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Creating "Green" Rooms With Outdoor Lighting

(398 words)

For most Canadians, outdoor lighting usually means a welcoming porch light or the security of a floodlit driveway.

Today, energy-efficient lighting products such as automated controls, sensors and a wide range of fluorescent bulbs and spotlights not only make it economically beneficial but environmentally sound to creatively illuminate your yards, balconies, patios and gardens – those outdoor "rooms" that everyone sees.

The cost of lighting the exterior of a typical house with two 60-watt porch lights and a pole-mounted fixture with a 75-watt incandescent bulb can climb to $60 a year if the lights are left on all night. Outdoor lighting retrofits that produce the same level of lighting cut annual costs in half.

Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • Replace standard incandescent bulbs with outdoor compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that last six to 10 times longer than standard bulbs and use two-thirds less energy while giving off the same amount of light. They're perfect for hard-to-reach fixtures, but make sure you purchase the ENERGY STAR® labelled CFLs manufactured for outdoor use.
  • Choose infrared or halogen parabolic aluminum reflector (PAR) spotlights for large areas, such as driveways or entranceways. Replacing 75- or 150-watt outdoor spot and floodlights with 40- or 90-watt PAR lights makes economic and energy-saving sense and are ideal for security lighting.
  • Enhance the effectiveness of security lighting with motion detectors on halogen bulbs that consume about 40 percent less electricity and last up to four times as long as incandescent bulbs. For maximum efficiency, buy sensors that aren't triggered during daylight, and adjust the sensitivity so animals don't turn them on.
  • Install timers on exterior lights and set them on a regular schedule. They're energy savers, as are photocells, which automatically switch lights off at daybreak.
  • Decorative surface-mounted linear fluorescent fixtures make garages less industrial looking.
  • Look for lighting products bearing the ENERGY STAR symbol – an international guarantee of maximum energy efficiency. They're sold at home improvement and hardware stores.
  • Harness the sun's natural energy with simple solar-powered lights for landscapes and paths.

For more information on the ENERGY STAR international symbol or tips on energy-efficient products, call Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) toll-free at 1 800 387-2000, or visit the OEE's Web site at or, or write to Energy Publications, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, c/o S.J.D.S. Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L3.