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Yes, the economy may be in a downturn, but think of the money-saving opportunities when times are lean. It’s during times of scarce energy and tight finances that people begin to look for ways to cut costs. The upshot of this not-so-positive time is that the American drive for financial savings results in more energy efficient living.

Consider vehicle sales. With each passing week, big vehicle sales decrease as more and more people look for fuel-efficient economy cars for their families. Hummer’s sunny days are numbered, especially amidst rumors of Ford selling it off or shutting it down altogether.

Likewise with energy-guzzling outdoor lighting. People are starting to see the wisdom of upgrading their energy-hogging incandescent bulbs with more efficient options.

Some companies are also eager to take advantage of energy-conscious business opportunities while the market is hot. Take Brian McKenna at Light Source Lighting in Plano. Instead of hunkering down and riding out financially challenging times with his one-shop business, he and his wife, Christina, decided to expand their company by opening a new location. Knowing how much energy is used by the average US family for lighting (22 percent of the total electricity bill!), homeowners, he says, are paying for more efficient fixtures and bulbs. There’s plenty of chance to enjoy business success.

Increasingly, people are reaching for CFL and LED bulbs in an effort to cut their overall electric bills, realizing that even with the high upfront costs, these energy-savers are well worth it. CFLs cost between $2 and $10 and can save the average consumer $50 over the lifetime of the bulb. LEDs result in even higher savings.

And given the long lives of these bulbs and the rising costs of energy, efficient bulbs have the potential to save even more than current estimates. Outdoor lighting, a necessity in city environments, presents excellent opportunities for energy and cash savings.