Reducing your energy consumption is good for both the environment and your pocketbook.

Mary Kyd, a lighting specialist withAtlantic Lighting Studio in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, says that while consumers have always been conscious of energy efficiency, their design options have traditionally been limited – until now.

“Overall, the decorative lighting industry has taken the benefits of energy efficiency to heart and is incorporating energy-wise lighting sources in many designs,” she says. “Four years ago, this was not the case; consumers were starting to demand it, but the industry was lagging behind. But the industry woke up, took notice and now you will find many well-designed fixtures with energy saving options.”

For those seeking energy-efficient options, there are two main choices: LED and CFL bulbs and lighting controls.

LED and CFL technologies

Light-emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) bulbs are two of the most common technologies for reducing energy consumption. Traditional light bulbs convert the bulk of their energy into heat, which ends up wasting electricity; however, LEDs and CFLs convert most of their energy into light. They also last longer than traditional bulbs, which helps to further reduce your bills and your carbon footprint.

And the popularity of LED and CFL bulbs is just going to grow further. “LED lights are used everywhere now, from bulbs to accent lighting and under-counter lighting – and there are many more applications to come,” says Luca Filice, of Prima Lighting in Vaughan.

Lighting controls

Another option to save energy is to install lighting controls that adjust your light according to your needs. There are dimmers that you can manually adjust depending on how bright you want or need a room to be, as well as occupancy and vacancy sensors, which respond to the presence of people in the room and adjust accordingly. Daylight controls are another option. “They adjust the lighting level to accommodate the natural daylight in the room,” explains Kyd.

When you’re relying on lighting controls, you can also decide whether they should apply to a single switch, the whole room or the whole house – so you can customize your energy-saving needs to what best suits your home and family.

“Plan your lighting,” says Kyd. “Having the right light in the right place will mean that you will only use the light you need rather than putting in too much lighting, or installing lighting that will not do the job – wasting energy in both cases.”