We all remember a parent complaining about having every light in the house on. If you're paying electricity bills, you've probably said it at least once. Here are a few ways to take the edge off of those high energy costs.
Common Lighting Terms
- Watts are standard units of measure in electricity. One watt is equal to 1/746 horsepower.
- Lumens are the standard measure of light produced by a bulb. Standard 100-watt bulbs produce about 1600 lumens.
- Incandescent light bulbs have a filament that's heated to the point of glowing. The glowing filament produces the bulb's light.
- Fluorescent bulbs or tubes are filled with mercury vapor that emits ultraviolet light when electricity is applied. The bulbs/tubes have a coating inside that turns the ultraviolet rays into visible light.
Indoor Lighting Solutions
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs use about 1/4 the energy of regular incandescent bulbs to produce the same number or more lumens. They also last about ten times longer than regular bulbs. Some compact fluorescents are warranted for eight years. Compact fluorescents cost a bit more initially, but the long-term savings more than offset the initial difference in price. A compact fluorescent that gives the same amount of light as a 100-watt regular bulb can save you over $80 over the life of the bulb.
- Task lighting concentrates the light where you need it. With task lighting you aren't wasting energy casting light in spaces where it isn't needed. You also aren't annoying others in the area with an intrusively bright light. When you use task lighting, you can use a lower watt bulb to accomplish the desired result.
- Three way bulbs in touch lamps or regular three way lamps are also good ways to save energy on interior lighting. The bulb allows you to use only as much light as needed, but gives you the option of brighter light when required.
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Outdoor Lighting Solutions
- Motion detectors are great energy saving devices for your exterior needs. They come on automatically and stay on as long as motion is detected in the area. With motion detectors there is no need to leave a light burning while you're out. It will come on automatically to light your way when you return home.
- Low voltage lighting can be used to light walkways with significantly less power than regular incandescent bulbs. One 60-watt string of light can illuminate up to 100' of walkway. You can also install timers and sensors that turn the lights on at dusk and shut them off after a specific time.
- Solar exterior lights charge all day in the sunlight, and then come on as darkness falls. Solar lights are slightly more expensive than regular low voltage lights, but they don't require any electricity or cords. You can place solar lights anyplace that receives sunlight.
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