Does the light fixture matter for efficiency?

While people mostly (and rightly) focus on energy-efficient light bulbs, money can be saved by using the right fixtures, too.

Posted by Sirena Rubinoff | Feb 16, 2010
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Energy efficiency is all the rage in today's ever-more eco-friendly society. And even people who aren't so interested in living a "green" lifestyle are looking into energy-efficient appliances to help save "green" in their pockets. So, while many people are considering the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, others are wondering if energy-efficient fixtures are the next big thing. Is it all in the bulb, or is it what you screw the bulb into that makes the difference?

Energy-Efficient Light Fixtures Are Different

According to Energy Star research, energy-efficient light fixtures use up to 75% less energy than traditional light fixtures and they distribute light more efficiently than standard fixtures.

Energy-efficient light fixtures also don't get as hot as regular fixtures. Creating less heat saves on energy consumption and translates into lower electricity bills for you. In fact, research done by Energy Star says that you can save as much as $70 in annual energy costs by replacing the five most used light fixtures in your home with energy-efficient ones. And as an additional bonus, lighting fixtures with the Energy Star seal of approval typically come with a long-lasting compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb that shouldn't need replacement for up to nine years (or 10,000 hours of usage).

Fixtures vs. Bulbs

The ideal energy-saving situation is to use energy-efficient light bulbs in energy-efficient light fixtures. However, if you can't afford to do that and you have to pick one over the other, it's better to use energy-efficient bulbs than energy-efficient fixtures. According to Energy Star, you save the same amount of money by using regular bulbs in energy-efficient fixtures as you would if you simply re-outfitted your existing fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are the most common energy-efficient bulbs used in consumer homes. These bulbs cost a bit more than incandescent bulbs, but they last longer and use a quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs use once turned on. Simply put: New energy-efficient bulbs are cheaper than new energy-efficient fixtures and you'll save the same amount of money.

How Timers Help

Another way to make your existing light fixtures more energy-efficient is to put timers on key lighting fixtures so that you don't have to worry about remembering to turn the lights off. Your timer will do it for you. Well-placed timers in conjunction with energy-efficient light bulbs are the cheapest and most efficient way to save energy and money on your lighting bills.

However, if you do want to look into energy-efficient lighting fixtures, make sure to look for the Energy Star seal of approval, and don't feel like you have to forsake style for savings. There is a wide variety of energy-efficient fixture options. You are sure to find a money-saving fixture that suits you!

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