• Green Tip: Lighting for darker days

    Posted by   |  November 4, 2016
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    With the autumnal equinox long gone, days are getting shorter and nights are getting darker, leading us to use more lights both inside and outside our homes. Luckily, with some careful planning and by taking advantage of advancements in technology, you can save money, reduce your energy consumption, and make greener lighting decisions.

    When it comes to lighting, the first step is making sure you’re using the most efficient light bulbs for your intended purpose. In general LED light bulbs are going to be your best choice in terms of efficiency and lifespan, and they’ve decreased to an affordable price in recent years.

    Beyond changing your lightbulbs, there are a handful of other actions to consider, including dimmers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, photosensors, and timers.

    When converting switches to dimmers, you provide yourself with a host of lighting options that help to both meet your needs and as reduce your energy consumption. Most CFL and LED bulbs are compatible with dimmers, and this question can be answered by looking at packaging or asking professionals in the store.

    Motion sensors provide both security and cost savings.  Programming your light to turn on when motion triggers it to can add the safety you feel by lighting up at night when you get home, or when you go outside to take the trash out.  Similar to motion sensors, which are generally used outside, are their inside counterpart, occupancy sensors.  Occupancy sensors are programmed to determine if someone is  in a room, and will not turn off until the last person has left – or has remained still for long enough of a period of time.  There are both ultrasonic (sound) or infrared (motion/heat) based, which can be used in different rooms and in a variety of ways.

    Another great trick for your outdoor lighting is to install photosensors.  These work to keep lights off when there is enough natural light, and turn on and become brighter as it gets darker outside.  While these would not be best for your holiday decorations or lawn fixtures, they would be great for illuminating any walkways.

    For holiday decorations, the most useful device might be a timer for your outlets.  Timers can be set to turn your lamps, decorations, fixtures, etc. on and off at set times without you having to flick a switch. This is also a useful tool to add an additional sense of security when you are traveling and away from home.

    If you are familiar and comfortable with all sorts of technologies, apps, and other web-based programs, there are now outlets, light switches, and surge protectors that allow you to remotely turn them on and off.  The benefit of this is that you are able to monitor your energy consumption more strictly, and it gives you more control than a timer because you can access your switches remotely

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