Lighting costs are 5% of home energy usage. Like most other people, we have made the transition from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs. We haven’t started transitioning to LED bulbs. After some serious consideration, I think we should. I have been hesitant to, because the initial costs of the bulbs are much higher than what we are used to paying. However, with a pay back period of 5.6 years, it would make sense to do so. That was calculated more than a year ago and assumed a price of $30 a bulb. Last February, Consumer Reports determined that it was time to make the switch. The price of LED bulbs is $10 or less.
I hate to get rid of working bulbs, even though it would be financially beneficial to do so. We could sell or give our compact fluorescent bulbs away, to avoid the problem of waste. It is also difficult to adjust to paying that much for a light bulb. If we can’t afford it from our current miscellaneous budget, we could borrow the money from our savings and pay ourselves back from having a smaller utility bill.
The obvious way to reduce lighting costs is to use natural light. However, that can conflict with using window treatments to warm up or cool down your house. I can’t find anything definitive on which is better, but since heating and cooling costs are much higher than lighting costs, it makes sense to leave window treatments shut to keep out heat in the summer and keep in heat in the winter and use electric lighting. It does make sense to open window treatments to catch direct sunlight in the winter to capture the heat.
Another obvious way to way is to turn out lights when you’re not using them. Mr. Electricity says this should be done, even if you’re only out of the room for a few minutes.