Lighting Strategies

Overview

Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can drastically decrease your utility bills, but there are many other simple solutions when it comes to efficient lighting. Save more with daylighting, light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, dimmers, motion sensors and by addressing high “phantom” electrical loads.

Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliance Usage

Electricians and “green” lighting specialists go far beyond light bulb replacement. Some of their energy saving techniques use LED light fixtures, natural daylight, dimmers and motion sensors.

Typical homes can save 50 percent or more on electric bills by replacing and redesigning their home lighting system. This can create huge savings, since lighting often accounts for 10 percent of total home energy consumption.  

How to Use Skylights and Daylighting Efficiently

“Daylighting” forgoes expensive solutions like solar panels in favor of natural sunlight. This environmentally-friendly strategy is proven to improve mood, reduce eye fatigue and - of course - decrease energy consumption. Most regions have 1,500 to 3,000 hours of available daylight to take advantage of every year. Why spend electricity when the sun is shining?

Modern daylighting systems use optics to capture, transfer and deliver natural light effectively into the home. You can retrofit your existing house with daylighting strategies and even protect interior surfaces from harmful ultraviolet rays. Unlike older skylight systems, there’s little risk of leakage. This is one of the most dramatic changes you can make in the interior of your home for minimal cost. And the best part? The sun won’t send you a bill at the end of the month.

If you’re going to install skylights instead, the best way to incorporate them into the design of your home will depend on your region. If you live in a cold northern climate, your best bet is to design your daylighting on the south side of your home. This will allow light to penetrate into your home throughout the winter months. In sunny climates, however, homeowners often choose to place skylights on the north side of their home because it will reduce the amount of heat gain through their windows, while still allowing plenty of light into their homes.

The efficiency of the windows and skylights you choose for your home is also important because without properly sealed, energy efficient windows, your home could potentially lose and gain significant amounts of heat through and around the windows. Look for windows with low U-factors and low solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC). A retrofit contractor will be able to help you figure out the best way to incorporate daylighting systems or skylights into your home for more natural lighting and to reduce energy usage.

Ready to start your project? Click here for useful tips about contractors.  


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