An average household dedicates about 10% of its energy budget to lighting. Ever since Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, lighting options for consumers have been evolving to try to meet the government’s higher efficiency standards. The goal: to produce the same light with less energy.

Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. For example, replacing 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year.

Many new energy efficient lighting products have made it to market— ENERGY STAR®-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs), as well as halogen incandescent bulbs. They provide the range of choices consumers expect from more traditional bulbs, including a variety of colors, bulb types, and light levels, all while using less energy and reducing electricity costs.

The most popular light bulbs available are halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Initially, these products can cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, but over their lifetime they save you money because they use less energy.

Here is quick comparison:

Energy-saving, or halogen, incandescent light bulbs are about 25% more efficient and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

ENERGY STAR CFLs use about 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. A typical CFL can pay for itself in energy savings in less than 9 months and continue to save you money each month.

LED bulbs offer similar light quality to traditional incandescents, last 25 times as long, and use even less energy than CFLs. LED bulbs are rapidly expanding in household use.

Here are some suggestions for utilizing energy-efficient lighting in your home or business:

Keep your curtains or shades open to use daylighting instead of turning on lights. For more privacy, use light-colored, loose-weave curtains to allow daylight into the room. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.

When remodeling, look for recessed light fixtures or “cans” which are rated for contact with insulation and are air tight (ICAT rated).

When replacing incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures, use energy-efficient bulbs that are rated for that purpose. For example, the heat buildup in downlights will significantly shorten the life of spiral CFLs.

Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures. They are available in many styles, distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures, and some offer convenient features such as dimming.

Controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.

Visit ENERGY STAR to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures. They are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture and provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day.

For outdoor lighting such as porch lights and pathway lights, LED products are ideal due to their durability and performance in cold environments. CFLs and LEDs are available as flood lights. These models have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures.

Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial electrical questions. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection.” We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.