Lighting represents about 5% of a home’s energy consumption.Selecting the right light bulbs and lamps and making good choices are ways to help control energy consumption more effectively.

Some advice on lighting to help reduce your energy consumption.

Given the vast selection of lighting fixtures available on the market, it is essential to determine your needs before making your choice, for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Whether you’re looking for direct or diffuse lighting, a reading lamp or a particular lighting ambience, choose the best ratio of energy consumed to brightness provided.

Incandescent light bulbs waste energy

One incandescent light bulb (i.e. a regular light bulb) only uses 5% of its energy to produce light and wastes the rest on heat. Therefore, it is not the best choice when trying to save energy!

Energy Efficient Choices

It is possible to light your home for less by replacing your incandescent bulbs by LED, compact fluorescent or halogen bulbs. It is recommended to use ENERGY STAR certified bulbs if you opt for compact florescent or LED bulbs.

LED bulbs use energy very efficiently (80% in energy savings when compared to incandescent bulbs) much the way compact fluorescent bulbs do (70% in energy savings when compared to incandescent bulbs). In addition, they last much longer which means that they help reduce the amount of waste produced.

Here is the useful life of the different bulbs:

• Incandescent: 750 to 1,000 hours

• Halogen: 1,500 to 3,000 hours

• Compact fluorescent: 6,000 to 10,000 hours

• LED: 25,000 to 100,000 hours

Replace old mechanical thermostats

Because they are less sensitive to changes in the ambient temperature, mechanical thermostats fluctuate, varying by 2 to 5°C from the desired temperature. The precision of electronic thermostats procures a constant temperature and greater comfort, and can save you up to 10% in heating costs.

Lower the temperature

In lowering the temperature by 3°C during the night, you can save up to 6% in heating costs. Don’t lower it by more than three degrees, because the time it takes for the heating system to re-establish a comfortable temperature will cancel part of the gains made.

Safe handling

Florescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, a highly toxic substance. Therefore, they must be handled with care. They must also be discarded in an ecological manner.

  • Compact fluorescent bulbs are 98% recyclable. There are many locations where they can be recycled. Call you municipality to find out where you can drop them off or where your hazardous household materials sites are located.
  • If you would like to learn how to protect yourself when compact florescent bulbs break, the following site provides a very useful guide that deals with the health risks associated with mercury exposure in this situation. It was published in 2009 by the Institut national de santé publique and is entitled: Avis scientifique sur les risques pour la santé de l’exposition au mercure lors du bris d’ampoules fluo-compactes. It is only available in French.

Buy lamps that provide maximum light

Do you prefer lampshades in pale colours, or adjustable lamp reflectors? Either way, you should choose a bulb that produces the most lumens (measurement of light) and consumes the fewest watts as possible. Contrary to popular belief, the number of watts (40, 60, 100, etc.) is not an expression of the quantity of light emitted. A 40-watt light bulb will always consume 40 watts of electricity, regardless of the quantity of light produced.

Choose a programmable or electronic thermostat

We often tend to forget to raise or lower the temperature at the appropriate moment. Programmable thermostats can do the job for us. Simply enter your desired temperature settings and the thermostat takes care of the rest. There are also some very simple electronic thermostats that have only two buttons. Although they are not programmable, they offer the same precision as the more elaborate models.

Leave lights on only when necessary

It is pointless and costly to leave lights on all night long. Program a few inside lamps on a programmable timer that switches on and off at pre-set times. For outside lamps, install a lamp equipped with a motion detector.

Select a thermostat adapted to your lifestyle

If your weekday living habits change on the weekend, opt for a more sophisticated programmable thermostat. So-called 5-2 models offer a lower temperature schedule from Monday to Friday, and a second option for the weekend. Some thermostats offer 5-1-1 programming that allows you to set separate programs for Saturday and for Sunday. Others allow you to set a different program for each day of the week.

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Install electronic dimmers

By using a light dimmer, you reduce your energy consumption and extend the life of your light bulbs. Depending on the decrease in intensity, you can save from 5 to 50% in energy costs.

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