Artificial lighting can account for 15 percent of a home's electricity use. LEDs promise long life and low power, but there's a lot to do before LED prices come down to earth.
Low effort: Install (more) compact fluorescent bulbs. In terms of light quality, you can get a range of colors--check the "K rating" or Kelvin rating. Yes, they do contain small amounts of mercury so you should recycle them with hazardous trash or return them to retail stores like Home Depot that recycle them.
Medium: Open the shades. Managing natural lighting can cut your artificial lighting (and cooling) needs significantly. If you're really hungry for the beneficial effects of "daylighting," consider getting an appliance, such as a Solatube, which pipes light in from the roof.
High: The most high-effort, high-tech approach to lighting is LED lamps. Because of the higher upfront cost, most LED lights are used in commercial spaces where one can take advantage of the different colors LEDs offer. But if price is no object, LED lighting can turn your basement TV room into a fancy home entertainment center or, as this homeowner did, give your dining room some classy ambiance.
September 29, 2009 6:49 AM PDT
Photo by: Philips/Color Kinetics
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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