A good designer is always trying to create a lighting scheme that will ensure the correct and sufficient illumination of all the rooms of a house and consume as low electric power as possible. This is usually a tricky mission seeing that the lighting must also complement the overall theme of the house and be aesthetically attractive.
To create the most energy efficient kitchen lighting, you should first of all think about the design of the whole room. Here are some design basics to consider:
- Choose the most energy saving light bulb. Yet ensure that it is suitable for a particular place and purpose.
- Create a plan of different light sources in your kitchen. Try to place lights so that unnecessary lamps can be switched off without having a negative effect on the indispensable light for various situations. For example, you normally don't need to switch on the overhead light to make a quick cup of tea, some small task light will usually be enough.
- Plan the lighting scheme so that it will be easy and convenient to switch off any unnecessary source of light. For example, you can place some switches onto kitchen backsplash over the countertop to control different task lights easily.
- To make a kitchen visually attractive while keeping in mind energy saving task, try to get the maximum from layered lighting. This term means that different layers of lighting are used in one room, such as task, ambient and accent lighting. Of course for maximum effectiveness different light sources should have separate switches.
Here are some easy steps to make your kitchen more energy efficient and eco-friendly:
If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, it's time to replace them with more efficient alternatives. Nowadays incandescent bulbs are the worst option in terms of energy saving. These bulbs waste about 90% of electric energy to produce the unwanted heat. These lights were the only source of electric lights for more than a hundred years, they are cheap and popular, but now it's time to say goodbye to such an unthinking waste of natural resources (and, in the end, your money). Although some new models are more energy efficient, they still cannot compare to the modern types of lighting such as CFLs and LED lights. Compact fluorescent lamps (or CFLs) consume 70% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, while light emitting diode lamps (LEDs) need 90% less energy than incandescent lights! Also CFLs last 20 times longer, and LED lights hundreds of times longer than incandescent bulbs. Although these types of bulbs are more expensive, they will pay you off in future, as they don't need to be replaced as often and can significantly reduce your electricity bills. You can simply replace your existing incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED alternatives and start saving energy and money, or, if you are building a new house or remodeling the old one, install LED recessed lights into the ceiling. In this way you'll get a wonderful energy efficient overhead lighting without any aesthetical issues.
The right lighting scheme will always feature the proper lighting control. This means that you can freely switch on and off any source of light and direct the light to the needed area without let or hindrance. So pay close attention to the places of switches, and try to install some lamps or light fixtures with adjustable heads. Different track lighting systems are good for this purpose. Install separate on/off switches for the lights that illuminate different work areas. Kitchen island, kitchen cabinets, sink, countertop, stove, extractor hood can all be connected to different circuits and thus have separate switches.
Use dimmer switches to cut down the light flow when there's no need in bright light in kitchen. Actually such cases are quite frequent, we rarely need the full illumination for our daily routine. Remember that while incandescent and LED bulbs have no restrictions, not all CFLs can be dimmed. The old CFL bulbs were not dimmable, and even up-to-date models don't always support this feature. Still, you can find such models on the market if you try, but remember that they are more expensive than common CFLs.
Another clever idea is to install motion-sensitive light controls. If you or your family members often forget to switch off the lights when coming in and out of the kitchen, then this high-tech solution will surely save some energy and money for you. These sensors are not pricey and can be bought in local hardware stores or online.