Lighting accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the electrical consumption in a typical Alberta home. At ATCO EnergySense, we can help you choose the most efficient lighting for your needs. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about lighting.
Three main lighting choices are available for homeowners: light-emitting diode (LED), compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and incandescent light bulbs. In 2014, Canada’s Standard for Efficient Light Bulbs came into effect, and as a result, many traditional incandescent light bulbs will be phased out for residential use, but incandescent halogen light bulbs will continue to be sold.
When deciding which type of lighting to use, you need to consider a few different factors. Following is an at-a-glance look at each type of light bulb.
Light-emitting diode bulbs use up to 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, so switching to LEDs can mean big energy savings. LED technology has developed rapidly over the past few years, so there are a variety of shapes, sizes, and lumens available that fit most common household lamps and fixtures. Besides using less energy, LEDs have several other advantages over CFLs: LEDs reach full brightness immediately, are suitable for use in cold weather applications, typically last much longer, and do not contain mercury.
Compact fluorescent lights use up to 75 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. However, many CFLs take time to reach full brightness, especially in cold weather. CFLs also contain mercury, so they must be disposed of properly. A wide of variety of CFLs are available, including tri-lights and dimmable types.
Incandescent halogen light bulbs are about 10 per cent more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs, and will continue to be sold in Canada after the 2014 Standard for Efficient Light Bulbs is in place. Halogen lighting is most commonly found in recessed, track, and flood lighting, and is suitable for use in dimmers.
The amount of energy (measured in watts) used to achieve a certain level of brightness, measured in lumens, differs for each type of light bulb. As you can see in the table below, to achieve an equivalent level of brightness, CFLs and LEDs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs.
Note: The figures supplied in this table are approximate. You can find exact wattage and lumen equivalencies on the bulbs’ packaging.
• When renovating or building a new home, consider installing skylights, which supply plenty of natural light.
• Motion sensors ensure lights come on only when needed. They are also useful for outdoor security lighting.
• Photocells automatically turn outdoor lighting on at dusk and off at dawn. A timer can be used in conjunction with a photocell to turn off lights at a specified time.
• A qualified electrician should replace fixtures, switches and other controls.
• Before you replace bulbs, ensure they are the correct size, voltage and base type.
• Because CFLs contain mercury, they must be disposed of properly. Check with your local municipality for proper disposal information.
For more information on reducing energy use, check out our Managing Electricity at Home ( PDF 2.1 MB) publication.
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