Many of us want to increase the value of our property by adding beautiful lighting designs. We also want to be safe. But as this author points out, a floodlight with two 150-watt conventional bulbs can add $100 to the electricity bill every year, and in hard economic times like these, none of us needs to be wasting money like that. Smart designs are more efficient, easier on the pocketbook, and better for the environment, too.

Here’s some great advice on what to look for in well-designed outdoor lighting—:


  • Choose motion-sensitive lighting: Instead of opting for security lighting that will stay all on night, choose lights that have motion sensitive switches. These lights will not be on when an intruder first arrives, ensuring that they don’t know the lights are there. This is important since would-be thieves can find ways to evade always-on lighting. Lights that surprise them are harder to predict and may scare intruders away simply by catching them off guard.
  • Choose dark sky compliant lights: Don’t waste light (and valuable electricity) by using fixtures that allow light to shine in all directions. Light that is properly focused and aimed will use less electricity and provide more consistent exposure, which reduces glare and shadows.
  • Choose CFLs: When you require lighting to remain on all of the time, look for fixtures and bulbs that use electricity sparingly. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) are great options for indoors, and in some cases can be used outdoors, too. Just watch for two things when using CFLs for security lighting: 1) CFL life expectancy can be shortened if they are turned on and off for many short periods of time. They are therefore not ideal for motion-sensor fixtures. 2) CFL life expectancy can also be shortened in colder temperatures. Some bulbs are made for lower climes, so look for these to ensure they last as long as possible.
  • Choose LEDs: Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can also be used effectively in outdoor lighting. Many security lights come with LED bulbs, solar panels, and motions sensors, making them virtually free to operate. Plus they require little installation. But they do cast very focused light, so are best suited for applications where light is required in specific, smaller areas.
  • Choose low-pressure sodium fixtures: These bulbs are even more efficient than many other options on the market and are great for certain outdoor applications. They do give off a monochromatic yellow light and take awhile to come to full brightness, but if you’re looking for maximum energy savings, these are the way to go.