With almost 20% of global electricity lighting consumes per year, it has become imperative to turn to sustainable lighting solutions. Lighting has a devastating impact on the environment in a number of ways. Energy usage of certain lighting options demands a great amount of electricity leading to pollution from power plants. The materials used for the manufacturing of the products, especially mercury pose a grave risk to wildlife (reproduction problems and abnormal behavior) and ecosystems (terrestrial food chain soils and places with predominantly fish diet). Finally, lighting can result in natural light pollution.
- Enjoying the benefits of daylighting
Apart from the obvious benefits of natural light on occupant’s health and performance, daylighting is one of the eco-friendliest ways to reduce dependence on electric lighting. Installing a skylight on the roof of the house is one option. Windows should be installed on the south and north side of the house in order to avoid glare conditions. For the houses experiencing a great amount of direct daylight, a light shelf along with windows is recommended.
- Switching to LEDs
Energy efficiency of LEDs can be seen in their average life span. LED lights or downlights can last up to 50,000 h, while incandescent bulbs have a life span of only 1,200 h. CFLs last around 8,000 h making them more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs, but they contain mercury, a highly toxic substance. LEDs also use less power, which contributes to not only reduced greenhouse emissions, but lower electric bills, too.
- Turning off your lights
LEDs have one more advantage over incandescent light bulbs and CFLs – their life span and cost-effectiveness do not rely on the number of times they are turned on and off. This is especially important as wasting electricity is another environmental issue of the contemporary society. Timers, photosensors, occupancy sensors, motion sensors and dimmers are all types of energy-efficient light controls you can use.
- Stick-on lights for small spaces
Bathroom cabinets, stairways, pastries, countertops, reading nooks and closets lend themselves to small stick-on lights, whether they are electric, or solar-powered. Now they come in a variety of designs, some of them are made of eco-friendly materials and some of them have manual and/or automatic on/off modes. They all have batteries and are a great green lighting idea at a reasonable cost.
- Outdoor solar lighting
In order to count your garden when calculating your energy savings, install outdoor solar solutions. Solar lights contain solar panels capturing the sun’s energy during a day and storing it for the night. They do emit softer glow than traditional lighting options, but they require low maintenance, they are wireless and are easy to install. The batteries harnessing the power of the sun should be replaced every two years.
- Eco-friendly design
The materials and design of your lights should also be taken into consideration. Fortunately, a growing number of designers can help us in the quest of finding stunning aseco-friendly lighting design options. Tanya Clarke’s Liquid Lights are made of recycled plumbing fixtures and LED-illuminated glass. Fabbian Illuminazione SPA is an Italian manufacturer of the lamps made of recycled cardboard, while Jerry Kott upcycles empty wine bottles into frosted lamps.
Greener home lighting is not unfeasible as it used to be. Sustainable lighting solutions along with eco-friendly design make adopting environmentally sound strategies a piece of cake.