Lighting accounts for about 11 percent of electricity use in a Canadian home. The good news is that you can help control electricity costs by increasing the energy efficiency of your lighting products.
The average Canadian home has 30 light bulbs that together consume close to $130 worth of electricity every year. Installing ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs and luminaires throughout your home is one of the smartest energy efficiency investments you can make.
Here is why. ENERGY STAR qualified lighting products produce the same light output as regular incandescent products but use only one third or less of the energy. That can make a big difference on your energy bill and for the environment.
High-quality energy-efficient lighting products may cost more initially, but they will save you money over their lifetime and will last longer.
Luminaires that have earned the ENERGY STAR symbol combine high performance, quality and the highest levels of energy efficiency.
Fluorescent or light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires are available in hundreds of decorative styles, giving homeowners access to a whole new assortment of fashionable, energy-efficient lighting products in various price ranges.
Why should you consider ENERGY STAR qualified luminaires when renovating, remodelling or building a new home? They are not only designed to meet the efficiency requirements of the future but also come with a two-year warranty (double the industry standard). And you do not need to sacrifice versatility – ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures are available with the same convenient features as standard fixtures, such as dimming on some indoor models and automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors on outdoor models.
Aside from being safer, an ENERGY STAR qualified torchiere (ceiling-directed floor lamp) uses about $35 less electricity in a year than a comparable halogen fixture.
Qualified ceiling fans move air 20 percent more efficiently than standard models, due to efficient motors and improved blade design. Plus, qualified ceiling fans with light kits are about 50 percent more efficient than conventional models, and the light kits produce about 75 percent less heat. Perfect for our warm summers!
Compact fluorescent lamps
Aside from their impressive energy savings and versatility, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are rated to last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, making frequent bulb changes a thing of the past – a real bonus for hard-to-reach fixtures. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs must also meet strict specifications for quality, light colour and brightness.
When purchasing light bulbs, keep in mind that the wattage rating is not a measure of light output – rather, it is a measure of the amount of energy the bulb uses. Light output is measured in lumens. As the following table shows, a CFL uses a lot less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb.
|ENERGY STAR qualified CFL
|Minimum light output
This table is provided as a guide only. Check the product packaging to determine the equivalent wattage.
CFLs contain a small amount of mercury – one fifth the amount found in a button cell battery and only 1 percent of the mercury used in dental fillings. Like paint, batteries, thermostats and household chemicals, CFLs should be disposed of safely, according to municipal guidelines.
When installing CFLs outdoors, check the package for the low temperature rating to ensure that the light suits your local climate. CFLs installed outdoors should be enclosed in fixtures to protect them from the cold, wind and humidity.
More and more, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are available for residential applications, such as desktop or direct lighting, under-cabinet lighting, recessed downlights, display lighting and outdoor lighting.
The design of LED products is crucial to good performance. Look for LED luminaires and bulbs that are ENERGY STAR qualified. They meet high performance criteria: They must equal the brightness of other light fixtures, distribute light well, maintain consistent light output over their rated lifetimes and have excellent colour quality. Their efficacy must be equal to, or better than, fluorescent lighting.
The following table is a quick reference of the most common lamp types, comparing energy use, life, and how each is typically used.
|Lamp type||Energy use||Life (hr)||Application|
|LED||Low||25 000*||Accent, task, decorative|
|CFL||Low||10 000||Ambient, task|
|Linear fluorescent||Low||20 000||Ambient, task|
|Halogen infrared||Medium||3 000||Accent, task|
|Standard incandescent||High||1 000||Task, accent, decorative|
|Halogen incandescent||High||4 000||Accent, task|
Note: Due to rapid lighting technology changes, you should confirm the latest data from suppliers.
* Long-life LEDs are still under testing.
Decorative light strings
The amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LED bulbs.
LED decorative light strings come in a variety of colours, shapes and lengths. While LED lights may cost more than incandescent bulbs, they can pay for themselves with energy savings in two seasons or less.
LED lights are more durable than incandescent bulbs. They are shock-resistant and last up to 10 times longer.
To ensure quality and durability, look for a brand that bears the ENERGY STAR symbol when purchasing seasonal LED lights. They not only offer a three-year warranty but also use about 90 percent less energy than incandescent light strings.