Many people have begun the transition from incandescent to energy-efficient lighting options. Using LEDs, CFLs or halogen bulbs can save you time, money and – of course – energy. However, if you really want to conserve energy in your home, the new trend, “daylighting,” may be perfect for you.
Daylighting is the use of windows and skylights to bring sunlight into your home. Today’s highly energy-efficient windows, as well as advances in lighting design, reduce the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours without causing heating or cooling problems. The daylighting initiative has been sweeping the commercial world for some time. But what has been done in offices, warehouses and classrooms can easily be transferred over to your home environment.
Windows – The first thing you’ll want to do is better utilize and/or add windows in your home. Keep in mind that the locations of windows should be based on the cardinal directions for the best lighting. For example:
The window type depends on your climate and home’s design. Windows located high on the wall above eye level (clerestory windows) can bounce natural light off the ceiling, increasing illumination. Skylights are another good option, particularly in halls or other enclosed spaces.
Before making any renovations, speak with a professional window contractor about whether or not the costs of new window installation justify the potential energy savings.
Walls – Use light, reflective paint colors and finishes in day-lit areas. Using light-colored paint is way to enhance the reflection of natural light in a room. Where appropriate, you can select paint with a high reflective value.
You may also want to consider installing a “light shelf” on your wall – a horizontal, light-colored or metal shelf set across a window to ricochet light off the ceiling and back into the room. This shelf is normally located about 12 inches from the top of the window for a standard eight-foot ceiling.
To direct the light coming through your windows where you want it to go, use louvers or operable blinds.
If you want to take a step toward efficient lighting, but don’t want to make the leap to daylighting, energy-efficient light bulbs are a great place to start! Visit BatteriePlus.com to find a variety of LEDs, CFLs or halogen bulbs. For more information on LED lighting, visit our LED Light Bulb Topic Page.
US Department of Energy (http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/daylighting)
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