Lighting is one of the most visible ways you use energy in your home. While a single light bulb doesn't use much energy, all the lights in your home combined can account for up to 20 percent of your monthly electricity bill. Replacing as many incandescent lights with energy-saving models is one of the easiest ways to lower your energy costs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) have revolutionized energy efficient lighting. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and wattages that can allow you to light up your home for less—without sacrificing style or comfort.
Quick tips for energy efficient lighting
- Rely on natural light when available.
- Get in the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room.
- Illuminate just your task. Turn off other lights.
- Consider three-way fluorescent lamps to provide variation of brightness for different tasks.
- Use timers when on vacation. That way, your home looks more lived in while you're away and lights aren't on all the time.
- Use lighter colored lamp shades to enhance light output.
- Go green with solar-powered or daylight sensor security lighting.
The Right Light for the Job
Experts divide lighting into three categories: ambient, task and accent lighting. You'll probably prefer cool light for visual tasks, such as reading or sewing, and warm light for ambient and accent applications in your kitchen, living room and dining room. No matter what you choose, you can probably find an energy efficient product to fit your need including recessed, three-way or dimmable.
Instant savings on energy-saving light bulbs
Doing your part to save energy helps keep energy costs in check. Avista is doing its part, too. One way is through the regional Simple Steps buy-down program, we work with manufacturers to help many local retailers reduce the costs for energy efficient CFL bulbs. That way, you can take advantage of in-store instant savings. It's a win-win for us all.
To find out which retailers offer this special CFL pricing, view the store locator.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
CFLs lead the market in efficient lighting. When they first hit the market, the selection wasn't all it could be. But today's CFLs come in many different types and even better quality.
Benefits of CFL light bulbs
- Less energy. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, but provide the same amount of light—potentially saving you up to 30 dollars in energy costs over its lifetime.
- More efficient. CFLs are simply more efficient in their use of energy, turning more of their energy into light and less into heat. By comparison, a standard incandescent bulb turns much of the energy it uses into heat.
- Variety. CFLs can be used throughout your home in a variety of wattages, including three-way, recessed and dimmable applications. You can even use outdoor rated CFLs on outdoor sockets.
- Longevity. CFLs last up to seven times longer than an incandescent bulb. This is especially convenient for outdoor fixtures that are turned on for long periods of time, or for hard to reach fixtures.
CFLs contain electronic components and an extremely small amount of mercury, which means they should be recycled properly. Avoid throwing out spent CFLs in the household trash or incinerating them.
CFLs are completely recyclable, and here's how: All you have to do is drop your used CFLs off at a CFL recycling site near you and we'll take it from there.
To reduce the risk of bulb breakage and contamination, place the CFL in a sealed plastic bag before recycling at a household hazardous waste site. Our program partners will recycle every component, including glass, aluminum and mercury-bearing phosphor powder.
Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are efficient bulbs that offer even greater energy savings than CFLs. LED lighting is efficient, durable, versatile and long-lasting. Initially more expensive than CFLs, LEDs bring more value since they last longer. Also, the price of LED bulbs is going down each year as the manufacturing technology continues to improve.
Benefits of LED light bulbs
- Less electricity. LEDs use up to 90 percent less electricity to produce the same amount of light as their traditional incandescent counterparts. The electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb, for example, could power 140 LEDs.
- Safety. Older incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their electricity to heat and convert only 10 percent to visible light. The excess heat can lead to an increased fire risk. By contrast, LED lights are cool to the touch, which helps reduce fire risk.
- Longevity. When they are properly taken care of, LEDs last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Also, because they do not contain delicate filaments of glass, LED bulbs can withstand light impact without breaking.
- Variety. There are colors, shapes and sizes available for indoor and outdoor use. Some are even dimmable.
- Weatherproof. LED lights function just as well outdoors as they do indoors. They are constructed in such a way that they are impervious to moisture, heat and cold.
Use ENERGY STAR rated lighting as it has been tested for numerous quality parameters.