Going green with home lighting may be easier and more economical than some people think. Not only will the long-term energy savings far outweigh the slightly higher initial cost of efficient bulbs, but options have come a long way. Despite the advancements, some may still be stuck in an energy-wasting, incandescent rut or falling prey to three myths that haunt the energy-efficient light bulb world.
Myth 1: The Only Green Lighting Option is that Weird Spiraled Fluorescent Thing
This myth is shattered like glass, so to speak, with a number of green light-bulb options pointed out by ThisOldHouse.com. Sure, the “weird spiraled fluorescent thing,” officially known as a compact fluorescent bulb, is one of the more common options, but it certainly is not the only one. In fact, it is not even the only option in the compact fluorescent family.
Non-spiraled CFLs are also on the market, in the same type of shapes and sizes that incandescent bulb users are used to. Overall, CFLs use one-third the energy as incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer and cost only slightly more.
Those who still wish to eschew the fluorescent can go for the light-emitting diode, officially known as the LED. Unlike incandescent bulbs that blast out heat and burn out when their filaments go, LEDs instead rely on electron movement through a semiconductor to produce light. Their use, however, remains largely for smaller fixtures due to their dimmer illumination and higher cost for larger bulbs. Some companies, like Kichler Lighting, make LEDs look like traditional incandescent bulbs while others feature clearer glass to expose the bulb’s inner workings.
Halogen bulbs are another option. Although halogen bulbs still produce heat, they are overall more energy-efficient than the standard incandescent. They are similar to the incandescent in look and design, although they are filled with halogen gas to produce light. They typically use one-tenth the energy as incandescent bulbs and last up to three times longer.
Myth 2: Green Bulbs Will Clash With My Décor
Some may fear energy-efficient bulbs will ruin the aesthetic of their carefully crafted home design or draw attention away from the art hanging on the walls.
This myth was crushed by Inhabitant, which successfully upgraded five designer lamps with energy-saving LED bulbs. LEDs worked in styles that ranged from an opulent chandelier to a recycled cardboard hanging Scrap Lamp, with an antler-shaped pendant in between.
Not only did the LEDs adequately and attractively illuminate, but the five-fixture switch-out would save a total of approximately $1,700 over a five-year period. If LEDs can work in an opulent chandelier, they can certainly work to illuminate the kitchen or in any other conceivable space.
Myth 3: Green Bulbs Will Look Artificial and Give Me a Headache
The green lighting updates not only apply to different types of bulbs, but also to the type of light being produced. While some people may have an aversion to the old-school fluorescent lighting, the new CFLs on the block are constantly improving, This Old House notes. The light produced is much warmer and softer than older models of the bulb, and they even come in party-bulb colors. Orange or black CFL, anyone?
LEDs, too, are available in a wide range of colors and hues while halogens have always generally been able to produce a clean, bright light.
Don’t get so caught up with artificial lighting that you forget natural light is an option. Planet Green advocates strategic placement of windows and skylights. Planet Green also advises getting the most bang for the energy buck by avoiding recessed ceiling lights that may damage the home’s thermal envelope.
There are, of course, many other ways to save money and energy by updating your home. Start simple and always keep your eyes open for ways to improve your energy consumption at home.