- Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs in light fixtures that are used the most
The normal incandescent bulbs we're all used to are not very energy efficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs use about 25% of the energy and can last 10 times as long.
- Turn off unnecessary lighting
Get in the habit of turning off the light when you leave a room.
- Use outdoor motion detectors and timers
Instead of leaving outdoor lights on all night, let these handy devices turn them on when they detect motion. Position the sensor carefully to avoid false triggering. With motion detectors, use the lowest wattage incandescent bulb that will do the job. If security is a concern, leave a low-wattage porch light on all night.
- Use low-wattage CFLs where applicable
For example, bright lights are rarely necessary in closets and hallways. Switch to low wattage CFLs and save some energy.
- Dust off light bulbs
Dirty, greasy, smoky bulbs can reduce light output by as much as 10%. Dust bulbs and lenses regularly. (Make sure they are cool before touching them.) You'll avoid the tendency of switching to a higher voltage bulb, which will use more energy.
- Remove unnecessary lighting
Use only the number of bulbs needed to light an area. In track lighting, three bulbs can usually do the same job as four, if they are positioned correctly.
- Use light from windows
Natural light is more efficient than electricity, not to mention free. Whenever you can, leave the curtains open.
- Paint and decorate in light colors
Dark colors absorb light. Light colors reflect light. The lighter the colors, the less artificial lighting is required to illuminate the area.
- Use timers when on vacation
Not only will it save energy when lights are on timers, but burglars and prowlers will have no idea that you're gone. Set your timer to turn on and off at different times on different days. Your home looks lived in this way.
- Install dimmer switches
In areas where dimmed lights make sense, like dining rooms, install dimmer switches.
- Check your lamp shades
Many shades are decorated but absorb light or reflect it in the wrong direction. Consider switching to a more efficient shade in a lighter color.
- Use task lighting
If you're working specifically at a desk or workbench, other light in the room could be turned off or dimmed.