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.
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.
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 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.
Upgrading your lighting fixtures is a great way to save energy. In the recent years, technology has made huge strides in becoming greener, and as a result there has been plenty of advancements in the creation of more energy efficient lighting options.
One way you can update your existing lighting fixtures is by adding dimmers to them. Having dimmers allow you to adjust the level of brightness in a given room, which means that your lights don’t have to always be blasting at full capacity. Dimming your lights will in turn help you save energy and electricity, while also extending the lives of your lightbulbs.
Another great energy saving lighting option is to install motion sensor lights. They are great in that they won’t even turn on unless something alerts them by stepping into their peripheral, in which case they will be triggered automatically. They can be used inside the home so that the lights will never be left on once you exit a room. Additionally, motion sensor lights are also a popular choice for outdoor home security lighting, as they keep homeowners safe while simultaneously ensuring that the outside lights are not shining all night long.
You may wonder how having multiple lights within a room can in fact save energy. Wouldn’t more lights automatically mean more energy? Although the answer seems like an obvious yes, this is not always the case as long as you know how to efficiently use all your lights.
When someone steps foot into a room, they generally turn on all the ceiling lights since that is the only lighting option they have. This can be an extreme waste of energy especially when you only need light in a certain area of the room. This brings us to why having multiple lights in a room can be beneficial to saving energy. Having multiple lights in a room gives you the freedom and choice to light up only the parts of a room that you plan to use. This can be a more money saving option for those who prefer not to invest in light dimmers and light controls. For example, by adding a decorative table lamp or two to different corners of the environment, you now have the option of illuminating that one area without having to turn on the overhead lights for the entire room. This is also a very simple process which won’t require you to be tech savvy in figuring out how to wire a system.
The most important step of adding more lighting fixtures in your room is being strategic in its placement. Make sure you place them in areas of a room that people usually spend time at, such as next to chairs and couches or on side tables.
In the end, the cheapest method of saving energy on lighting fixtures s by utilizing natural light: sunshine. Sunlight is free and sustainable, making it the best option for saving on electricity. Here are some great tips that you can follow to fully take advantage of natural light in your house.
- Move all furniture away from the windows.
- Repaint dark rooms with lighter colors to reflect natural light. Be sure to paint with an eggshell or satin finish, not matte.
- Install light weight or sheer curtains.
- Install tubular skylight lights.
- Purchase mirrors to hang from your wall to bounce beams about the place.
- Choose a polished, light tone wood floor for your room.
If you aren’t ready to make the switch over to using eco-friendly lighting at home, you can still do something that will have a large impact. Some local utility companies now offer citizens the choice to switch to an electric company that sources their energy from green friendly options, like windmills and solar panels. If you elect to switch your energy provider, you shouldn’t notice any adjustments to how you receive your energy or how well it works — but you will be making a big change regarding overall energy consumption.