Given the vast selection of lighting fixtures available on the market, it is essential to determine your needs before making your choice, for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Whether you’re looking for direct or diffuse lighting, a reading lamp or a particular lighting ambience, choose the best ratio of energy consumed to brightness provided.

Heating accounts for roughly two-thirds of your household energy consumption. Since your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home, it should be perfectly adapted to your heating system. The thermostat allows you to save a considerable amount of money while improving the comfort of your home. The quality of a thermostat lies in its precision. The secret is to start up the heating system before the ambient air gets too cold, and to stop it before it gets too warm.

Here are some tips on lighting and thermostat use to help reduce your energy consumption.

Buy lamps that provide maximum light
Do you prefer lampshades in pale colours, or adjustable lamp reflectors? Either way, you should choose a bulb that produces the most lumens (measurement of light) and consumes the fewest watts as possible. Contrary to popular belief, the number of watts (40, 60, 100, etc.) is not an expression of the quantity of light emitted. A 40-watt light bulb will always consume 40 watts of electricity, regardless of the quantity of light produced.

Bring on the fluorescent lights!
If they are suitable for your lighting needs, fluorescent lamps are the most energy efficient choice available. To produce the same quantity of lumens, they consume less energy than any other type of bulbs. They are perfectly suited for lamps that stay switched on for long periods of time.

Leave lights on only when necessary
It is pointless and costly to leave lights on all night long. Program a few inside lamps on a programmable timer that switches on and off at pre-set times. For outside lamps, install a lamp equipped with a motion detector.

Install electronic dimmers
By using a light dimmer, you reduce your energy consumption and extend the life of your light bulbs. Depending on the decrease in intensity, you can save from 5 to 50% in energy costs.

Replace old mechanical thermostats
Because they are less sensitive to changes in the ambient temperature, mechanical thermostats fluctuate, varying by 2 to 5°C from the desired temperature. The precision of electronic thermostats procures a constant temperature and greater comfort, and can save you up to 10% in heating costs.

Lower the temperature
In lowering the temperature by 3°C during the night, you can save up to 6% in heating costs. Don’t lower it by more than three degrees, because the time it takes for the heating system to re-establish a comfortable temperature will cancel part of the gains made.

Choose a programmable or electronic thermostat
We often tend to forget to raise or lower the temperature at the appropriate moment. Programmable thermostats can do the job for us. Simply enter your desired temperature settings and the thermostat takes care of the rest. There are also some very simple electronic thermostats that have only two buttons. Although they are not programmable, they offer the same precision as the more elaborate models.

Select a thermostat adapted to your lifestyle
If your weekday living habits change on the weekend, opt for a more sophisticated programmable thermostat. So-called 5-2 models offer a lower temperature schedule from Monday to Friday, and a second option for the weekend. Some thermostats offer 5-1-1 programming that allows you to set separate programs for Saturday and for Sunday. Others allow you to set a different program for each day of the week.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec