It’s not enough to just use energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures. Develop good energy habits and you’ll see a difference on your electricity bill.

How to light your home

Good habits

  • Use the level of brightness that you need. Too-bright lights waste electricity.
  • Install the right number of lights for general room lighting as well as lighting to accent something in the room or provide better light for specific tasks, such as in a reading corner.
  • During the day, take advantage of natural light as much as possible instead of turning on artificial light.
  • Use a desk or table lamp for task lighting (for reading or working on a horizontal surface, for instance). It directs strong light on what you’re doing, while a ceiling lamp creates diffuse, less efficient mood lighting.
  • Opt for reflective light colors (white reflects 80% of light, while black reflects barely 10%) to reduce your need for lighting. Brighter lights are needed in a room with dark walls and ceiling.
  • Place floor and table lamps in corners rather than along walls. That way their light will be reflected by two walls, rather than just one, and better diffused throughout the room.

Energy-efficient products

Indoors: Small changes that make a big difference

Replace halogen and incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs

* savings based on service life of product

ENERGY STAR® certified compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use up to 75% less power than incandescent bulbs, and ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs use up to 85% less on average*.

Thanks to their long service life (about 10 years for a CFL and over 20 for an LED), they are particularly useful in areas that are often kept lit and hard-to-reach spots.

Install dimmers instead of on-off switches. They allow you to control brightness as needed and, at the same time, save electricity and make bulbs last longer. Check the bulb package or manufacturer’s site for dimmer compatibility.

How to choose a bulb

What you may not know about your electric devices

Outdoors: Every little bit helps

Replace outdoor lightbulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs and install ENERGY STAR certified LED fixtures

Even better, install ENERGY STAR® certified fixtures with motion detectors. They’re practical and energy-efficient, because they go on only when needed.

Use solar garden lights. They don’t add anything to your electricity bill, because they are powered directly by the sun.

For the holidays, opt for strings of LED lights. They typically use 90% less energy than regular bulbs.

Find out more about lighting

When to turn on the lights

Good habits

  • Make it easy on yourself: use a timer, programmable switch or motion detector to control outdoor lighting.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room or the house. It’s not true that it takes less power to keep the lights on all the time than to turn them on and off as needed.
  • Turn off outdoor lights when you go to bed. You could save up to $40 a year (based on three 60-W bulbs left on eight hours a night all year).

Installation and maintenance

Good habits

  • Clean bulbs and fixtures regularly. They’ll shine more brightly and you won’t have to turn on as many lights or use such strong bulbs to compensate for the dirt.
  • Avoid having one switch control several lamps. That way, you’ll never turn on more than you need.