Eco-Friendly Lighting: Bright Ways to Go Green in 2022 (Guide)

Eco-friendly lighting - stock image from Canva of an LED light bulb in front of green foliage, with a hello daisy at the top of the light bulb

Being eco-friendly is more affordable than ever. It’s genuinely impressive how much lighting technology has changed in the past couple of decades to create vastly more efficient and longer-lasting options for households. With some simple switches, you’ll be able to help the environment while reducing your carbon footprint. 

Some of the most environmentally friendly options are easily accessible, and some involve your household learning to change a few habits – and that’s it. Find the green lighting solution that works for you, then relish saving money and the environment all at once.

LEDs: The Best Types of Green Lighting

Let’s start with the best possible switch one person can make. If you have incandescent or fluorescent lights, it’s a good time to consider switching to LEDs. Why?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the best kind of lighting for environmentally conscious households and commercial buildings alike. They’re excellent forms of light that can illuminate a space more effectively, and you can reap both health and environmental benefits just by installing them in the place of your old, power-sucking incandescent lightbulbs.

Check out this video by CircuitBread for more on why LEDs are a better choice:

LEDs are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs because they lose extremely minimal amounts of energy as heat. This statistic alone is a win for eco-conscious homeowners. However, this had additional benefits as well. Because a higher degree of energy goes toward light generation over heat loss, LEDs are typically brighter than their incandescent counterparts, too.

Additionally, think through how much household and commercial waste you can reduce with longer-lasting lightbulbs. LEDs can last for about 13.7 years if used for 10 hours every day. Incandescents, conversely, have a lifespan of 750 hours — only 75 days at the same estimated level of usage. 

Adoption of LED lighting means there are fewer trashed lightbulbs, less packaging material thrown out, and less transportation fuel expended on lightbulb demand.

LED lights are energy-efficient and last longer than other forms of lightbulbs. You’ll be changing your lightbulbs less once you make the switch to LEDs, which means you get more bang for your buck when you invest in them.

Solar Power: Lighting of the Future

Okay, you’ve invested in LEDs and committed to saving energy and reducing waste as a result. How can you take eco-friendly lighting even further? Try powering your lighting with renewable resources.

Some people may believe solar power stops working after the sun sets, but that’s not true. Solar power pulls off of reserves and can continue powering everything in your home through the night. Though it can be pricey to install upfront, solar power pays off in the end as the best form of sustainable energy a household can implement.

Eco-friendly lighting - Image of a house roof with solar panels on it

Once widely touted as an unaffordable alternative, solar power is becoming more affordable for homeowners, not just corporate entities. Today’s cost of solar power has decreased by around 99% from its price a few decades ago. Now that panels can convert sunlight to electricity more efficiently, people are finding that solar power may be affordable for them soon.

Not ready to install solar panels? That’s okay; you can still harness solar energy for certain lighting features. Many companies produce outdoor lightbulbs or lamps powered by solar energy during the day, with a battery that lets the bulb shine at night. 

Try replacing your outdoor lighting with these solar options for an energy-efficient and ambient patio or deck.

One of the coolest examples of solar-powered eco-friendly lighting is a homemade water bottle light. Plastic bottles are filled with a bleached water solution and are then strung up and able to refract 55 Watts of sunlight into a given room. These quick, cheap plastic solar lights are used to light underserved areas in the Philippines and show the value of even simple innovations to make lighting more accessible and less energy-reliant.

Other Ways to Practice Eco-Friendly Lighting at Home

Changing your lights isn’t the only way to make sure you’re doing your best to live sustainably. Once you replace your lightbulbs with eco-friendly LED lights or install solar panels so you have the best quality of power possible, you can still take steps to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize the damage your household does to the environment.

Try these tips out. Making a small change might make a big difference in your home and your wallet.

1. Turn Off Lights

One rule that almost everyone heard growing up was to turn out the lights once they left the room. In doing so, you would supposedly save power – and that’s the case with older lightbulbs that emit heat. If you’re using LED lightbulbs in your home, you have a bit more wiggle room.

A general rule of thumb is to turn out the lights if you expect to be out of the room for 15 minutes or longer. You shouldn’t just leave lights on around the house because you feel like it, though. When in doubt, turn it off – and you’ll save yourself some money and conserve energy.

2. Try Automation

Smart home systems open up new ways to program various aspects of your day, and it can be fun and efficient to experiment with lighting programming, too. While light bulbs that are compatible with smart systems like Google Home are more expensive, they can be a good investment if you’re interested in automating a pre-set lighting routine.

Eco-friendly lighting - stock concept image of a smart home app open on a smartphone, displaying the energy efficiency rating system used on appliances

You can set triggers to dim the lights at different hours of the day, using less energy during daylight hours or when you want a softer ambiance. Automate lights-on and lights-off time to reduce the chance of overusing your electric lights. This can also help you settle into a better bedtime routine and wake up on time, too.

3. Design for Daylight

There are many advantages to embracing natural light during the day. It’s completely free and creates no carbon footprint, making it the most eco-friendly lighting of all! Plus, sunlight has positive effects on your mood, circadian rhythm, and vitamin D intake. One easy design tip you can try is to increase the amount of natural light your home receives so you can rely on electric lighting less.

How? Hang some additional mirrors in key places — like on walls opposite windows — to allow sunlight to bounce around a space more effectively. You can also try painting with lighter colors, so sunlight isn’t absorbed away by darker designs. Re-evaluate what window treatments you need and remind yourself to draw back curtains and open shades in key daytime hours.

Eco-friendly lighting - image of a skylight window in the roof, with a blue sky and forest visible through it

Final Thoughts on Adopting Eco-Friendly Lighting 

By making just a few small changes to your daily life, your savings can add up in a big way. You can know that you’re doing right by the environment while also pleasing your wallet with energy savings.

Some environmentally friendly lighting options might have a higher cost upfront, but they pay off in the long run and continue paying for themselves by minimizing the number of greenhouse gases your household releases into the atmosphere. As long as you remain vigilant about your carbon footprint, you can make the choices that benefit your household most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which types of lightbulbs are the most energy-efficient?

The most efficient types of lightbulbs are LEDs, which can last for 25,000 hours. In second place come fluorescent lights, or CFLs, which last for about 8,000 hours. Finally, incandescent lights last only 750 hours and are the least energy-efficient light bulb on the market. Check out the full guide to learn more about the most energy-efficient lighting options.

What kind of energy savings can I make by switching lightbulbs?

We can think about this in terms of the cost of electricity. Based on NOPEC data:
- Running an LED lightbulb for 25,000 hours costs $30.
- Running a CFL lightbulb for 25,000 hours costs $50.
- Running an incandescent light bulb for 25,000 costs $169.
Check out the full guide for more on how energy-efficient lighting also saves money.

How can I save more energy on lighting my home?

Turn off lights habitually and try relying more on natural light during the day. Keeping your window shades open, designing your home to increase the intensity of natural light, and spending time outdoors are all great ways to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint in relation to lighting. Read the full guide for more tips.

References & Useful Resources

Electrical Technology: Energy Efficient Lighting & How to Implement It

Energy.gov: LED Lighting

Energy.gov: Lighting Choices to Save You Money

New York Engineers: Top 7 Benefits of Using LED Lights Compared with Traditional Lighting

Ohio State University – Green Home Tech Centre: Natural Lighting 

Rawson Homes: How to Design a Home to Maximize Natural Light

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