Conserve for Earth Day: Lighting Dos & Don’ts

With Earth Day around the corner, remember that lighting accounts for about 12% of the average household’s energy bill. That’s a lot of energy! One way to save energy is switching off unused lights (just like people did worldwide during Earth Hour on March 31, 2012). To save energy while your lights are on – and to save between $50 and more than $100 per year – switch to more energy-efficient lights.

In honor of Earth Day, make the switch to energy-efficient lights and follow these simple dos and don’ts to conserve energy, protect the environment and save money – all while brightening your home.


Do know your fixtures.

There is an energy-efficient bulb for almost every type of lighting scenario.

Evaluate the type of bulb that fits best for each fixture and lighting preference – even dimmable lights.

Don’t just look for watts when buying light bulbs.

The new labels include: brightness (in lumens), energy used (in watts), estimated yearly energy cost, life expectancy, and light appearance (warm/yellowish, white, cool/bluish).

Do use your smartphone to plan and manage the energy use of your lights.

  • Shop:  Light Bulb Finder lets you shop for energy-efficient light bulbs to fit your fixtures and preferences. It also calculates savings from replacing your bulbs.
  • Manage: UFO Power Center and EnergyHub offers power strips that tell you real-time energy cost of the devices plugged into each of them and allow you to turn off the power strips from your phone.

Don’t change every light bulb in your house at once.

Changing bulbs in phases allows you to test which types of energy-efficient lights work best while saving energy.

Start with the lights that use the most power and are on most frequently, such as lights in the kitchen, living room and dining room.  

Do recycle CFLs when they stop working.

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury. So, recycle the bulbs properly when they burn out or break.

Don’t assume color appearance is always the same.

The color varieties you’ll see with energy-efficient bulbs include warm white, soft white, cool white, bright white, and natural or daylight.

Do show off on Facebook.

Opower and NRDC are launching their social energy app this spring that will let you share the energy savings from switching to energy-efficient lights with your Facebook friends.

Don’t forget to take the Earth Day Network’s “Change out my light bulb” pledge!

As one of the Earth Day Network’s “Billion Acts of Green,” nearly 2,000 people have pledged to switch their old incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones like CFLs, LEDs and halogen incandescents.

More Energy-Efficient Lighting Resources

By Alliance Communications Intern Sumayal Shrestha