightness. However, it should be noted that LEDs may be made up of potentially toxic materials. Because of this, you should take precaution in disposing broken LED lights. Instead of throwing them in the trash, recycle them or take them to a hazardous waste facility.

Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs are the next generation of lighting. To adjust the brightness and set lighting schedules, you can easily connect your smart bulb to an app on your smart phone. Smart bulbs can even automatically change its brightness depending on the available natural light, saving a significant amount of energy.

Because of all the advanced features of the smart bulb, its pricing is a lot higher than the other lighting options. It can range from $15 to $50 and can last from 25,000 to 50,000 hours. In addition, many can be inhibited from fully utilizing all of the unique features of a smart bulb if they do not have the technology for it or have problems with figuring the connectivity. But if you are willing to make the investment, this can save you a lot of money on electricity in the long run. Similar to LEDs, make sure you dispose of smart bulbs properly.

Read More