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Business: Residential

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Building Toward an Energy-Smart Future

(528 words)

Incorporating energy efficiency into the design of a new home is a sound and healthy investment in the future.

In addition to the many energy-saving household appliances and heating devices now on the market, Canadian homebuilders can also choose from an array of advanced and sophisticated lighting products that meet every need, inside and out.

It costs between $200 and $250 in electricity to light an average Canadian home of 2000 square feet. By using only energy-efficient lighting systems with ENERGY STAR® qualified bulbs and matching fixtures, you can cut up to $150 from that annual expense. ENERGY STAR is an international symbol for energy efficiency that will help you quickly identify products that are the most energy efficient.

Energy-efficient lighting products can be found easily in local hardware or home improvement stores and independent retailers. Look for:

  • ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) for areas where lighting is needed for three or more hours a day

  • linear fluorescents, which are best suited for kitchens, laundry areas and family rooms

  • halogen infrared lamps, which can be used for recessed or track lighting

Asking architects and contractors to install energy-efficient lighting fixtures wherever possible is not only environmentally sound but also fashion-smart. Generating less heat than standard incandescent lighting, ENERGY STAR labelled products help to keep your house cooler in the summer, reducing the load on air conditioners. At the same time, they allow you to create a range of moods, from soft glows to crisp bright light for work areas.

Building Tips

  • Choose the right fixture for the intended purpose.

  • If installing a fixture for a compact fluorescent, opt for a fixture that takes a pin-based CFL.

  • Determine how much light is required in each room before you purchase direct-wire fixtures since light output is specific to each fixture. It helps to know in advance the number and wattage of bulbs needed to ensure you are using the right light for the right application.

  • Conceal linear fluorescents on top of kitchen cabinets for indirect lighting that uses 30 percent less energy than similar incandescents. Fluorescents and ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs can also be used in fixtures above the sink.

  • Install wall-mounted fixtures in bathrooms to house twin two-foot fluorescent tubes.

  • Install attractive valances on family room walls to direct the light from linear fluorescents above and below the fixture.

  • Choose dimmable ballasts for fluorescent and ENERGY STAR labelled CFL fixtures. Improved controls such as timers, motion detectors and dimmers improve the usefulness of light and reduce wasted energy.

  • Choose T8 bulbs with electronic ballasts when using linear fluorescent lamps. They are 25 percent more efficient than T12 lamps, saving you money in the long run. Electronic ballasts minimize the flicker and noise of older lighting systems with magnetic ballasts.

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 sites or ENERGY STAR's Web site, or write to Energy Publications, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, c/o S.J.D.S. Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L3.