Home lighting is an area where we can really make a difference as far as energy conservation goes. A few simple technological advances that are really neither all that technological, nor advanced have given us options to make our lighting more energy efficient and thus, more cost-effective as well. These have been around for years now, but aren’t as widely used as perhaps they should be. Let’s take a look, shall we.
We’ll start with dimmer switches. Now these handy guys have been around for a while, I’m guessing since the sixties or seventies. I remember the early ones as round knobs you pushed to turn the light on or off and then simply twisted the knob to attain your desired brightitude. Newer incarnations of the dimmer include the slide dimmer, where a sliding knob is next to a standard light switch, and the touch dimmer, which provides three or four brightness settings adjustable by simply tapping or touching the base of the lamp.
Next, we’ll look at motion sensors and timers. Like dimmer switches, these have been around for a while as well, and are a wonderfully simple way to reduce energy consumption. Plain and simply, sensors and timers limit the amount of time your lights are on, thus saving energy and money. Timers are ideal for outdoor use, as they can be set to turn on lights after sunset and turn them off later at night or at sunrise. Motion sensors have been long been a staple for porch and patio lights, both to welcome visitors and to dissuade would-be burglars. Recently, they have been popping up in more and more office buildings and public restrooms as an easy way to limit the amount of time empty rooms stay lit.
Another way to achieve more energy efficient lighting is to replace older and outdated light fixtures with Energy Star qualified lights and to replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. An Energy Star light fixture used in conjunction with a compact fluorescent can be as much as 70 percent more energy efficient than an older fixture with a standard incandescent bulb. The incandescent light bulb is one of the biggest energy wasters we have in this country, and it is also one of the easiest to change.