LED Lighting Updates: How to Keep Them Energy-Efficient
For most people, the main motivation for making the transition from incandescent to LED light bulbs is the promise that they will save money on their electricity bill. But for some, the most important thing about LEDs is that they produce the same amount of light as incandescents while conserving valuable energy. Either way, when giving your home an LED lighting makeover, it can be easy to get carried away with the idea that LEDs use less power and may cause you to add more lights than you need. To keep you from defeating the purpose of installing LEDs in the first place, there are a few things you can do to make sure your upgrade stays energy-efficient.
Only place lighting where you need it. In other words, if the goal you’re trying to accomplish is reducing your home’s overall energy consumption, don’t go crazy with a bunch of new additions. Installing more fixtures gives you the opportunity to use more energy than you may have used had you stuck with your original light sources. LEDs can consume up to 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, but they still have to use some electricity to produce light. So, think about where you need the most light in each room, and try not to put in more lights that weren’t already there.
Use light controls to dim or automatically turn off lights whenever possible. Not only do dimmer switches give you the ability to control the ambience of your room, but they also diminish the amount of energy being use by your fixtures. Automatic timers and vacancy sensors are ideal for those of us with forgetful tendencies that don’t always flip the switch before we've left a room. Both of these options will help you relegate your electricity usage.
Don’t leave your new LEDs on for longer periods of time than you did your incandescents. There are some instances, like with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), that it’s more cost effective to leave lights on instead of switching them off and then back on again within a short period of time. This is not the case with LEDs; the fact that they don't use the same wattage doesn't necessarily mean you should leave them on for longer. If you really want to see a difference in your electricity bill, use them just as much as you used your incandescent bulbs.
Use LEDs with energy-efficiency certifications. Not all LEDs are created equal. For example, some LED light bulbs have gone through performance testing the US Environmental Protection Agency. Bulbs that have met these strict energy efficiency guidelines are given an Energy Star rating and have been certified to save energy and help prevent climate change. If you’re installing outdoor LEDs, you can look for fixtures that are dark sky friendly. Outdoor fixtures with the Fixture Seal of Approval minimize glare and prevent light pollution in the night sky.
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