LEDs and CFLs—Two Bright Ideas!

Making improvements to your lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. An average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50% to 75%. ENERGY STAR-qualified lighting provides bright, warm light and uses about 75% less energy than standard lighting, produces 75% less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are turned on but not being used.

Indoor Lighting

Use linear fluorescent tubes and energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent (standard) bulbs and last up to 12 times longer.

Today’s CFLs offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to incandescent bulbs. Although linear fluorescent and CFLs cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs initially, they are cheaper over their lifetime because they use so little electricity. CFL lighting fixtures are now available that are compatible with dimmers and operate like incandescent fixtures.

Indoor Lighting Tips

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within their glass tubing. Many retailers offer free recycling services for the safe disposal of CFLs.

ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture. Visit to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures.

Be sure to buy ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs because:

  • they will save you about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime;
  • since they produce about 75% less heat, they are safer to operate and can cut home cooling costs; and
  • they provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day. The best fixtures that use ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs are usually found in the family room and living room, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and outdoors.

Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures. They are available in many styles, including table, desk and floor lamps. There are also hard-wired options for front porches, dining rooms, bathroom vanity fixtures, and more. Also:

  • ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures, and they provide convenient features, such as dimming on some indoor models.
  • Timer and photo-cell controls save electricity by turning lights off when not in use.
  • Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with CFL bulbs because not all products work with them.

More Tips

  • When remodeling, look for recessed downlights and can lighting that are IC-rated or safe for contact with insulation.
  • Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate into the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
  • If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and do not get as hot as halogen torchieres.

Outdoor Lighting

Many homeowners use outdoor lighting for decoration and security. When shopping for outdoor lights, you’ll find a variety of products, from low-voltage pathway lighting to motion-detector floodlights. Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are excellent choices for outdoor environments because of their durability and performance in cold weather. Look for ENERGY STAR LED products, such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use.

Outdoor Lighting Tips

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, offer better light quality than incandescent bulbs, last 25 times longer, and use even less energy than CFLs. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified LED products at home improvement centers and lighting showrooms.

Some of their benefits include the following:

  • Because outdoor lights are usually left on for long periods, using CFLs in these fixtures will save a lot of energy. Most bare spiral CFLs can be used in enclosed fixtures that protect them from the weather.
  • CFLs are also available as floodlights. These models have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures. Most of the, however, cannot be used with motion detectors.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with features such as automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.