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In the right location, street light can be cost effective

Looking for ways to lower your utility bills or maybe just reduce your electricity consumption if your power is from sun or wind?

Lowering the amount of power you use to light your home is one place to start.

About 20 per cent of your monthly energy usage goes toward illuminating your home. Slashing that bill takes a little more effort than simply turning off the lights.

Here are seven tips to help you cut your lighting costs and make instant savings.

1 Pick the best bulb: There are more energy efficient light bulbs to choose from than ever. Start by migrating to more efficient bulbs as your old ones burn out. Newer bulbs can outlast traditional ones by up to 10 times and can save you up to 75 per cent in lighting costs.

However, you really need to know which kind of bulb is best for the various fixtures throughout your home. For example, Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) shouldn’t be used in a dimmable or three-way fixture unless it is specifically designed for that use. LED bulbs use the least energy and are ok for background light, but not so good for reading. Choosing the wrong bulb will drastically shorten its lifespan and ultimately waste your money. You can learn more about the best uses for various types of energy efficient bulbs at www.doyourpart.com/columns.

2 Turn it off: You always heard it growing up – “Turn off the lights when you leave the room.” This is clearly an easy way to lower your energy costs but it’s not always true.

If you are using fluorescent bulbs and only plan to leave the room for a few minutes, it’s best to leave the lights on. Frequent on/off cycling can reduce the lifespan of fluorescent bulbs.

3 Plan your day – If you do things that need light during the day, you will need less light at night.  Get up at sunrise, and go to bed earlier.

4. Use a timer: Sometimes there’s a need to leave the light on, but not continuously. In that case, choose a timer and then you won’t have to remember to flick the switch – ever! Choose a mechanical timer over electronic or digital timers, which can shorten the lifespan of some CFL bulbs.

5 Turn the lights down lower: Putting dimmers on your lights not only lets you control the mood in any room, it can also save money and extend the life of the bulb. Just be sure the label states that the bulb is intended to be used with a dimmer.

6 Let motion sensors do the work Finally, consider motion sensors. This way, lights come on when motion is detected and turn off when no activity is detected over a selected period of time. This is ideal for security lights outside, but you can also install motion sensors indoors.(EG: Mr Beams MB360 Wireless LED Spotlight with Motion Sensor and Photocell – Weatherproof – Battery Operated – 140 Lumens)

7. Make use of surrounding lighting – in the city, street lights can easily light your room for everything except reading. In the country, moonlight can cut your electricity usage for several nights each month. Even your own light can be used twice – no need to light two rooms if you leave the door open.

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