How to Shave Dollars Off Your Electric Bill
Increasing your lighting efficiency is one of the fastest ways to decrease your energy bills. If you replace your lights in high-use areas with fluorescents, you can save about 50 percent of your lighting energy costs.
Use linear fluorescent and energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps in fixtures throughout your home to provide high quality
and high efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last six to ten times longer. Although fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they pay for themselves by saving energy over their lifetime.
- Turn off the lights in any room you're not
using, or consider installing timers, photocells, or occupancy sensors to reduce
the amount of time your lights are on.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly
lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use
fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under
Consider three-way lamps;
they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when
brighter light is not necessary.
- Use four-foot fluorescent fixtures with
reflectors and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage and laundry
- Consider using four-watt mini-fluorescent
or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than
their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the
Use compact fluorescent lamps in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger compact fluorescent lamps.
- When shopping for new light fixtures,
consider compact fluorescent lamps with reflectors. The lamps range in wattage
from 13-watt to 32-watt and provide a very directed light using a reflector
and lens system.
- Take advantage of daylight by using
light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to
penetrate the room while preserving privacy.
- Decorate with lighter colors that
reflect daylight and/or electric light. u If you have torchiere fixtures with
halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres.
Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60 percent to 80 percent less energy, can
produce more light and do not get as hot as the halogen torchieres.
- Look for the Energy Star label
when purchasing these products. "Energy Star Bulbs represent the cutting edge
in lighting technology and bring long life, brightness and savings into
any family's home," Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said when launching
the Energy Star lighting effort. Energy Star compact fluorescent lights mush
have a minimum lifetime of 6,000 hours, though many Energy Star light bulbs
are rated for 10,000 hours of use - that's seven years of use at four hours per
day for every day. The bulbs do not need to "warm up," and come in a wide
range of styles, shapes and wattage values. Specifics on lighting
specifications and products can be found at www.energystar.gov
A portion of the above article was
excerpted from Energy Savers:
on Saving Energy & Money at Home. Readers can contact
in the Energy Office for free copies of Energy Savers,
tips can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy web site:
Return to the Fall 1999 Newsletter