How to Conserve Energy with Your Garden Lights
It’s great to have a well-lit garden, but it shouldn’t become a burden on your electrical bill, or give you a feeling of ‘green’ guilt. Even for a simple lighting design there are easy ways to reduce your consumption of energy and to help the environment.
One of the best ways to conserve energy in your garden lighting is to simply eliminate it altogether through the use of solar lights. Powered entirely by sunlight, these lights charge during the day using solar cells, and then use that energy, usually for up to a ten hour period, during the night. Solar fixtures illuminate LED (light emitting diode) lights, which have a lifespan of around 100,000 hours. The solar lights have the added benefit of being easy to install – just a simple stake forced into the ground.
Perhaps solar lighting isn’t an option for your locale, or season, another option of lighting design is to use a low voltage lighting systems. As the name implies, these systems use less electricity, for safety and practicality, but as a positive consequence they use only 12 volts, which requires less energy. Because of the natural limitations of a such a low voltage, as compared to a 120 volt line system, the amount of lights that can be used is reduced, further conserving energy. A further advantage is such a system can be safely moved as there is no shock hazard allowing for an adaptable lighting system despite its small size.
Regardless of your lighting system, proper use or installation of lighting timers can reduce the time that lights are needlessly used. Relying on a switch can lead to forgetting to turn the system off during the day, wasting energy. Instead, use a timer for the system or on the outlets that control it. Make sure to adjust the timer as the seasons and as lengths of days change, otherwise the lights won’t be effectively used. Depending on the electrical layout of your garden lighting, consider using two timers – the first, for aesthetic lighting during the early night hours; the second, for security lights, which run throughout the night.
Finally, look over the types of bulbs used in your light fixtures. Replace incandescent bulbs, the old standard, with compact florescent light bulbs (CFL). These bulbs last longer and run more efficiently. These bulbs also run cool, a sign of an effective use of electricity, so they are easier to handle, and won’t burn anyone foolish enough to touch the bulb.
How to Install Garden Lighting
Ideas for Illuminating Your Garden