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Most of us are on a mission to conserve energy in our homes. Whether we’re trying to do right by our planet, save some cash on our electricity bill, that is), or a mix of the two, most of us are after a more energy-efficient home and lifestyle. At WattDoesitUse, we’re all about coming up with ways to help you save energy, save money, and help save the earth. So when it comes to power consumption in your home, you better believe we’re going to do everything in our power to help guide you toward the most energy-efficient path possible. That’s where the best energy-efficient lighting comes into play.
This is because choosing energy-efficient lighting is one of the simplest ways to conserve electricity. Not only is it incredibly affordable to invest in (no big, upfront costs for lightbulbs like you might see with solar panels or energy-efficient appliances), but it’s also virtually no-hassle to switch out your lightbulbs and light fixtures for more energy-efficient options.
But, how can you tell which type is the best energy-efficient lighting? What’s the big deal about energy-efficient lighting in the first place?
In this post, we shed some light (pun intended!) on why energy-efficient lighting matters and the best energy-efficient lighting investments to make in your home.
Energy-Efficient Lighting: What’s the Big Deal?
You might be thinking right now: “Lightbulbs? Really? Do they make that big of a difference?”
And if you are, you’re not alone. But that’s exactly why we were inspired to write this article. Because ultimately, what you choose to light your home is actually really important for both energy conservation and cost-cutting.
Think of it this way—even if you’re not totally obsessed with saving the planet or conserving energy for environmental purposes, you probably aren’t totally into the idea of waste—both from an energy and a money standpoint.
When you neglect to opt for the most energy-efficient lighting, you do end up neck-deep in waste. You’re wasting energy, which isn’t great from a sustainability or climate action standpoint, but you’re also wasting your hard-earned money. No Bueno!
We’ll be the first to admit that opting for energy-efficient lightbulbs like LEDs (we’ll get to that part in a minute) seems like an insignificant change—but small changes over time accumulate to have a significant impact. When you make small switches for more energy-efficient products, things start to add up, and a little can go a long way.
On top of that, the average American home has 50 light bulbs in it. And here’s a little teaser for the next section: if all of those are incandescent bulbs and you change them out for ENERGY STAR certified bulbs, which use 70-90 percent less energy and last at least 15 times longer, that means you are saving about $80 in energy bills per bulb over the course of its lifetime. Doesn’t sound so insignificant to us!
Good-Bye Incandescent, Hello LEDs
As we mentioned in the previous section, you don’t have to revert to candlelight to save money on your lighting-related energy costs. There are more energy-efficient options than ever which allow you to light your home using the same amount of light for less money.
Most homes use about 5 percent of their energy budget on lighting. If that’s not surprising to you, then you’ve probably already got a solid grasp on the key drivers of energy and electricity use in your home. (If you don’t, don’t sweat it! Read up on electricity basics and utility bill basics to get up to speed.)
While there are a ton of different ways to cut back on the energy you use to light your home, one of the easiest ways is to switch out your dated, energy-wasting incandescent lightbulbs for light-emitting diode light bulbs, or as they’re most commonly referred to, LEDs.
LEDs: The Best Energy-Efficient Lighting Technology for Your Home
And the best part about LED lighting is that they can be used in almost the exact same way as other light sources, but they provide some seriously unique benefits. For example:
- Size: LEDs are super small (about the size of a pinch of pepper) and use a mix of color to make a white LED light. This means that you can choose from a larger variety of bulb sizes depending on where you’re seeking to use them
- Light Quality: Because LED bulbs emit light in a specific direction, you likely won’t need to deal with reflectors to help you trap and direct light—which, for specific tasks, makes this a very efficient option.
- Heat: LED bulbs don’t release heat at the same rate that incandescent do. In fact, incandescent bulbs release about 90-95 percent of their energy as heat and only use about 5-10 percent of energy to light—LEDs are basically the opposite. This contributes to their energy efficiency and also minimizes heating of ambient air (which can in turn help your heating and cooling costs).
If you’re not totally convinced, check out this great chart from Earth Easy. It compares LEDs, CFLs, and incandescent light bulbs to give you a better idea of their projected lifespans, their cost of electricity, and total household savings, too.
LEDs Promise Electricity Savings
According to Energy.Gov, by 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348TWh of electricity—which, to put it simply, is about the same amount of electric power as 44 large power plants operating at 1000 megawatts each.
Need us to put that in a different, more relatable perspective?
That’s about $30 billion of total savings at our modern-day average electricity prices. Now, that’s something we can get behind.
How To Integrate LEDs In Your Home
We love LED lights for lots of reasons, but most of all, we love how versatile and dynamic they are. In no way will you be giving up performance in your efforts to save energy and save money.
LED lights aren’t a one-trick-pony. You can use them in almost any kind of light fixture in place of your incandescent lights or CDFs. And by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified LED lights, you can save about $45 annually on your electricity bill.
So, where can you use LED lights? The shower answer: basically everywhere.
The longer answer?
- Recessed downlights: lights in your hallways, your bathrooms, your offices. There are at least 500 million recessed downlights installed in the US. Imagine if we switched out all of those and decreased downlight wattage by 75 percent (or more).
- Kitchen under-the-cabinet lights: LEDs are super tiny, so they’re perfect for small spots under your cabinets.
- Replacement bulbs: opt for LED bulbs to replace your old high-wattage incandescent bulbs as they die out
- Holiday lights: we are so excited about this application, we even wrote an entire blog post about this! We definitely recommend giving it a read for a more environmentally-friendly holiday season.
- Industrial lights: you’ll likely find LEDs in street lights and outdoor areas because they’re so efficient and so directional. Offices and warehouses can benefit from those advantages, too.
Let There Be (Energy-Efficient) Light!
Ultimately, swapping out your lights can make a huge difference in your energy- and cost-cutting efforts. At the end of the day, it doesn’t always take an enormous gesture to make a difference—mindful choices can go a long way.
The best place to start? With your lights.
Let us know how this change goes, and share the wealth with your friends and family! ‘Tis the season for new year’s resolutions, and investing in the best energy-efficient lighting for your home is a great one.
Looking for other ways to measure and improve your home’s energy efficiency? Once you’ve got the light thing on lock, consider a home energy audit to help you better understand where your home is energy in-efficient and how you can continue to change your behavior to better emphasize energy conservation in your daily life.