Tips for Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting

Illuminating your home and yard at night is great for a few reasons – safety and security, extending the use of your yard after the sun sets and featuring unique and beautiful elements of your house and garden – but being energy efficient is important too – not only to save you money, but to help the environment.

Why is Energy Efficiency Important?

When a product is considered “energy efficient,” it means that it delivers the same or higher output with less energy input. This is important because it saves the consumer money on their utility bills, and having to purchase and install product more often, and because it’s using less energy at the end user, less energy needs to be produced. In many parts of Canada, electricity is produced when fossil fuels are burned which produce greenhouse gasses and other pollutants which can lead to smog, acid rain and even climate change. When there’s less demand for electricity because consumers are using more efficient products, such as lighting, it helps to conserve Canada’s natural resources.

Look for the Energy Star Symbol

The government of Canada has created Energy Efficiency Regulations and you have probably seen the EnerGuide sticker on your larger appliances. These regulations can also apply to certain types of lighting. When looking for the most energy efficient light fixtures and bulbs, look for the blue and white Energy Star symbol. This international sign indicates that the product has met strict standards for optimal energy efficiency and is the highest level in the EnerGuide program.

Solar Powered Lighting

Extracting the sun’s power for landscape lighting is one of the best ways to be energy efficient. You don’t have to run power from the house or have special wiring and electrical boxes installed so you can place lights anywhere you choose – it’s very portable and flexible. The downside with solar-powered lighting is that a) it’s dependent on a having a bright, sunny day; and b) the light output may be weaker than traditional lighting, so it’s not ideal for security lights or lighting pathways or stairs, but solar powered outdoor lights can be great for mood-lighting or to add a splash of drama throughout a garden.

Low-Voltage Lighting

Low-voltage lights run on 30 volts of electricity or less and they last longer than conventional lighting but they can be just a luminous and bright using only 20% less energy. LED lights are an example of low-voltage lighting and they last upwards to 50 times longer than halogen or incandescent bulbs.

Use Motion Sensors or a Timer

If your outdoor lighting is for safety or security purposes such as a flood light, having a built-in motion sensor is a great way to avoid having the light shine uselessly. Similarly, having your lighting on a programmable timer is also handy if you are going to be away, or as the seasons change so you can set the lights to turn on when it is dark enough to be needed.

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