Trimming your monthly electricity bills and reducing energy loss also includes updating your home's interior and exterior with energy efficient lighting.

The old, traditional incandescent bulbs are no longer being manufactured, although some stores still stock them. More than 90% of their energy is released as heat, which makes this sort of bulb highly inefficient.Fortunately, there is now a wide array of energy-saving options to choose from in the lighting aisles of home improvement stores.

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

There are many affordable light bulbs that save your money and energy. The options include halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). These lights are more energy efficient than the traditional incandescent bulbs.

Halogen Incandescents

Incandescent refers to a material's ability to produce white light when a tiny coil or filament of tungsten wire is heated. The standard A-line lights are pear shaped and have threads that screw into most fixtures such as lamps and ceiling fans. On the other hand, the reflector lights are larger and provide direct light to a particular area.

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Halogen light bulbs are sometimes referred to as energy-saving incandescent bulbs. Their center includes a capsule that is filled with a halogen gas. The gas surrounds a filament. These bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and colors. They are compatible with dimmer switches, which makes them a good choice for bedrooms and dining rooms. The advantages of incandescent lights include their low cost, instant functionality, and ideal light color. Their disadvantages are their short lifespan and low energy efficiency compared with other available light bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

CFLs are a smaller coiled version of the long tube fluorescent light bulbs. They require less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Because of their energy efficiency, they typically pay for themselves within 9 months of regular use, allowing you to start saving money on your lighting costs.

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The CFL bulbs come in color shades from white to yellow. The intensity of the fluorescent light is more consistent than most other types of lighting. Each brand varies in its efficiency and some CFL bulbs can also be used with a dimmer. The main disadvantage of CFL bulbs is the fact that they contain a small amount of mercury inside. If a bulb shatters, special handling is required for the cleanup process. Also, the used-up bulbs should be properly recycled and not simply thrown into your rubbish bin.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

An LED bulb is built around a semiconductor that converts electrical power into light. Compared to a traditional incandescent bulb, the LED bulb lasts 25 times longer and uses only about 20% of the energy consumed by traditional bulbs. The LED option also lasts 8 to 25 times longer than a halogen bulb and consumes about 25% of the energy used by halogen incandescents.

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LED bulbs do not contain mercury and do not release infrared or ultraviolet light. Turning them on and off rapidly does not impact their lifespan like it does with a CFL. In addition, the LED bulbs produce minimal heat while in use. Although LEDs are the most expensive type of light bulbs, they are also the most efficient and longest lasting.

Reading Light Bulb Labels

Every light bulb packaging contains information about the product's efficiency, electricity consumption, and its color. You can also find the unit's wattage, lumens and type of light on the label. The label includes the bulb's Kelvin temperature used to determine the light's hue. The Energy Star guide is another element indicated on the package labeling.

Many packages also include information about CRI and LPW as well as whether or not the product is compatible with a dimmer switch. The light's color rendering index, or CRI, is used to determine its shade, whereas light brightness is indicated by lumens. The higher the lumen, the brighter the bulb.

LPW is a conversion of lumens per watt. This information is important because it helps you select a suitable LED bulb to replace your old incandescent one. For example, an 800-lumen bulb can be used to replace a 60-watt bulb.

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Most LED bulbs only cast light in one direction, but you can buy an omnidirectional bulb that has been engineered to cast light in all directions. Make sure to choose the right bulb for each setting. LEDs are ideal for dimmers, chandeliers, and spotlights. For outdoor lighting, use either a CFL or an LED light bulb. Identify the bulb's brightness and color when making your choices.

Lighting Strategies and Energy-Saving Tips

Whenever you can, choose an energy efficient fluorescent bulb. For interior parts of your home with minimal natural light, consider the installation of a solar light tube. These are installed in the same manner as skylights, but they use a long tube and mirrors to reflect the light into another room.

Use dimmers to control brightness and shut lights off when the day is bright or when you leave a room. Try to maximize the sunlight by opening curtains and shades rather than using a lamp.

Interior Lighting Strategies

For the inside of your home, try out a combination of windows and skylights to deliver plenty of natural daylight. South-facing windows allow the most natural light to come in for the longest amount of time due to the tilt of the Earth.

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You could also install occupancy sensors, which function like motion detectors that turn off a light when there is no movement or human body heat detected in the area. For movable lamps, use CFL bulbs. Consider painting your walls an off-white or any light color that reflects the light delivered by bulbs.

Exterior Lighting Strategies

There are several strategies to save money on your exterior lighting. Install photosensors that shut off outside lights when it is sunny and motion sensors that turn on when someone walks past the light. Timers can be used to automatically turn outside lights off in the morning after sunrise.

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Consider placing outdoor solar lights in your garden. They charge using sunlight during the day and then glow overnight without any electricity needed.

Since traditional incandescent bulbs are no longer made, whichever light bulb you select will prove to be energy efficient. Your choice will depend on your space, needs, and personal preference. Keep in mind that LEDs are the most energy-saving indoor option, while simple solar lights outside eliminate any need of exterior energy consumption.