Smart lighting, with Home Automation, Helps Lower Electric Bills, Increase Home Security
If you already have a home security system, including home automation, you easily can make minor adjustments to save money. Even without these services in place, there are several steps you can take to reduce energy use around the home.
It seems we’re all paying more than ever before for goods and services, including energy. One way to save on energy bills is by taking a proactive stance to manage your home’s lighting. The good news is you don’t need to sacrifice comfort or safety, and your home automation system can lend a hand.
According to the Department of Energy, an average household spends about five percent of its energy budget on lighting. Also, according to the Department of Energy, it’s easy enough to light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the quickest ways to cut energy costs. Smart lighting can also greatly enhance your home security efforts. Below, we’ll cover ways you can automate your lighting or use an app to control lights at home. These features help light the way when you get home late and deter crime, creating the appearance that someone is home.
Here are five lighting or home automation tips that help lower electric bills while also keeping your family safe:
1. Take a close look at your lightbulbs. Here’s an eye-opening fact: 90 percent of the energy given off by traditional incandescent lightbulbs is heat. That should motivate you to take a look at the bulbs in your home today.
For example, we now know that Z-Wave Dimmable LED Standard Light Bulbs are more energy efficient while still emitting the same amount of light. Switching to these spiral-shaped bulbs really does help save energy in your home. In addition, LED bulbs can last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs. At Alert 360, we help connect Z-Wave bulbs to your home security and automation system giving you lighting control using an app.
There are other lighting options available in addition to LED, so let’s break it down. Today’s most often used light bulbs options include halogen, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). CFL and LED lighting options can initially cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, during their lifetime, they use less energy, which saves you money. (For the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR® rating. An ENERGY STAR label ensures that the product has been independently certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver quality, performance, and savings.)
As we shared above, traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light. They also are no longer manufactured. Newer energy-saving lightbulbs provide plenty of choices in colors and lighting levels. The new lights are also much more energy-efficient, so they save you money. But what’s the difference in all the newer lightbulb options?
Choosing Smarter, Energy-Efficient Lighting:
Halogen lights are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, and they can be used with dimmers. While halogen lights can be bright, they also use more energy and burn hotter. There are other, more efficient options to meet your lighting needs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are curly versions of the long, tube fluorescent lights you may already have in a basement or garage. Because they use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, CFLs often pay for themselves in about nine months. Then, they save you additional money each month after that. An ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL uses about one-fourth the energy. It also lasts 10 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of light. CFL bulbs are available in a range of colors, including warm tones.
Please note that fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and should be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
LEDs are one of today’s most energy-efficient lighting options. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs. Compared to halogens, LEDs use approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer.
LED bulbs are available as replacements for 40W, 60W, and 75W traditional incandescent bulbs. They come in a variety of colors and are available in a dimmable option. LEDs perform well indoors and outdoors because of their durability in cold environments. Solar-powered, LED outdoor lighting is also available. LEDs are more expensive, but they can still save you money because they last longer and use less energy.
Another note: With all lightbulbs, we recommend that you check the packaging when looking for a dimmable bulb. Not all bulbs offer this option.
Now that we understand the options available in lightbulbs, we can move on to additional, money-savings lighting tips.
2. Replace halogen bulbs. As we stated above, halogen light bulbs are so hot that they can actually become a fire hazard. The bright light they give off easily can be replicated with safer, more energy-efficient CFL bulbs.
3. Don’t forget your outdoor home automation lighting! At Alert 360, for added security, we recommend motion detection lights outside. And for reducing energy use, motion-sensing lights are a great alternative to leaving a porch light burning all night, zapping energy and spiking your electric bill. Motion sensor lights only come on when someone drives or walks up near the home. These lights perform double duty by scaring off intruders and using less energy. In addition, using CFLs or LED bulbs in any outdoor light fixtures, such as floodlights, will save energy.
4. Consider longer, tube fluorescent lighting in some areas. Fluorescent lights are making a comeback in some areas of the home, such as playrooms and garages. These energy-efficient lighting solutions make sense for certain places because they use less heat than incandescent bulbs. Experts estimate they can be four to six times more energy efficient than standard light bulbs.
5. Consider easy-to-install home automation products. With our home automation solutions, you can program your lights to turn on and off at the times you determine. Or, you can control lighting remotely from your smartphone. Energy experts agree that installing home automation options can be an easy and smart way to lower your energy bills. (In addition to smarter lighting, Alert 360’s smart thermostat can also save you some serious money.)
There you have it: Five ways to reduce energy costs and increase your home’s security by managing the lighting in your home more efficiently.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local home automation and home security systems Alert 360 branch. We serve nearly a quarter of a million customers! If you would like a free security consultation and quote, click here for a free home security system quote!
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