- Compact fluorescent bulbs use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.street lighting image by Heng kong Chen from Fotolia.com
There are many options to meet outdoor lighting needs on the smallest of budgets, but make sure the lighting you select meets your specific needs. Some bulbs cost more initially, but last longer and use less electricity. Others are less expensive to operate, but don't always provide enough light. Choosing the correct type of lighting can provide illumination and be energy efficient.
- Solar lighting is one of the most researched lighting technologies. This type of lighting has become common—especially in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day. Outdoor solar lighting consists of a solar panel, batteries, and a light bulb. Solar panels absorb light during the day and convert the light into electricity stored in batteries. When the user wants to use the light at night, they operate it just like a regular light bulb—making it free to maintain. A disadvantage is that sunlight is not always available to charge lights, so they can dim. They are also typically not as bright as low-voltage electrical lighting.
- Reflector lamps are also known as floodlights and spotlights. This type of incandescent lighting is often preferred because of its ability to disperse and reflect light over large areas. The lighting is also fairly inexpensive. Bulbs generally lasts 2,000 to 3,000 hours and offer an excellent color rendition, which contributes to the lighting's popularity.
Standard Incandescent Bulbs
- Standard incandescent bulbs—also known as “Type A Incandescent Bulbs”—have been the most popular type of lighting in the world since they were invented in 1820. They currently make up 85 percent of the world’s household lighting and are very popular as outdoor and porch lighting. Incandescent bulbs are considered the least energy efficient type of bulbs and only last from 1,000 to 2,500 hours. They are the cheapest type of bulbs to initially purchase.
Low-Pressure Sodium Lighting
- Used for large stadiums, arenas, and highway lighting—low-pressure sodium lighting is one of the cheapest types of lighting to operate due to its energy efficiency. Sodium lighting is 75 to 90 percent more efficient than a standard incandescent bulb; therefore, it utilizes much less electricity. They are generally only used for outdoor lighting that will stay on for several consecutive hours since low-pressure sodium lighting requires around 10 minutes to warm up prior to being able to discharge light.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
- An Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb uses 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The bulbs are typically more expensive to buy than standard incandescent bulb, but they pay for themselves in about six months.