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Save Energy and Money Lighting Your Home

Making energy-efficient light bulb purchases is certainly a major way to trim the fat from your electrical bill, but there are many other techniques you can draw upon.

1) Turn off lights that aren't being used. This is the simplest, most common-sense solution, which can result in surprisingly significant energy savings. Consider that a 75-watt light bulb left on for a couple hours daily can comprise up to 2 percent of your overall monthly lighting bill. Shut it off when you leave the room.

2) Be sure to dust. A dusty bulb is an inefficient bulb. Get out the dust rag, and get your money's worth from your lighting.

3) Use task lighting. Don't flood an entire room with light when all you need is a small reading lamp. Choose lighting that meets your specific functional needs.

4) Place lamps in corners. Doing so allows light to bounce off two wall surfaces, meaning you will need fewer lights overall.

5) Choose light colors when painting your walls. Light reflects off pale tones more easily than it does off dark shades, allowing you to use lower-wattage light bulbs in your home. Where glare isn't a problem, consider paints that have high reflective values.

6) Use daylighting techniques. This is the practice of using natural light for illumination. Enhancing your home's daylighting can mean everything from simply moving your desks and work surfaces closer to sunny windows to installing new skylights. See Daylighting Techniques for more on these methods.

7) Use automatic timers and/or dimmers. Timers, which regulate electrical usage by turning on and shutting off lighting sources at set times, and dimmers, which allow you to modulate the brightness of a lighting source, can contribute greatly to energy savings. For more on these, see Light Switch Options and Lighting Dimmer Switches.

8) Don't neglect outdoor lighting. Outside lights are often left on unnecessarily. Using things such as timers, motion or photoelectric sensors, or solar power with your exterior lighting setup can be helpful. For more, see Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting.

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