Next to heating or cooling, lights can be the second-biggest energy eaters in your home. Don’t stay in the dark about efficient lighting, and take this advice:   

  • LED lighting is the most energy-efficient choice. But don’t be scared away by the higher price tag on LEDs. They more than make up the extra cost by using at least two-thirds less energy than incandescent bulbs. If you can’t get LEDs, though, CFLs are the next best option. 
  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They produce 75 percent less heat than regular bulbs and last 10 times longer. Even with the higher initial price, you can easily save $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime. Not sure how to recognize a CFL? Look for the ENERGY STAR seal. One more thing: CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so follow the instructions on the back of the packaging for safe recycling/disposal. Or,contact your city to see if they offer a CFL recycling/disposal program. 
  • Shut off lights when you’re not using them. No need to illuminate the whole house if you’re just working in one room. Try task lighting. Instead of shining an overhead light on the entire room, turn on a floor or desk lamp while you read, write or sew. Also, if you're having problems changing your habits, look to install motion sensors in bathrooms, closets and kids' bedrooms.