Proper household lighting is an important component for home safety and lifestyle, and for the interior and exterior design of a home. Whether you’re using lighting aesthetically for the design of a new home or remodel, or you are simply changing the light bulb that has burned out in the lamp next to your favorite reading chair, energy-efficient lighting can help dim energy costs and serve as an important element in the spectrum of home comfort systems.
Lighting and Energy Costs
For homeowners who are serious about curbing energy costs in the home, it’s important to include the household lighting system for real energy savings, and go beyond turning off lights when leaving a room. Following are the energy-consumption allowances per system in the typical home, according to Energy Star statistics:
- Heating and cooling – 46 percent
- Water heating – 14 percent
- Appliances – 13 percent
- Electronics — 4 percent
- Lighting – 12 percent
- Combination (e.g. ceiling fans, vent fans, home audio and power adapters) – 11 percent.
An effective energy-saving strategy should include steps for efficiency upgrades where possible, and energy conservation in accordance with your lifestyle. According to the energy-consumption allowances, this may seem a simpler feat with heating and cooling in the Glenview area, such as performing furnace maintenance or replacement, and following Energy Star when it comes time for replacing the A/C and other appliances.
At first glance, the lighting system’s smaller portion of the energy bill pie (12 percent) may not seem substantial enough to dedicate your time to revamping the lighting system in the home. However, advances in lighting technology over the years have produced quite extreme results, for the better, for efficiency gains made in household lighting watt for watt.
In fact, you may reduce energy consumption for household lighting by as much as 80 percent, without sacrificing lighting quality or brightness, when you replace old-fashioned light bulbs with new high-efficiency bulbs. With that in mind, changing existing home lighting to high-efficiency lighting has the potential to take a big bite out of the 12 percent energy costs allocated to the home’s lighting system.
New and Improved Household Lighting
To know your light bulbs is to know energy savings. There are typically four types of light bulbs readily available for residential applications:
- Incandescent light bulbs are the old-fashioned light bulbs we grew up with. They may become extremely hot, are easily damaged, and are not very energy efficient. They are supposed to last about 1,000 hours. On the bright side, they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and replace.
- Energy-saving incandescent light bulbs offer the same look of a traditional incandescent. They offer about a 25 percent savings in energy costs, and last up to three times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been around several years. They were first easily recognized by their soft blue lighting, which was slightly different than the lighting folks were used to for decades with incandescents. CFLs now offer high-quality lighting comparable to, or better than, traditional bulbs. They deliver as much as 75 percent energy savings and last up to 10,000 hours, or 10 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting.
- Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a new kind of lighting – solid-state – that convert electricity into light. LEDs deliver as much as 80 percent energy savings and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They are more durable than incandescent bulbs, and they’re available in a wide variety of styles and colors, including a traditional bulb look, for many applications. You can find LEDs in lamps, recessed lighting, track lighting, outdoor lighting and more.
Tips For Efficient Indoor Lighting
Household lighting is important for quality of life, and contributes to the aesthetics of home interior design, with practical, sufficient and attractive lighting uses in the kitchen, bathroom, workshops, home offices and more. No matter the style, color, lumens or design your application calls for, get the most energy savings for your lighting needs and designs with these tips and facts:
- Reduce energy costs by 25 to 80 percent by replacing incandescent light bulbs throughout the home with CFLs and LEDs.
- CFLs and LEDs are available in a plethora of shapes and styles to suit and augment any interior (and exterior) home designs. Visit the lighting section of your local home-improvement store for new ideas.
- For new home design or remodels, recessed lighting using LEDs offers big savings and accentuated beauty. Look for recessed fixtures (“cans”) that are insulation-contact rated for safety and efficiency, and airtight fixtures for preventing air exchange between attic air and living space air for comfort and energy savings.
- When you’re replacing traditional incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures or other applications, make sure the energy-saving replacement CFLs or LEDs are rated for the intended purpose of the application. If not used properly, CFLs can endure too much heat gain in down-lights, which shortens their lifespan.
- Be mindful of peak-hour electricity rates with your utilities company, which are typically late afternoon and evening hours. Reduce lighting usage accordingly (e.g., open curtains to allow in sunlight), and reduce usage of other home systems, such as heating and cooling systems, so you are not negating the energy savings of lighting replacements by using too much electricity at the wrong time of day.
- For new construction and remodels, consider using additional energy-saving devices and methods to reduce energy costs of household lighting. Motion sensors, dimmer switches, timers and photocells help save energy conveniently and automatically.
Tips For Efficient Outdoor Lighting
Lighting system energy efficiency, quality and safety are equally important outside the home as inside the home. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your lighting efficiency strategy:
- Make sure outdoor lighting is correctly used to specifications in regards to light bulbs that may need to be enclosed for protection from the elements, and lighting design that’s tough enough to withstand our Northern Illinois weather.
- You may take advantage of the same lighting technology of photocells, dimmer switches, motion sensors and timers outdoors as you do indoors. Moreover, these add-on lighting devices are desirable and effective home safety features.
- Dimmer switches reduce energy costs by reducing electricity output. Timers, motion sensors and photocells reduce energy costs by turning lights on and off as needed.
- Motion-detection sensors activate lighting to illuminate a dark walkway or other area outside the home for you or a loved one, and may also discourage and ward off trespassers on your property. Explore your options for low-voltage walkway lighting, step lights, porch light, yard lighting, solar-powered lighting and flood lights.
- Timers are excellent for making it appear as if your home is occupied when you are out of town, as well as for convenience and energy savings.
- LEDs work well outdoors, as well as indoors, in your Highland Park area home due to their durability and resistance to cold temperatures.
- If outdoor lighting becomes damaged or broken, remedy the issue at your earliest convenience.
- Always look for and consider Energy Star-qualified products and devices for lighting and fixtures. Energy Star-qualified products have passed muster for high energy efficiency and performance; this includes lighting, window replacements and perhaps that new A/C upgrade you’ve been contemplating.
At Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning, our goal is to provide homeowners in Deerfield, Winnetka and surrounding areas top-quality services, repair and systems for HVAC, air quality and home energy efficiency. For more information about choosing the right household lighting for aesthetics, safety and energy savings in your home, please contact us today.
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