San Diego

Accessibility Tools

Lighting Tips (Indoor & Outdoor)

  • From 10 to 13 percent of the average home's electricity costs can be controlled with the flip of a switch - a light switch. Turn off the lights in any room you're not using. Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops.
  • Turn out lights in empty rooms and convert to compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
  • Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage and laundry areas.
  • Consider using 4-watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night-lights. Both are much more efficient lights than regular low-wattage night-lights. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
  • Use compact fluorescent lamps in all portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • For spot lighting, consider compact fluorescents with reflectors. The lamps range in wattage from 13-watt to 32-watt and provide a very directed light using a reflector and lens system.
  • Take advantage of daylight. If you can't leave the windows uncovered, use light-colored, loose-weave curtains to allow daylight to penetrate the room while still preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
  • If you have touchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Halogen lamps generate excessive heat that can create fire hazards. Compact fluorescents are cooler, use 60 percent to 80 percent less energy.
  • Turn off the lights in any room you're not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
  • Did you know that higher wattage incandescent bulbs are more efficient than lower-wattage bulbs? For example, a 100-watt bulb produces as much light as two 60-watt bulbs - or four 40-watt bulbs. If your a fixture holds several bulbs, you'll save by using a single, higher wattage bulb (provided you don't go over the maximum recommended wattage on the fixture, of course.)
  • Look for incandescent bulbs labeled "Supersaver," "Watt Miser" or Econo-Watt." Made by major manufacturers, these bulbs use from five to 13 percent less electricity than standard bulbs. Low wattage halogen bulbs, an advanced type of incandescent light, save even more energy.
  • Avoid "long-life" or rough-serve bulbs. These are less energy efficient and should only be used in locations where changing a light bulb would be difficult, or where rough conditions like jarring would cause normal bulbs to fail quickly.
  • When shopping for new light fixtures, consider buying dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts that use pin-based replacement bulbs.
  • Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a timer so they will turn off during the day.
  • Turn off decorative outdoor gas lamps; just eight gas lamps burning year round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.
  • Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold-weather ballast.
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