According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting constitutes 15% of household energy use. Simply switching light bulbs can save you a lot of money and energy.
Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient and long-lasting. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have a softer light than the bluish tint of regular fluorescent lights. CFLs use 75% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times as long, saving up to $30 during the lifetime of each bulb. And when you are through with them, they can be recycled. By replacing 1 incandescent bulb with a CLF, you are preventing half a ton of CO2 from being emitted in to the atmosphere, as well as preventing sulfur dioxide emissions and high-level nuclear waste. There are several options when choosing CLFs between the color temperature, the shape, and lumens.
Recently concerns have arisen regarding the mercury content in CFLs. Several studies conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists and other organizations reveal the mercury content in CFLs is far less than the mercury produced in coal-fired power plants which produce the majority of the United States electricity.
Light Emitting Diodes
Other types of artificial lighting to consider are halogens and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). LEDs last 10 times longer than CFLs and do not contain fragile filaments, so they are much more durable. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are another alternative which are typically used outdoors or in large areas. Low-Sodium lighting is also used outdoors and is more energy efficient than HID lighting, but they cannot be relied upon to provide light for color distinction.
Light Dimmer Switches
Investing in light dimmer switches also save on energy, by allowing you to adjust the amount of light you need at any given time of the day.
Outdoor solar lighting is another means of illuminating your home. After installation the electricity is free and basically maintenance free. But climate does limit where outdoor solar lighting is most effective.
You can also minimize artificial lighting by investing in day-lighting for your home. Day-lighting takes advantage of indirect sunlight to illuminate your home. It involves more than just installing another window in your ceiling. Professionals use proper techniques to maximize light and avoid glare and heat. For example, north- and south- facing windows allow for significant illumination without the drawback of glare and potential temperature increase that east- and west- facing windows may cause. For all day-lighting, climate, energy performance, and size and position must be taken in to careful consideration to gain full benefits.