For Outdoor Lighting consider: Garden Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting, and Solar Garden Lights.
Add security and increase the enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces and paths with accent lighting. Solar light stay on all night for security and you do not need an electrician, since the lights run on a photocell and turn on automatically each night. The lights have minimal maintenance, and new technology offers more powerful batteries and brighter light. There are several options for bright spot lights to illuminate trees, but solar path lights typically give off about the equivalent in ‘lumens’ of a 60 watt bulb, and they typically run for about 11 hours each night. The cost of solar lights is about $10 - $40 each plus about $2.50 per battery with a life of 5 years. vs. traditional lights at about $15 each. So, you pay more, but at an offset cost per kWh of $0.98, the savings over time is significant.
For illuminating the exterior of major residence, you can consider moving into the ‘commercial’ grade options. Metal halides are typically the top choice and preferred because of their “white” lighting, and metal halides are currently the most energy efficient of the "white light" sources. They produce light when an electric current flows through the gas within the lamp envelop, and they are about twice as efficient as mercury lamps. Use this light source at night when it is necessary to render colors closely to what they would appear in the daytime. As with all light sources, one should not use more wattage than is necessary for the application. A standard 175 watt metal halide bulb costs on average $25 and has a lifetime of 10,000 hours with an average annual operating cost of $84. The annual operating cost assumes a full dusk to dawn run time of 11 hours totaling 4,000 hours/yr. at $0.10 per kWh. By comparison a mercury-vapor lamp costs $144 to operate per year, and an incandescent style bulb costs even more to operate since so much of the energy is dissipated in heat instead of light. Incandescent also have an average life of about 1,000 hours vs. the 10,000 for the recommended metal halide. The ballasts for a 175 watt metal halide light costs about $60 each, but the added upfront cost pays for itself within the first two years. Each bulb lasts about 2 1/2 years running daily dusk to dawn.
The right home improvement products, techniques, and services:
Contractors, home improvement stores, and specialty shops in your area may not yet have a complete familiarity with the ‘green’ opportunities, products, system integration, and overall savings potential. So, you may get some resistance, since people in general are typically more comfortable recommending something that they are already familiar with rather than something new. To help break the inertia, use the information across this website like our Return on Investment Master ROI Table. Also feel free to post a question in our forum on the message board about a particular need for your home relative to your area. Our team has spent multiple years aggregating research from public and private sector performance reports and from manufacturers and homeowners across the country in order to provide you with the perspective you may need to see the initial payback and long term advantages. Environmental enthusiasts and leading institutions like the American Institute of Architects and the National Association of Realtors, see the value and link into our resources to support their members.
The Green Home:
For your overall home improvement, you can save money, improve your family’s health, and save the planet. Find out for free how much it will cost to do different types of home improvement in your home from a qualified and member approved contractor in your area. Get a FREE Quote . Plus, regardless of the size and scope of your home improvement project, save money and keep your home clean with the top rated chemical free and concentrated Green Home Cleaning Products.
Home Improvement Basics:
When it comes to home improvement basics, look for interior home improvements like creating a clean, safe, and healthy home through sustainable ‘green’ furniture, home décor, zero VOC and Interior Paint, plus ENERGY STAR Appliances and Electronics. For energy and utility savings you can focus on insulation and air sealing, windows, doors, lighting and skylights, water saving plumbing opportunities, and high efficiency heating and air conditioning systems. On the outside of your house, look for exterior home improvement opportunities through landscape design and gardening plus solar energy, wind and other power sources. If you are undertaking a major home renovation, an additions, or building a new home, then take the lead to ‘go green’ in as many ways as possible to save money and the environment.