Emily Long
fluorescent light bulbs

As a renter, there are many ways you can save money on your monthly bills. You can cut back on your cable or streaming services, negotiate your internet plan, turn off lights you aren’t using, or work with your landlord to negotiate a break on your monthly rent.

But if you want a fix-it-and-forget-it strategy that won’t require any change in your daily habits, consider installing energy efficient light bulbs in place of existing incandescents in your lamps and light fixtures.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 5% of a household’s energy budget is spent on lighting — and switching to energy saving bulbs is one of the fastest ways to cut both wasted energy and wasted dollars.

There are several kinds of bulbs to consider. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use about a quarter of the energy of traditional bulbs, and though they aren’t as cheap to purchase, they’ll pay for themselves in efficiency savings in less than nine months. Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, also use about 20-25% of the energy of incandescents and last 25 times longer. Replacing your five most-used bulbs with either of the above — if they are ENERGY STAR certified — can save an estimated $75 per year.

The other feature of these energy efficient bulbs is that many come in colored versions and are “smart,” so you can connect them to your smart home hub, set up routines for lights to switch on and off automatically when you come and go, attach them to motion sensors, or even fade them in and out in the morning and evening with the sun. Philips Hue is highly rated and well-known, but there are other systems on the market at varying price points.

Before you go out and buy new bulbs, check your lamps and overhead fixtures so you know what style to buy. You should also ensure that it isn’t against your landlord’s policy to make this change and that it won’t damage existing lights. And when you move out, don’t forget to take the  more expensive bulbs you purchased with you!


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About The Author

Based in Salt Lake City, Emily writes about money and personal finance, smart home tech and home automation, home safety and security, home improvement, green homes/sustainable living, health and wellness, and working from home. She regularly contributes to DailyWorth, KSL.com, TheOutbound.com, Modernize.com