It’s sometimes easy to forget that unless strictly solar-powered, outdoor lighting contributes to electricity bills. So while you’re reducing indoor electricity charges, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights in unused rooms, consider the choices outside of your home. Learn how to use low energy outdoor lights that lower utility expenses, while also creating beautiful and inviting illumination in your yard.
More Efficient and Environmentally Friendly
Despite nostalgic sentiments and inexpensive pricing for incandescent light bulbs, they’re not energy-efficient. Approximately 90% of the energy they emit is heat, which obviously isn’t the objective when lighting walkways and sections of the yard. Compare that to LED lighting, which expends about 75% less energy, and as its name (light-emitting diode) implies, absorbs heat rather than emits it.
LEDs and low-voltage halogen lighting cost more than incandescents; however, their longevity makes them worth the investment: between 2,000 – 50,000 hours, depending upon bulb type.
Since they’re cooler to the touch, they’re also safer to handle if someone accidentally touches it while lit. Of additional value is that with LED string lights, the remaining bulbs should still work even if a few are damaged and no longer work. Since these low-voltage options do not contain any toxic materials, they can safely be included in recycling.
Selecting the Proper Low-Voltage Lighting
As you familiarize yourself with different outdoor lighting fixtures, make an outline of where in the yard you want to enhance lighting and whether it’s for aesthetic, safety, or both reasons. Measure particular areas of the landscape, and take photos, so you can easily reference the space while shopping for fixtures. Check for EPA ENERGY-STAR ratings, to give you an estimate of expected savings for using those particular lights. Other tips for decreasing outdoor electricity bills include:
- Checking for secure placement to ensure that fixtures are properly angled for illumination.
- Trimming hedges and gardens to prevent plants from blocking illumination.
- Using motion-sensors or timers so lighting only turns on when needed.
- Choosing low energy outdoor lights that complement their placement. It’s wasteful if lighting is too low, too harsh, impedes upon neighboring properties, or not weather-resistant.
Enhances Landscape and Curb Appeal
If you’re concerned about energy efficiency affecting design options, don’t be! There are several garden lighting styles that you can incorporate throughout the yard that meet personal décor preferences. Mushroom and pagoda styles add a resort-type ambiance while flood and directional bullet lighting create clean, defined illumination. If you need step deck lights for porches or to enhance string lights, lanterns, or candle lighting, the 12V JC Bi Pin equates to 20W under frosted glass and provides delicate yet effective spots where placed.
Low-voltage and LED outdoor lighting also increases curb appeal at night, whether you use it while entertaining or to show how a house for sale looks in the evening. With either 12V LED or up to 35V halogen bulbs, fiberglass underwater pond lighting keeps important areas highlighted while not adding much to the electrical expenses.
If you’re still not sure about how valuable these lighting options are, consider this: California residents must now use bulbs that emit at least 65% less energy than the watts they’re set out, which effectively puts an end to any remaining incandescents. It’s an additional step towards helping everyone reduce their electricity bills, and use safer, more eco-friendly lighting.
How do you ensure that you are being energy efficient while lighting your landscape? Tell us in the comments section below.