Using energy saving lighting is a great way to save money and be environmentally conscious at the same time. However, the average Coloradan consumer might not know how to find the best and most appropriate energy-efficient lighting choices for the home. But, it is not difficult. Following are six ways to find the best energy efficient lighting.
1. Conduct research
Conducting research is a great way to find the right energy-efficient lighting to fit your needs. There is lots of information available at your fingertips. Conducting a few simple Internet searches can help you learn more about the various types of lighting available and their differences.
Scheduling a home or office energy audit is an effective way to find out which lighting is most efficient and other ways to make your property more energy-efficient. This can help preserve natural resources and reduce the cost of your monthly utility bills.
2. Know the difference between the lighting choices
Each of the several types of light bulbs has a different purpose. When you are choosing the right energy-efficient lighting, you need to know the best bulb for the job. Incandescent lights are what people recognize as light bulbs. They burn hot and are not energy-efficient. They are becoming increasingly difficult to find, as they are being phased out of the market. Halogen bulbs provide lighting that is the closest to natural sunlight. They are slightly more expensive than incandescent lights and burn at a high temperature. They are ideal for under-cabinet lighting and pendant lights and recessed cans.
Fluorescent lights provide flat, cold light that has a bluish tint and can be harsh. They are ideal for lighting large areas such as basements and attics. Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) are the spiral-shaped bulbs that are gaining in popularity. They can consume ¼ the energy of incandescent bulbs and last ten times longer. They can be used anywhere incandescent bulbs are used. Light emitting diode (LED) lights are energy-efficient and long lasting. They supply directional light but not diffused light. They are ideal for under-counter task lighting.
3. Pick Energy Star light bulbs
Energy Star is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that is dedicated to helping consumers and businesses save money while protecting the environment at the same time through the best energy efficiency practices. Appliances and light bulbs that have earned the Energy Star symbol are guaranteed to save you both energy and money.
According to government Energy Star website, Energy Star light bulbs have the following benefits help consumers save between $30-80 per bulb. They meet strict quality and efficiency standards and their wide variety of shapes and sizes meet multiple needs. Also, they have color temperatures ranging from warm to cool light. You can find Energy Star rated light bulbs at most big box and other retail stores that sell light bulbs.
4. Choosing the right light temperature
CFL lights come in a variety of light temperature colors that can capture the right need or mood you are seeking. Most CFLs come in warm yellowish colors that are similar to the light emitted from incandescent lights. They also come in cooler colors that emit blue or white light. These tints are ideal for task lighting or reading.
The color of the bulbs is rated on the Kelvin scale and is indicated on the packaging. Energy Star suggests the following ranges for specific types of light. A range of 2,700-3,000K for a warmer color appearance, 5,500-4,100 for a bright white light and 5,000-6,500K for a bluer light that is more like daylight.
5. Choosing the right bulb shape
CFL bulbs come in a variety of sizes to meet the multiple needs of the consumer. Spiral bulbs are the most recognizable type of CFLs. They can replace most 60-150W incandescent light bulbs around the home. Covered A-shaped bulbs combine the efficiency of the spiral bulb with the look of an incandescent bulb. Covered globes are ideal choices for places where the bulb can be seen. Tubed bulbs are ideal for sconces or lamps that have slender covers.Candle bulbs are perfect for decorative uses where the bulb can be seen.
Indoor reflector bulbs should be used for ceiling fans or other recessed lighting areas. Outdoor reflector bulbs are made to resist bad weather. And 3-way and dimmer CFLs are specifically designed for their respective types of lighting sources.
6. Understand the limitations of CFLs
Before switching out all of the lighting in your house to CLFs, you need to be aware of the limitations they have. Being aware of the limitations will save you from any unexpected surprises. CFLs are sensitive to on/off cycling. If the bulbs are switched on and off several times during the day, their lifespan will be reduced. Only use CFLs that are designed for dimmers and 3-way switches in those fixtures. A CFL that is not designated for those specific purposes will not work in those fixtures.
If non-outdoor CLFs are being used outside, they must be shaded from the sun. They are not suitable for use as spotlights. They do contain trace amounts of mercury, so they should be handled with care. They also should always be recycled and never thrown away.
Being a knowledgeable consumer is an important part of choosing the best energy-efficient lighting to fit your needs. Being armed with the right information is the best way to save the most amount of money while conserving energy at the same time. Consider scheduling a home or office energy audit to help you learn how to choose the right light bulbs and other energy-saving tips that can help reduce your utility bills.
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