Lighting a typical Minnesota household accounts for about 10% of the energy needed to operate the home. There are many opportunities to affect that energy use, such as selecting efficient products and using them appropriately.
Types of lighting
Lighting falls under one of four general categories, based on the use of the space to be illuminated. Well-designed lighting incorporates components of all four types in many rooms within a home.
Ambient. Used to provide a basic level of general illumination in a room, ambient lighting can range from a single ceiling fixture to dimmer-controlled wall sconces. Often overlooked, ambient lighting can establish a mood or complement other lighting options for a room.
Task. Designed to give focused and brighter lighting to work spaces, task lighting is used for food preparation, reading, or working on projects. Down lights, track lights, or lamps are common sources of task lighting.
Accent. Used to provide illumination for works of art or architectural features, accent lighting can include track lights, indirect lighting, or wall-wash lighting.
Decorative. With the focus primarily on the light fixture itself, decorative lighting includes chandeliers and lamps. Because the light provided is usually incidental, decorative lighting frequently is combined with other lighting styles to provide appropriate illumination.
Saving energy with good lighting design
In the past, flipping a switch would flood a room with light, regardless of what you were going to do in the space. Today, good lighting design includes options for fixtures, controls, and bulbs—based on how the space will be used.
This guide describes the basic components of a house that separate the outdoors from the indoors. It contains ways to reduce energy use with insulation, air-sealing, windows, and doors. Information is included on how to assess the current operation of your home through an energy audit and how to begin the process of tightening your home to curtail energy consumption.
A significant portion of home energy use is for all of the common things that make our lives easier and safer. The Appliances, Lighting, and Electronics guide discusses options for reducing energy consumption of these devices by changing when and how we use them. Additionally, there is information on what to consider when you are repairing or replacing these items.