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Published on November 1st, 2010 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Green Lighting: How to Cut Your Electric Bill & Carbon Emissions

green lightingChange you light bulbs to CFLs… how many times have you heard that one? To be honest, I’m a little bored with it… I mean, doesn’t everyone already know that?

My boredom’s probably a good sign, though… if those of us who follow these issues daily find tactics like changing bulbs “old hat,” then they’re probably really starting to catch on among the broader population. And let’s face it: making changes in your lighting, whether at home or work, is an easy, effective to way to start getting a handle on your energy use, utility bills, and carbon emissions.

So, the folks at McGraw-Hill Professional likely timed the release of their new book Green Lighting: How Energy-Efficient Lighting Can Save You Energy and Money and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint just right (affiliate link). Written by Brian Clark Howard (of The Daily Green), William J. Brinsky (of Envirolite Systems) and “green living guy” Seth Leitman, the book’s a veritable Bible on understanding and implementing energy-efficient lighting approaches at the home and/or office.

How Much of a Difference does Energy-Efficient Lighting Really Make?

That’s a question that comes up frequently… does lighting really use that much energy? The authors start the book off with a comprehensive overview of the costs created by lighting. What they found:

  • For homeowners, lighting represents 9-20% of the average electric bill… which works out to about $90-180 a year.
  • For commercial buildings, the percentage rises pretty significantly: lighting accounts for 38% of energy use on average.
  • As a nation, lighting is responsible forĀ one quarter of our energy consumption… at an annual cost of $37 billion.

So, yes, lighting’s a simple area for adjustment… but one that can pay big dividends on the large scale….

So, How Do You Green Your Lighting?

OK, yeah… you can change out traditional incandescent bulbs for CFLs. Or, you can go for next-generation LED lighting options (which do cost more). You probably already know these options. Green Lighting goes well beyond “change your bulbs” tips into examining options for specific lighting needs, the downsides of existing and new technologies, and profiles of lighting concepts still largely under development. There’s even a section on making greener choices for lighting fixtures (including making your own lamps).

I don’t know that I’d recommend this book for reading from cover to cover… but it’s a great resource for a full range of lighting questions and issues. If you’re thinking about making changes — whether switching out bulbs, or remodeling — you’ll likely find the information you need to make greener choices.

If this one gets you thinking more about energy efficiency, also keep an eye out for yet another book from Brian (also from McGraw-Hill) on geothermal heating & cooling… (and that’s also an affiliate link).

Ready to make changes to your lighting? Check out our current listings of energy efficient lighting options, including LED bulbs, solar accent lighting, and soy candles.



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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