Indoor and exterior lighting accounts for as much as 14% of total energy used in residential houses in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This large number is based on the assumption that each house uses all incandescent light bulbs, which are a technology that has not changed much for a century. As such, they are highly inefficient and most of the energy used by the bulbs actually goes to heating, rather than lighting. In a hot Louisiana summer, this works against the air conditioning so that the homeowner is paying both to cool the house as well as heat it with the light bulbs.

Fortunately there are several options to reduce this energy usage while still providing the same quality of lights. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) are small, spiral bulbs that use about 25% of the energy of an incandescent. Their iconic shape allows equal light flow in all directions, and CFLs are now available in all color temperatures. These are not the dreary office lighting that is common with older fluorescents. They also last up to 7 years, which means they pay for themselves and more in the long run.

A newer technology, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have revolutionized the lighting industry in the past five years. They can be made in any color and any warmth of lighting, last up to 20 years apiece, and use only about 16% the energy as an incandescent. However, they are more expensive than CFLs, so they are recommended only for high traffic areas or hard to reach parts of the house.

PosiGen assessors and upgrade crews look for the best places to install more efficient lighting, starting from the most frequently used to the least, and from the highest wattage to the smallest. Exterior lighting is also considered if these are frequently utilized. The new light bulbs will save energy and money while not sacrificing any light quality.


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