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CAN I ADD SECURITY LIGHTING WITHOUT RAISING MY ENERGY BILL?

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Even if you spend a bundle on outdoor security lighting, there’s no need to overspend when you operate it.

Energy-efficient security lights conserve electricity, focus light only on the areas you want to illuminate, and attach to timers or sensors so they switch themselves off when they’re not needed.

Too many outdoor lights shine large amounts of light in every direction, including upward, where the light is wasted, and outward, where it will shine through your neighbor’s windows instead of onto your patio or driveway. Light your yard, not the sky.

Here are Rosie’s tips for more energy-efficient outdoor lighting: 

  • Install properly shielded overhead security lighting. The shield will concentrate the light, making the best use of it and reducing light pollution. 
  • Don’t use more light than you need. Too much light can give off an uncomfortable glare, which actually lowers visibility. Shielded lighting will allow you to use a lower wattage bulb and prevent your property from looking like a stadium.
  • With lighting used strictly for security, install a motion sensor instead of leaving it on all night.
  • For security, walkway and porch lighting, use fixtures with a timer or photovoltaic cell unit so the lights will turn off in the morning.
  • For security lighting, use a low-pressure sodium bulb, which gives off the same amount of light with less wattage. For other lights, switch to compact fluorescent or metal halide bulbs, which are the most energy-efficient.
  • Try out some LED (light-emitting diode) floodlights, which use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs. Outdoor LED lights are more expensive to buy than CFLs, but they are even more ideal for outdoor lighting because they’re even more efficient and they last so long you might never have to change them.
  • If your floodlights are on the sunny side of the house, consider a solar-powered model. They drink in the sun’s energy all day and store it for use after dark.
  • Look for outdoor lighting fixtures that are Energy Star-rated. Many come with convenient energy-saving features like motion sensors and automatic shutoff at daybreak. If your patio gets a lot of sun during the day, try solar-powered LED bulbs to save even more energy at night.
  • Position outdoor lights to illuminate the largest area possible.
  • Connect your outdoor lights to timers that automatically turn your lights on when it gets dark and off at daybreak—which will save energy and money on your electric bill.
  • Outdoor motion-sensing lights are an economical alternative to outdoor floodlights that you must leave on all night. Motion sensors illuminate an area only when they sense movement and will shut off automatically when the movement stops.

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