Outdoor Lighting Choices to Reduce Your Electricity Bills

 low energy outdoor lights

It’s sometimes easy to forget that unless strictly solar-powered, outdoor lighting contributes to electricity bills. So while you’re reducing indoor electricity charges, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights in unused rooms, consider the choices outside of your home. Learn how to use low energy outdoor lights that lower utility expenses, while also creating beautiful and inviting illumination in your yard.

More Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

Despite nostalgic sentiments and inexpensive pricing for incandescent light bulbs, they’re not energy-efficient. Approximately 90% of the energy they emit is heat, which obviously isn’t the objective when lighting walkways and sections of the yard. Compare that to LED lighting, which expends about 75% less energy, and as its name (light-emitting diode) implies, absorbs heat rather than emits it.

LEDs and low-voltage halogen lighting cost more than incandescents; however, their longevity makes them worth the investment: between 2,000 – 50,000 hours, depending upon bulb type.

Since they’re cooler to the touch, they’re also safer to handle if someone accidentally touches it while lit. Of additional value is that with LED string lights, the remaining bulbs should still work even if a few are damaged and no longer work. Since these low-voltage options do not contain any toxic materials, they can safely be included in recycling.

Selecting the Proper Low-Voltage Lighting

As you familiarize yourself with different outdoor lighting fixtures, make an outline of where in the yard you want to enhance lighting and whether it’s for aesthetic, safety, or both reasons. Measure particular areas of the landscape, and take photos, so you can easily reference the space while shopping for fixtures. Check for EPA ENERGY-STAR ratings, to give you an estimate of expected savings for using those particular lights. Other tips for decreasing outdoor electricity bills include:

  • Checking for secure placement to ensure that fixtures are properly angled for illumination.
  • Trimming hedges and gardens to prevent plants from blocking illumination.
  • Using motion-sensors or timers so lighting only turns on when needed.
  • Choosing low energy outdoor lights that complement their placement. It’s wasteful if lighting is too low, too harsh, impedes upon neighboring properties, or not weather-resistant.

Enhances Landscape and Curb Appeal

If you’re concerned about energy efficiency affecting design options, don’t be! There are several garden lighting styles that you can incorporate throughout the yard that meet personal décor preferences. Mushroom and pagoda styles add a resort-type ambiance while flood and directional bullet lighting create clean, defined illumination. If you need step deck lights for porches or to enhance string lights, lanterns, or candle lighting, the 12V JC Bi Pin equates to 20W under frosted glass and provides delicate yet effective spots where placed.

Low-voltage and LED outdoor lighting also increases curb appeal at night, whether you use it while entertaining or to show how a house for sale looks in the evening. With either 12V LED or up to 35V halogen bulbs, fiberglass underwater pond lighting keeps important areas highlighted while not adding much to the electrical expenses.

If you’re still not sure about how valuable these lighting options are, consider this: California residents must now use bulbs that emit at least 65% less energy than the watts they’re set out, which effectively puts an end to any remaining incandescents. It’s an additional step towards helping everyone reduce their electricity bills, and use safer, more eco-friendly lighting.

How do you ensure that you are being energy efficient while lighting your landscape? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

An Introduction to Different Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

An Introduction to Different Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

There are plenty of ways to decorate your yard and walkways with outdoor lighting fixtures that enhance the aesthetic appeal and increase safety. Learn more about the different styles and degrees of illumination so you can choose the right ones for your property.

LED and Low-Voltage Bulbs

First, determine which type of bulb you prefer for the landscaping section you’re adding light to. LED and low-voltage bulbs are popular choices for illuminating important elements of your outdoor spaces, with each featuring distinctive characteristics. Consider the differences:

LED: Light-emitting diodes are a specific type of low-voltage bulbs that are energy efficient. Although they are generally more expensive than other low-voltage selections, they last for over 50,000 hours and emit little heat. Common power options range from 3-9 watts (equal to 25W standard bulbs), which produce 12V of a warm white glow. There are also 3W Pin LEDs with 360° angling, that are equivalent to 15-20W halogens, and last approximately 30,000 hours.

Low-Voltage: MR16 halogens, typically in the 20-50W range, are another type of low-voltage bulbs. Although they have a shorter lifespan of approximately 2,000 hours, they also emit a warm white color through their UV filter. Alternatively, 36W and 50W PAR36 flood bulbs, which angle at 30°, last for about 3,000 hours, and are designed with fire-sealed technology.  Low-voltage options also include 10-50W JC Bi Pins that produce high-intensity light for about 2,000 hours and fit in mushroom and step style fixtures.

Appearance, Purpose, and Curb Appeal

It’s easier to select outdoor lighting fixtures when you know whether you’re placing them in a particular area for decorative emphasis, as a safety feature, or a bit of both. The styles you choose and how you arrange them also make your yard more inviting for company, complements neighborhood ambiance, and amplifies potential curb appeal. Picture how you can highlight:

Gardens: Directional lights elevate garden designs, set a mood for evening entertainment and relaxing in the yard, and cast a comfortable glow to follow while walking in the dark. Select brass or black powder-coated cast aluminum staked fixtures in hat, pagoda, and mushroom styles for a practical accessory that also looks great near your plants.

Walkways: The above-mentioned fixtures are also ideal for outlining front and backyard paths, steps, and driveways. They cast warm lighting in an umbrella effect that creates the right balance of being pleasing to the eyes and showing where to walk. For greater illumination, staked flood lights add a level of security to your yard at night, whether lounging outside, taking the dog out for a late walk, or simply, to keep your landscape well lit while you sleep. Along with directional bullet lights, they have heat-resistant, tempered glass, and efficiently create a defined line to follow.

Patios and Decks: If you prefer just a hint of illumination near sitting areas, step deck lights subtly blend into the landscape. Frosted glass inside a rust or antique brass frame project at 90° and can be set on the ground or attached to deck posts.

Pool/Pond: Underwater lighting is a lovely effect that adds visual depth to your pond, pool, or waterfall. The fiberglass spotlights swivel at 180° and create a striking effect when placed at the bottom of the structure. Inground well lights and LED well lights, with adjustable bulb holders also work nicely on land, along pool perimeters and rock formations. They can be used in conjunction with tiki torches and other lighting to help illuminate getting in and out of the pool.

How do you have your outdoor lighting arranged? Tell us in the comments section below!

Lighting Ideas to Make Your Yard More Inviting

outdoor lighting ideas

Just as the right lamp or light fixture can really bring a room together, the perfect visual effects in your yard can make quite the impression. Yards are another terrific way to express your personality and create an extension of the warm and welcoming atmosphere that your home brings. Consider the following outdoor lighting ideas to turn your space into its own miniature oasis.

Simple Elegance of String Lights

Outdoor lighting is all about setting the mood, and string lights are a lovely way to add that distinctive touch. Strategically hang them through and between trees, along fences, walls, and trellis and under canopies. In addition to complementing the yard’s theme, it’s easy to coordinate string light designs with the seasons, or with certain occasions or holidays. They also work well, when combined with other landscape lighting techniques, such as silhouetting and shadowing. Those methods focus on creating subtle plays on light, as their names suggest, and can produce an even greater enchanting element to a seating or dining area in the yard.

Mesmerizing Underwater Illumination

Take the calming, captivating feeling that water brings to the senses, and use underwater pond lighting to highlight its beauty. You can control the exact angles of emphasis with the light’s swivel bracket, and make a striking statement. These types of fixtures are also effective on land, when placed near statues, plants, or rock structures that outline the waters. Remember too, that these accents are terrific for curb appeal, should you ever decide to sell or rent out your home.

Path, Border, and Step Ambiance

One of the strongest resources for outdoor lighting ideas lies within the yard itself, and how it is shaped and designed. Create your own borders around natural and decorative formations, with low voltage lights in a variety of shapes and styles. Bullet landscape lights can be staked right into the ground to act as directional pathway illumination, often in between small hedges. For more of a resort-type ambiance, consider placing brass or rust-colored mushroom, hat, or tulip lighting along the front yard walkway, and along the outlines of where the gardens, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, or fire pit area. If you prefer something less ornamental but still powerful, consider powder coated, metallic looking LED step deck lights with frosted glass.

Use Outdoor Lighting to Bring Color and Creativity to Your Yard

Whether your outdoor lighting follows an overall theme, or only adorns certain pocket spaces, use it to evoke happiness, relaxation, and everything else that’s great about unwinding in the yard. Paint recycled cans and jars with bright colors or whimsical designs, put battery-powered candles in each, and either hang them or place on a planting shelf. Hang vintage looking lanterns from lampposts and shepherd hooks. To decorate parts of the yard where landscape lights aren’t possible, try:

  • Tree branch or hula-hoop chandeliers wrapped with electric lights
  • Trays with votive candles, shells, and sand
  • Birdbaths with tea lights
  • Stepping stones accented with glow in the dark paint

Make sure that all of the lighting is comfortable on the eyes, and have fun setting up a yard that you and your guests can always enjoy at night!

How will you be making your yard more inviting this season? Share your ideas in the comments section below!