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In the current economic climate, most people are looking to save money wherever they can. Altering the way you light your home or office is one of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills. On average, 8% of a household’s energy bills are spent on lighting a home. To save money on lighting, you don’t need to go without; it’s just a matter of making a few small changes to ensure that your home or office is ideally set up to make the most of the light you use.
Switch your regular incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLS)
The first thing you should do is remove all of your standard incandescent bulbs – the ones you’ve got in lamps and lights around the home – for compact fluorescents. These provide the same amount of light at much lower wattages, meaning that you’re using less energy to light your home, and saving money in the process.
Switch your halogen downlighters to LEDs
Halogen downlighters are those little lights you might have fixed into the ceiling in your bathroom, kitchen or office. The low-energy alternative to these isn’t CFLs, its LEDs, which are just as bright and even more efficient and they should be compatible with your existing downlighter fittings.
Always turn off lights after leaving a room
It might sound obvious, and you might even think you already do turn lights off after leaving a room, but most of us forget sometimes. While the lights being off for one extra night won’t make much of a difference to your energy bills, it will make a difference if they’re off for one extra night every week, or even every month. It’s important to get into good habits.
Stop leaving lights on for short periods of time
A lot of people think that turning a light on and off frequently will shorten the life of the bulb; this is true, but nevertheless doesn’t mean that leaving a light on should be preferable to turning it off only for two minutes. In the long run, turning lights off will save more energy, and lower your costs.
Arrange light switches so that it’s easy to turn them off
If you’re able to, it’s always best to make sure that your light switches are well placed to make it convenient to turn them off. Landing light switches should be placed at the top and the bottom of the stairs, and all rooms should have light switches near the doors, so that switching the light off on your way out doesn’t have to be a detour.
Have multiple lights in a room, all with separate switches
Installing a range of lights in a room will make it easier to find a balance of light that works for you. They should be operated separately, rather than by a universal dimmer switch, so that you don’t have to make all of a room’s lights bright just to light a small area of a room.
Use the right light for the right job
It’s not always necessary to have bright bulbs in every socket; for bedside lamps or lights near the TV, you should only use a bulb with low wattage. This can apply for any light which is primarily used as background lighting.
Set external sensor lights up to a timer
If you have external lights overlooking a porch, patio or driveway, set them up to a timer which turns them off late at night. This means they won’t come on every time cats and birds pass by, and will almost definitely double the bulb’s battery life.
Install Occupancy sensors in an office
Occupancy sensors are a great asset to offices that have people arriving and leaving at all hours, ensuring that lights are never wasted while offices are empty. They’ve also been shown to save up to 30% on lighting costs during normal working hours.
Make the most of natural light
Of course, this last point should be the most obvious one: make the most of natural light. In the daytime, keep your curtains open and don’t use lights where they’re not necessary; if turning a light on doesn’t make much of a difference to the brightness of your room, it shouldn’t be on.