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Lighting Tips

1 Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs in light fixtures used the most. The normal incandescent bulbs we're all used to are not very energy efficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs use about 25 percent of the energy and can last 10 times as long.
2 Turn off unnecessary lighting. Get in the habit of turning off the light when you leave a room.
3 Use outdoor motion detectors and timers where appropriate. Instead of leaving outdoor lights on all night, let these handy devices turn them on when they detect motion. Position the sensor carefully to avoid false triggering. With motion detectors, use the lowest wattage incandescent bulb that will do the job. If security is a concern, leave a low-wattage porch light on all night.
4 Use low-wattage CFLs where applicable. For example, bright lights are rarely necessary in closets and hallways. Switch to low-wattage CFLs and save some energy.
5 Dust off light bulbs. Dirty, greasy, smoky light bulbs can reduce light output by as much as 10 percent. Dust bulbs and lenses regularly. (Make sure they are cool before touching them.) You'll avoid the tendency of switching to a higher wattage bulb, which will use more energy.
6 Remove unnecessary lighting. Use only the number of bulbs needed to light an area. In track lighting, three bulbs can usually do the same job as four if they are positioned accurately.
7 Use light from windows. Natural light is more efficient than electric, not to mention free. When you're not frolicking in your pajamas, leave the curtains open.
8 Paint and decorate in light colors. Dark colors absorb light. Light colors reflect light. The lighter the colors, the less artificial lighting is required to illuminate the area.
9 Use timers when on vacation. Not only will it save energy when lights are on timers, but burglars and prowlers will have no idea that you're in the Bahamas basking in the sun. Set your timer to turn lights on and off at different times on different days. Your home looks more lived in this way.
10 Install dimmers in areas where dimmed lighting makes sense, like the dining room.
11 Check your lamp shades. Many shades are decorative but absorb light or reflect it in the wrong direction. Consider switching to a more efficient shade in a lighter color.
12 Use task lighting. If you're working specifically at a desk or workbench, other light in the room could be turned off or dimmed.

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