Lighting is often the first thing we think about when saving money. For renters, it’s often the easiest as well.
You can light your apartment using the same amount of light for less money. An average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills.
By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR®, you can save $75 each year. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR.
Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy.
New Lightbulbs: What’s the Difference?
Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light and are no longer manufactured.
- 90% of the energy is given off as heat.
- This lost energy is money we are throwing away.
Newer energy-saving lightbulbs are much more efficient – so they save you money. The new lightbulbs also provide the choices in colors and light levels you’ve come to expect.
What Are My Lighting Choices?
You have many choices in energy-efficient lighting.
The most popular light bulbs available are
- Halogen incandescents
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs),
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Although they can initially cost more than traditional bulbs, during their lifetime they save you money, because they use less energy.
Halogen incandescents have a capsule inside that holds gas around a filament to increase bulb efficiency. Halogen incandescent bulbs meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard, but there are now many more efficient options to meet your lighting needs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are simply curly versions of the long tube fluorescent lights you may already have in a kitchen or garage. Because they use less electricity than traditional incandescents, typical CFLs can pay for themselves in less than nine months, and then start saving you money each month.
An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL uses about one-fourth the energy and lasts ten times longer than a comparable traditional incandescent bulb. A CFL uses about one-third the energy of a halogen incandescent.
Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, and they should always be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. See the EPA website for more information.
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of solid-state lighting – semiconductors that convert electricity into light. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
While LEDs are more expensive, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use. As with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.