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Guess what? Lighting is the fastest and easiest way to save money and energy. Just turn off your lights when you don’t need them – that’s it! Lighting accounts for roughly 1/4 of all building energy in the U.S – that means a big part of your energy bills come from inefficient lights or lights left on unnecessarily. It’s a small step that everyone can do!

You can also think about ways to improve your life by using more of the original light bulb (also known as the Sun). For example, if you’re a night owl, consider going to sleep earlier to do what you have to do in the morning. Or try to spend less time in dark, cave-like rooms and more time in naturally well-lit ones.

And finally, replace your bulbs! If every Boston home replaced an old incandescent with a Energy Star bulb? 10,000,000 fewer pounds of carbon each year, or around 900 cars taken off the road. $1.3 million in savings. When you replace your bulbs, look at the wattage, lifetime, and lumens. You want to make wattage as low as possible and lifetime as high as possible. Lumens – not wattage – indicate the brightness of the light so you should be able to make sure your CFLs and LEDs are just as bright as your old incandescent bulbs. EnergyStar also provides a color guide for lightbulbs.

Here’s a rough classification of bulbs:

  • Incandescent: these bulbs are old and dirty. Replace them today!
  • CFL (compact fluorescent lighting): these bulbs are about four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and cost as low as a dollar because of state and utility incentives. If your incandescent bulbs cost roughly $500 in electricity bills through the year, CFLs will cost roughly $125 for the year.
  • LED (light-emitting diodes): the new generation of light bulbs – they are even more efficient than CFLs but cost more.

If you decide to get new bulbs, consider getting them through the state energy efficiency program. MassSAVE and its utility partners are heavily incentivizing new light bulbs and at times paying more than 50% of the cost. Residential incentives for light bulbs and light fixtures (i.e. ceiling lights) are available on MassSAVE.


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