Home Maintenance & Energy
UNL Extension — helping you turn knowledge into "know how"
Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Adds Security
Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator
Home safety is a major issue for home owners. Light inside and outside of the home can help with security, if used wisely. Lights on timers can give the appearance of a family being home even when away. Try to be energy wise at the same time.
There are a variety of outdoor lights, from low voltage pathway lighting to motion-detector floodlights, which can help reduce electric bills.
Lights powered by small photovoltaic (PV) modules can help save energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Another option are outdoor lights with photosensors, which automatically turn off when they sense sunlight. Lights with timers have to be reset often with the seasonal daylight variation. However, they can be used effectively in combination with other controls. For example, a photosensor could turn a light on at dusk, and a timer could turn the light off at a certain hour.
Motion sensor lights help save energy as they will only turn on when someone is present to activate the light.
Decorative outdoor gas lamps are energy intensive as they burn continually. Just eight such lamps burning year-round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.
Long-living compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are energy efficient and can be used for outdoor lighting, but be sure to find CFLs that operate at low temperatures for outdoor use.
Before investing in outdoor lighting consider where you need the light for safety. Lighting areas not needing to be lit contributes to more energy use and added costs.
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Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
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