Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Residential Energy Savers: Lighting Tips

Since 2001, Snohomish PUD has helped our customers purchase energy-efficient lighting through retailer buy downs and discount coupons. As of December 2016, more than 10,000,000 bulbs have been sold in Snohomish County, helping our customers save enough energy to power more than 45,000 Snohomish County homes each year. For information about where and how to get discounted efficient lights, click here.

Using lighting efficiently is about more than light bulbs though. New lighting technologies and simple changes in how you use your lights can reduce lighting energy use in your home by 50%–75%.

Explore the tips below for free and low-cost ideas, as well as smart investments that you can make to improve the efficiency of your indoor and outdoor lighting.

No-Cost Tips

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Turn off unneeded lights

Turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and when you’re not home is a simple way to reduce your lighting costs. Turn off lights in rooms that will be unoccupied for 5 minutes or longer.

Savings: average of 80 kWh per bill, about $49 per year

Cost: FREE

Use natural daylight

During the day avoid turning on lights unless they’re needed for the task at hand. Daylight is free and environmentally friendly.

Savings: average of 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: FREE

Use task lighting

Overhead lights flood a room or area with light, sometimes more than is needed. By using only the light you need to complete your task, such as a desk or reading lamp or undercounter lighting, you’ll create ambiance and save energy.

Savings: average of 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: FREE

Low-Cost Tips

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Switch to new ENERGY-STAR-rated LEDs or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)

If you switch out 10 60-watt incandescent light bulbs for equivalent 9-watt LEDs, the savings per year is over $95! And LEDs can last up to 15 years!

Energy-saving lights now fit all types of fixtures, indoors and out, including recessed ceiling lights, flood lights, porch lights and dimming fixtures.

The PUD works with local participating retailers to reduce the price of the most popular LEDs. Get details here.

Wondering how much you could save by changing out your lights to LEDs? Use our handy lighting calculator to find out.

Savings: replace 5 60-watt incandescents with 5 14-watt CFLs: save about $43 per year. Replace 5 60-watt incandescents with 5 9-watt LEDs: save about $48 per year.

Cost: $0.50 - $5.00

Install indoor and outdoor lighting controls

Almost everyone knows that you can save energy by turning off lights when they're not needed. But sometimes we forget or don't notice that we've left lights on. Lighting controls can be used to automatically turn lights on and off as needed, preventing energy waste. The most common types of lighting controls include dimmers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, photosensors and timers. 

Many of these controls are inexpensive and easy to install, however if you’re not familiar or comfortable with electrical work, consult an electrician or local hardware store for assistance.

Savings: average of 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: varies

Note: dimmers and photosensors do not work with some CFLs, consult the packaging before purchasing or installing. LEDs may require special dimming switches because they use so little electricity.

Use motion-activated lights outdoors

Motion sensors turn on lights only when they're really needed, reducing the electricity they consume by 80%.

Motion sensors are typically inexpensive and easy to install, however if you’re not familiar or comfortable with electrical work, consult an electrician or local hardware store for assistance. These controls may not work with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Check the CFL packaging to confirm compatibility.

Savings: average of 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: varies

Use occupancy sensors in the garage

Occupancy sensors turn on lights only when they're really needed, reducing the electricity they consume by 80%. The garage, basement and other seldom used spaces are well suited to the use of occupancy sensors.

Motion sensors are typically inexpensive and easy to install, however if you’re not familiar or comfortable with electrical work, consult an electrician or local hardware store for assistance. These controls may not work with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Check the CFL packaging to confirm compatibility.

Savings: up to 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: varies

Choose solar for landscape lighting

Solar-powered lights are a great option for decorative lighting along pathways and in landscaped areas. Typically, the lights are on stakes with an integrated solar collection panel and storage battery. Lights can be found at garden, hardware and home improvement stores throughout Snohomish County.

Savings: up to 20 kWh per bill, about $12 per year

Cost: $5 - $60 per light, depending on style

Smart Investment Tips

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Choose ENERGY STAR light fixtures

When you’re adding or replacing light fixtures, choose styles with the ENERGY STAR rating. They use at least 75% less energy than standard incandescent ones and come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

The PUD offers discounts on LED lighting fixtures. Find out more details by clicking here.

Savings: up to 15 kWh per bill per fixture, about $10 per year per fixture

Cost: $5 - $60 per light depending on style