Indoor lamps, outdoor lights and holiday strings in and around your home can make life bright and beautiful. It can also make it very expensive. Artificial lighting consumes almost 10% of your annual electricity bill. But you don't have to sacrifice visibility and comfort to save energy. Lighting choices and daylighting strategies can help you save energy and save money when done right.

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1. Let the Sun Light Your Home

Daylighting is by far the most cost- and energy-efficient form of lighting because it's free. Windows facing north and south give you the best year-round light. And new ENERGY STAR® windows can help you maintain the temperatures you want inside, blocking 70% of the solar heat in summer and reflecting heat indoors during winter.

2. Use CFL and LED Light Bulbs

CFL stands for compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use only 25% to 30% of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs, yet provide the same amount of illumination. LED stands for light-emitting diodes. They save energy by only emitting light in one direction, resulting in a more efficient bulb.

3. Reduce Background Lighting

Whenever possible, use table lamps, floor lamps or track lights instead of ceiling lights so you can control and concentrate your lighting. These kinds of task lights are smaller and more focused on the work at hand, saving you energy and money by not lighting areas that don’t need to be illuminated.

4. Set Up Lighting Controls

Dimmers, timers, and motion-sensors are an excellent way to manage your energy use when you’re not in a room or at your home. Obviously, if you noticed that you didn’t need a light, you would turn it off. But when you’re away, these automatic conveniences gauge the need and adjust your lights accordingly

5. Replace Energy-Wasting Lamps

Another simple way to reduce your overall electricity needs is to replace all your older lamps with newer, more energy-efficient models. These lamps are specifically designed to improve illumination and efficiency by pushing more of the light out into the room as opposed to trapping it inside the fixture.

6. Maintain Your Lamps and Fixtures

On the surface, taking care of your lamps, light fixtures and bulbs seems like a very low level way to reduce your energy needs. However, it's estimated that the age of your equipment and dirt can reduce your illumination by 50% or more, while your lights continue to draw 100% of the energy.