One of the fastest, simplest ways for a homeowner to begin their energy efficient transformation is through their lighting choices. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average household dedicates 10 percent of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50 to 75 percent.
Usually when one considers new lighting for their home the last thing they want to use is fluorescent lighting. However, the new compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) offer brightness and color rendition comparable to the more well-known incandescent bulbs.
The largest difference between the CFLs and incandescent bulbs is the amount of energy they use. Typically the amount of energy used by a CFL bulb is about 25 percent of what an incandescent bulb will use. That is a 75 percent energy savings over the lifetime of the bulb.
Place the CFL bulbs throughout your home and outbuildings where lighting is used the most to start off; such as the kitchen, office, living room, entertainment room and outside fixtures. Eventually replace all bulbs with CFLs as the incandescent bulbs burn out.
There is a downside to CFL bulbs: they are significantly more expensive than incandescent bulbs. Typically they will cost $5 to $10 per bulb but they also will provide energy savings and will last approximately ten times longer than an incandescent bulb.
When shopping for CFLs look for the ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs. They will save you about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime. You can visit www.energystar.gov to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures.