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Energy-Efficient Lighting Strategies At Solar Decathlon

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

Upgrading our lighting is one of the most practical and easy ways to increase our home’s energy efficiency and save money on our utility bills. You will find many helpful articles and videos about lighting because it’s a place we can all start to make a positive difference. The following is from the Solar Decathlon blog:

Technology Spotlight: Energy-Efficient Lighting


The media area, dining room and hallway inside the house built by students from the West Virginia University to compete in Solar Decathlon 2013. | Photo Credit: Jason Flakes | U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) provide the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but use about 75% less energy. CFLs fit into common household fixtures and are available at most hardware stores. And although CFLs cost slightly more than incandescent bulbs, they save money over time by lasting 15 times longer than their less-efficient counterparts.


The living room and energy-efficient lighting inside the house built by students from the University of Texas El Paso and El Paso Community College to compete in Solar Decathlon 2013. | Photo Credit: Jason Flakes | U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.


Several U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon teams have incorporated cutting-edge energy-efficient lighting strategies in their competition houses. For example, in 2011, the University of Tennessee’s Living Light house incorporated color-changing LED strip lights along the facade. Because it used sensors to automatically manage the electric lighting, the house shone differently whether its occupants were winding down after a long day or enjoying a dinner party with friends. | Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offer proof that a lot of light can come in a small package. Typically less than 10 watts, LED lights are becoming more common in desk lamps and under-cabinet applications. This ultra-efficient technology is more expensive than both incandescent and CFL bulbs. However, LEDs can last 50 times longer than incandescent lights and have the potential to change the future of lighting.

Learn more about efficient lighting solutions used by past Solar Decathlon teams in the 2009 product directory and the 2011 technical resources. Homeowners can also learn about local and state financial assistance available for energy-efficient purchases and improvements in the form of tax credits, rebates, and energy-efficient financing at the Energy Savers website.

The Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO are both taking place in Irvine, California through Sunday, October 13.

It’s FREE! Public hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily:

  • Thursday, October 10 – Sunday, October 13, 2013
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Written By

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,


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