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Five Top Tips On Eco-Friendly Home Lighting

In times of financial hardship, rising energy costs, and dire warnings about global warming, it is tempting to keep home lighting to a minimum. Low lighting can be relaxing, but it can also be depressing--the adverse effect that gloomy lighting can have on mood is well documented. The good news is that there are ways to light your home without damaging your bank balance or the planet.

Top Tips on Eco-friendly Home Lighting

  • Use low energy light bulbs. Traditional bulbs convert a large proportion of the energy they use into heat, which is obviously wasteful. Low energy bulbs create light in a different way so that most of the energy used is converted into light. Low energy light bulbs last longer, which means you don't have to buy new ones as regularly and fewer bulbs have to be manufactured, which saves on the energy costs of production. Many U.S. states and many countries have phased out the sale of the traditional incandescent light bulbs or have plans to do so.
  • Use the appropriate wattage. For example, fit a higher wattage bulb in the main light that you use when you want to light the whole room and lower wattage bulbs for lamps that you use only as background lighting while watching TV. Alternatively, put in a dimmer switch. Modern low energy light bulbs are now dimmable and brighter than before, and dimmer switches are relatively easy to install.
  • Use the right shades. Use shades that make the most of the light from your bulbs. Dark colored lamp shades absorb light so opt for lighter colors, and choose lampshade styles that direct the light to where you want it.
  • Harness natural light. Open blinds and drapes as far as possible and hang mirrors to reflect the natural light around the room.
  • Turn off lights. If you're not using them, turn lights off unless you are returning to that room or area frequently. Leaving lights on when they are not being used is a clear waste of energy. However, if you are going in and out of a room that is lit with a low energy bulb, leave the light on because a rapid on-off-on cycle can reduce the lifespan of the bulb. Also, low energy bulbs have a slight delay between turning the switch and the light coming on because they function by sending a flow of electricity through gas inside the bulb, which gives out ultra-violet light that become visible light when it passes through a special coating on the inside of the light bulb. That means more energy is used when the light is initially turned on than when it is up and running, so leave it on until you have finished in that room.

Making small changes to your home lighting habits can translate to big changes in your energy bills and your environment.

Buyers' Guide to Low Energy Lightbulbs • http://www.ethicalconsumer.orghttp://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/HomeGarden/lowenergylightbulbs.aspx • Ethical Consumer,
The Facts About Light Bulbs • http://www.energysavingcommunity.co.ukhttp://www.energysavingcommunity.co.uk/facts-about-light-bulbs.html • Energy Saving Community,
Theories about how light affects mood and sleep • http://www.ncpamb.comhttp://www.ncpamd.com/seasonal.htm#Theories about how light affects mood and sleep • Northern County Psychiatric Associates