When designing indoor lighting for energy efficiency, you want to consider some basic design principles and methods.
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests the following energy-efficient lighting design principles:
- Increasing the amount of light is not always better for every situation. People are different, and their visual performance can fluctuate, depending on the light quality as well as quantity. Understand your own preferences, and those of your family members before you invest in extra lighting solutions.
- Make sure that you match the amount and quality of light to the performed function. When you are performing tasks that require a high degree of visual attention, making sure you have adequate lighting will help reduce eyestrain.
- Install task lights where needed and reduce ambient light elsewhere. If all your work is concentrated in one corner of the room, for instance at a desk, you could consider dimming the lights throughout the room and using specific task lights while at your desk.
- Use energy-efficient lighting components, controls, and systems. Review the sales material to determine the best level of efficiency, or call your trusted electrician for suggestions.
- Maximize the use of day lighting. Sunny days help improve you mood, and they reduce your electric bill – when you open the curtains and let the sun shine in!
Here are some basic methods for achieving energy-efficient indoor lighting:
Install fluorescent light fixtures for all ceiling- and wall-mounted fixtures that will be on for more than two hours each day. These often include the fixtures in the kitchen and living room, and sometimes those in bathrooms, halls, bedrooms, and other higher-demand locations.
Install dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures, rather than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in incandescent fixtures, so that fluorescent bulbs continue to be used for the life of the house.
Use CFLs in portable lighting fixtures that are operated for more than two hours a day.
Use ENERGY STAR® labeled lighting fixtures.
Use occupancy sensors for automatically turning on and off your lights as needed. Too often, electricity is wasted because an unoccupied room is lit up for hours at a time.
Consider painting your walls a lighter color. This often helps to minimize the need for artificial lighting.
If recessed lights are used in a ceiling with an unconditioned space above it, use only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved fixtures that are airtight, are IC (insulation contact) rated, and meet ASTM E283 requirements.
There are many ways of making your home lighting systems more energy efficient. If you’d like specific suggestions for your home, Witt Electric can help you understand your lighting needs, and offer recommendations to your current lighting conditions. Upgrading your indoor lighting efficiency can help reduce your energy bill.