Lighting is extremely important in any home, and whether you decide to maximise your use of electric lighting solutions or natural light, there are energy efficient lighting options. By using sustainable building materials for your windows, doors, and light fixtures, you can lower your monthly electric bills and boost your home’s energy efficiency.
Orientation of you Home
If you are designing a new home, you have the advantage of being able to position your home in such a way that you receive as much natural light as possible throughout the day. You should consider placing your home on an east to west axis with large windows on the north side and smaller windows on the south side.
Windows & Skylights
When you install windows, you should consider the benefits of the increased amount of natural light, but also consider the increase in the amount of heat that enters. You may want to consider using reflective windows to let light in but repel heat. Using large picture frame windows or glass walls will maximise your natural light and limit your use of electricity during the evening and night time. It is important to use sustainable building materials for the frames,such as wood and aluminium, since they are environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
Skylights are another great option for bringing light into rooms that do not share an outside wall. Skylights are ideal for living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms. In addition to saving you money on your electric bills, they have the added benefit of giving you a view of the starry skies at night.
Colour Schemes & Other Tips
When you design your home, use light colours for your walls and furniture that will reflect and increase the amount of light that is present in rooms. Another easy way to make the most of the natural light that enters any room is to install large mirrors on the walls or closets to reflect the light and disperse it throughout the rooms.
You should also consider removing any light blocking obstacles such as trees and outdoor furniture. If you are worried about losing privacy by removing obstacles from your windows, you can install curtains or Venetian blinds. If you decide to use Venetian blinds, you can angle them to let light in at the angle you want while still maintaining privacy in your bedroom or living room.
Energy Saving Halogen Bulbs
A great and affordable alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs for your home are Halogen bulbs, also known as CFL’s. These light bulbs typically use about 65% less electricity than normal light bulbs, and can last up to about 10 times longer. Many of these bulbs are Energy Star compliant and offer the same amount and sometimes more luminescence than incandescent bulbs. The only problem related with these light bulbs is that they do contain small traces of mercury and require special clean up if they are broken.
LEDs for Energy Efficient Lighting
Whether you decide to rely exclusively on electric lighting or use it only at night, you should consider purchasing LED (Light Emitting Diodes) light bulbs. While they are more expensive, they pay for themselves in the long run and offer higher savings than any other type of lighting solutions. The LED lights are highly energy efficient, will provide bright lighting, and many can be used on a dimmer to create ambiance in the home. LED bulbs use about 75% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs. You can also purchase LED lights in long, flexible strips and in a variety of colours for decorative purposes.