by Babs ‘O’ Reilly
(Miami Beach, Florida, USA)
The price of utility bills has risen astronomically over the pass few years. Cost of electricity and gas are expected to increase even more in the future as our sources of energy, such as oil and coal, are slowly being depleted.
All of us should start to lower our energy consumption not only to help lower our utility bills, but it is also our social responsibility to help conserve the earth’s resources for the future generation.
Since almost fifteen to twenty per cent of the electricity consumption of an average household is used on lights, adopting changes in our lighting system and attitude will drastically lower our utility bills.
If you want to lower your utility bills, then you have to do something about your lighting system.
Here are some tips how could start saving electricity.
Turn off lights when not in use.
The first rule in saving electricity is by turning off the lights that aren’t in use. You should teach your children at an early age to have a habit of turning off the light as they go. This simple conscious effort is crucial in helping you save energy.
Change to energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL).
Another important way to save on electricity is by replacing incandescent bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent lights. Energy consumption of incandescent lights is much higher than regular fluorescent lights because they need to heat up a filament inside the bulb in order to produce light.
In fact, 90% of energy consumed by incandescent lights is geared into heating up this filament. Just by merely replacing your incandescent bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, you are saving about 66%.
Energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, particularly the compact fluorescent lights, aside from using only 25% of the energy consumption of traditional incandescent light bulbs, are also longer lasting.
In fact, they are estimated to last as much as ten times more than traditional bulbs. Although they are much more expensive than traditional light bulbs, you will end up saving more in the future.
You can still keep incandescent light bulbs for ambient lighting, but be sure to use fluorescent bulbs in areas where lights are used at least two hours a day.
Aside from replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, you should also be mindful of the wattage of your bulbs. Make sure that your overhead fixtures use lights with a lower wattage.
Since there are many energy lamps available, it would also be more energy efficient to use desk or floor lamps if you are reading or doing close-up jobs.
Be mindful of light fixtures.
Unclean light fixtures increase their energy consumption by 25%. Thus, even if you put energy-saving lights, but don’t clean the fixtures regularly, you will end up consuming more energy.
Aside from replacing traditional light bulbs with new energy-saving lights, you should also replace outdated or old light fixtures because the effectiveness of your light bulbs are greatly affected by your lighting fixtures.
When you buy new lighting fixtures, be sure to look for the ones that have the highest ratings in energy efficiency.
Retail shop personnel will be able to help you with this, if you aren’t familiar with such ratings. Manufacturers of the fixtures always publish their fixtures’ efficiency rating so you won’t find it difficult to get this data from retail shops.
Install lighting controls.
You can maximize saving by installing light controls that will turn off the lights when not in use. Many light controls work by turning lights on and off automatically, thereby, conserving a lot of electricity.
Some of the popular types of lighting controls are dimmers, timers, motion sensors, photosensors and occupancy sensors.
However, before you install such lighting controls, you need to have some knowledge of basic lighting terms and principles. If you are unsure, it may be wise to consult experts to help you decide and install such devices.
Solar lights can help as well.
Another way to save on electricity is by replacing your outdoor lighting with solar lighting. Since solar lights aren’t as bright as regular electric lights, you need to shop around for solar lights that will satisfy your lighting requirements.
There are many manufacturers of solar lights already so you wouldn’t have any problems in finding one that will suit your needs.