Outdoor lighting and energy efficiency

Well-lit home in the evening.

We tend to focus a lot on saving energy inside of our homes, but we should also turn our attention to energy-saving options for outdoor lighting. One thing you can do to impact energy usage is to address your exterior lighting through the use of LED bulbs, sensors and timers.  

By now we have all heard the benefits of LED bulbs, primarily increased energy efficiency and longer bulb life.  A great advantage of using LED bulbs for outdoor lighting is that they are considerably cooler than other lighting methods – meaning fewer insects are drawn to intense heat at night.  I think we can all agree that having fewer bugs to deal with is a good thing!

Another option for outdoor lighting is to install sensors that will automatically turn lights on and off.  A photoelectric sensor (more commonly called a photo eye) is a technology that senses light.  In an exterior lighting application, a photo eye would sense that the sun has begun to set, and turn on the lights at dusk; oppositely, the sensor would turn the lights off when the sun has risen.  Another type of sensor readily available is a motion detector, which will turn on lights for a period of time after motion is detected.  Some lights have both of these options available. These automated sensors are a great way to reduce energy cost since they require little effort on the part of a homeowner.  Don’t worry if you have existing fixtures - they make aftermarket sensors that work well with your existing lights.

Last but not least, you can use a timer for your outdoor lighting.  These can be installed on landscape lights or hard-wired to a home’s exterior lights.  Similar to sensors, timers require little effort on your part, and will turn the lights on only during specific time periods. During the long summer days, you can adjust the timer so that the lights will turn on only when needed.

As you can see, there are many simple options to addressing exterior lighting and help reduce energy costs during the summer.

Nathan Karels

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