Lighten up with these smart ways to light your home for energy efficiency and lower power bills.

New lighting technologies, starting with first compact fluorescent (CFL) and now LED, are a great opportunity to light our homes more efficiently. Read on for some tips to save money on power bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Out with the old

Do you still have some of those old incandescent lights bulbs? Even the current incandescents on supermarket shelves claiming to be more efficient don’t come close newer technologies. Incandescents cost up to 5 times more to run than CFLs and up to 10 times more to run than LED lights. They also produce a lot more heat, which in summer means an air conditioner has to work harder to cool the room.

Mix LEDs with CFLs

LED lightbulb evolution

CFLs take a while to warm up to full brightness but are super cheap, while LED lights offer instant full brightness and use even less energy but are more expensive to buy. If you are on a budget, choose a mix. Put LEDs in low traffic areas that need instant light (eg. bathroom, toilet, garage) and CFL’s in areas where you need light for long periods such as the kitchen, living areas and hallways.

Get into a switch-off routine


Try and get everyone in the household into a routine of switching off the light when they leave a room. Do you have teenagers in the home who you’re sick of nagging about the issue? Since teens crave responsibility, set up a family meeting to take a look at the electricity bill. The theory goes that they’ll appreciate the respect you’re showing by sharing grown-up issues with them.

Paint your walls light colours


This is not something many of us think about but it’s a fact: our choice of interior paint colours can have a big effect on how “light” a room feels when you switch on electric lighting. Choosing lighter paint colours allows you to use lower wattage lights, or less of them. That equals savings in the long term.

Shop around


The price differences between retailers of LED and CFL lights can make a big difference to your upfront costs, especially if you are buying in batches. Example: we found the same branded 11w LED ceiling light in a supermarket for $11.99, in a hardware store for $9.99 and online for $6.50.