Lighting: Illuminating Energy Efficiency

Five ways to better use the light we have

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  • Use natural light whenever you can
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Use LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs
  • Ask for your landlord or employer to do the same
  • Work with your neighbors to buy LEDs in bulk for institutions or to share


We no longer rise and go to bed with the sun, so we need to light our homes and workplaces. Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs give brighter light than other bulbs that use the same amount of energy, lowering costs as well as emissions. Unlike tube and compact fluorescent bulbs, they don’t contain poisonous mercury, and they last a long time. The price of LED bulbs has come down, and there are replacements for almost all sizes and qualities of light. If you get a home energy audit (see “Sealing and Insulating Your Indoor Space”), it sometimes comes with free LED bulbs—take advantage of this opportunity!


Household action: Replace your standard (incandescent) light bulbs, tube fluorescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs (the curlicue-shaped ones), and halogen light bulbs with LED bulbs. Take the old bulb with you to the store to be sure the LED base and configuration is the right size for your fixture. If you have dimmers, or contemplate controlling a fixture with a dimmer, select a bulb that will work with a dimmer.  


Like many of the actions in this manual, this one works best if many people are doing it—so share this information with the people who provide the lighting in the buildings you use (landlords, superintendants, employers) .


Community action: Do you have neighbors/community members who may need help purchasing and/or installing LED bulbs? Work with your social or religious organization to get this done. You may be able to save money by buying in bulk.