Did you know that a single 10-watt LED bulb used in place of a 43-watt halogen incandescent bulb will save you roughly 800 kWh of electricity over its lifetime? That might not sound so impressive, but imagine if your entire house was lit with LED or CFL lamps. The amount you could save by researching ethical methods for lighting your home is more impressive than you think.

Environmental Benefits of Using Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

If you’ve jumped on the LED or CFL bandwagon, you know you don’t have to shop for replacement bulbs very often. When you do, it’s important to look at the Lighting Facts label on the packaging. Energy Star bulbs must adhere to certain specifications, including energy use, light output, and lamp life before they can be labeled as “energy-efficient.” 

Replacing one incandescent bulb with an Energy Star bulb is good for the environment. This action alone eliminates roughly 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 4-6 pounds of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 8 mg of mercury on average. If your electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant, you can double those figures.

Economic Benefits of Using Energy Star Bulbs

Not only do high-efficiency bulbs help us conserve our natural resources and prevent unnecessary waste from entering landfills, but they’re also economically advantageous. Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive to buy, but that’s where the savings stop. They are much more expensive to operate and must be replaced more often than CFLs or LEDs. 

You might spend $5 to buy an LED bulb (versus $1 for an incandescent), but then only contribute another $1 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb. LEDs are rated to last up to 25,000 hours, while a standard incandescent is rated at 750 hours. Not only that, but the longer you use an LED each day, the faster that bulb pays for itself.

Other Ways to “Light” Your Home

There are other, more ethical ways to light your home than simply changing your light bulbs. Using environmentally-friendly candles is a perfect way to add mood, particularly in the evenings or winter months. Be mindful to stock candles that use natural ingredients rather than paraffin which is neither good for the planet nor our health. Alternatively, letting natural light in and making a few adjustments to your living space to help spread that light around is another approach. Natural light helps fight depression and contributes to a more open and welcoming space.

Consider painting your walls white to reflect light and brighten the room. If you’re in the market for some new furniture, go with lighter colors. You don’t have to choose a stark white; creams, beige and light grays will work too. If new furniture isn’t in your budget right now, look into purchasing a light-colored couch or chair cover instead.

Mirrors and metal decorations can bounce light around as well. Even though dark wood cabinets are beautiful, they don’t reflect light very well. Lighter woods like oak, maple, birch, ash, or hickory are better choices. You’d be surprised how painting your old cabinets a light color will improve the ambiance in your kitchen.

In short, choosing ethical ways to light your home isn’t just about the light bulbs. LEDs and CFLs certainly play an important role, but there are other ways to produce a cheery, energy-efficient home. All it takes is a little research and a creative mind. 

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