This article is part of a series on saving money on electricity.
So far we’ve dealt with the big spenders on the electricity bill.
Now we’re getting down to the pointy end, where the changes that you make will save you money, but not as much as reducing your cooling costs or hot water heating costs.
Lighting accounts for around 7% of a household’s energy bill, but it can be significantly more if you have a house full of downlights!
If you’re still using the old incandescent light bulbs (for downlights or regular lights), then you can make big reductions in the lighting portion of your electricity bill by switching to CFL or LED globes.
These do cost more upfront, particularly the LEDs (although they are coming down in cost and improving in technology each year) and particularly if you’re replacing dozens of downlights (you may also need an electrician to retrofit the CFLs), but they do last longer and use less electricity, meaning you end up better off in the long run.
Here are some action steps to put in place to save money on lighting:
tips on saving money on lighting
- Upgrade any old incandescent bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs. You can see the potential savings between the old-style bulbs and the CFLs in this post on lighting.
- Swap halogen downlights for CFL or LED downlights. While the LEDs are more expensive up front, they use around 70% less energy than the halogen bulbs, emit around 60% less heat (which is important if you live in hot climates!) and they last longer than halogen bulbs.
- Use natural light during the day. Open curtains and blinds to let natural light in. Consider installing a skylight.
- Use the lowest wattage bulb that is suitable for your living space.
- Use as few lights as is suitable for your living space.
- Use low watt lamps instead of overhead lighting. This will particularly save you money if you have dozens of downlights.
- If you have a dimmer switch, dim the lights.
- Turn the lights out when you leave a room unless you’re going to go back into that room within a few minutes.
- Consider whether you even need to turn on the light. Sometimes we do things out of habit rather than necessity. If you’re just popping into a room to get something, you may not even need to turn on the light. Or a wind-up torch may give sufficient light for grabbing what you need.
- Use a motion sensor on outdoor lighting.
- Use solar lighting for outdoor lighting.
No doubt you’ve heard the joke: How many women does it take to change a light bulb?.. None – real women prefer to eat by candlelight.
Not that I’m suggesting that we all go back to candles, but we do tend to overdo lighting at night.
When it comes to lighting our homes, quite often a lot of the electricity we use is wasted rather than necessary. We use more lights and brighter lights than we need (which affects our sleep and wellbeing), we leave lights on in unoccupied rooms or leave them on when we leave the house or we turn the lights on during the day. And every time you’re wasting electricity, that’s wasted money when your next electricity bill arrives.
What are your tips for saving money on lighting?