Select the type of light bulb on the basis of its efficiency. Compact fluorescent bulbs will give an incandescent bulb’s warm soft light, while using 75 percent less electricity. They also last about 8 to 10 times longer. Use these bulbs in fixtures or lamps that are on for more than two hours each day.
If you don’t like the “look” of compact fluorescent lighting, consider high-efficiency halogen lighting. For example, a 100-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 70-watt halogen bulb. A 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 40-watt halogen bulb.
Some compact fluorescent bulbs can be used with dimmer switches. Check the package to make sure they can be used with dimmers. Where possible, consider using dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs.
Instead of using a 190-watt halogen torchiere to light up a room, consider a compact fluorescent torchiere that will produce as much light, and use less than 80 watts.
The reflectance of interior surfaces has an important bearing on lighting efficiency. In home decoration, therefore, choose lighter colors for walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture. Dark colors absorb light and require higher lamp wattage for a given level of illumination. Light-colored surfaces should be kept clean to keep reflectance levels high.
In lamps and fixtures having two or more sockets for incandescent bulbs, consider using a single large bulb in one socket rather than filling all sockets with bulbs of smaller wattage. A 100-watt bulb, for instance, produces 50 percent more light than four 25-watt bulbs for the same amount of energy. Using compact fluorescent bulbs will save more energy. Typically, a 23-watt compact fluorescent bulb can replace a 90- or 100-watt bulb.
Many so-called “long life” bulbs emit significantly less light than a standard incandescent bulb of the same wattage. They should be used only where the long-life feature is advantageous, as in hard-to-reach places, or where it is not possible to use compact fluorescent bulbs.
When possible, locate floor, table, and hanging lamps in the corner of a room rather than against a flat wall. Lamps in corners reflect light from two wall surfaces instead of one and, therefore, give more usable light.
Clean lighting fixtures regularly. Dust on lamps and reflectors impairs lighting efficiency.
For large areas such as family recreation rooms, where high levels of lighting are required periodically but not 100 percent of the time, install fixtures on two or three separate circuits so illumination can be controlled by switching circuits on and off.
When purchasing light bulbs, the wattage ratings tell you only the amount of power it takes to make a bulb work. The amount of brightness is measured in lumens. Larger wattage bulbs are usually more efficient, whether incandescent or compact fluorescent, producing more lumens per watt than smaller bulbs.
To make sure that outdoor lighting is turned off during the daytime, install photoelectric controls or timers.
Consider using compact fluorescent bulbs in outdoor fixtures. Many bulbs will produce light down to an outdoor temperature of 00 F. Check to see if they are compatible with photoelectric controls or timers.
If you are on vacation, and have a timer on a lamp for security reasons, use a compact fluorescent bulb to save energy. Make sure the timer is compatible with the bulb.
For holiday lighting, consider using Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Not only will LED lights reduce electric use by more than 90 percent, they will last up to 50,000 hours.