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Green Rookie: Chic, Energy-Efficient Lighting Options

10/1/2009 4:43:14 PM

Tags: green decor, green rookie, energy efficient lighting, CFLs, LEDs, lighting options, light bulbs, light fixtures, Energy Star

As a kid, I was an avid bookworm—and more than once I was warned by concerned adults that reading in dim light would damage my eyes. The old maxim about reading in good light may be a bit of hooey, but there are plenty of reasons to have quality lighting throughout the house. 

With the right light, your rooms will appear bright, warm, and welcoming—day or night. Although your eyes might survive reading in dim light, the right illumination does make life easier.

The first step in reducing the environmental footprint of your lighting options is to choose the right bulb.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are widely available, energy-efficient and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit the many fixtures found in your home. Although a bit pricier, LEDs are worth considering too—they’re four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last much longer than CFLs. Learn about the pros and cons of different bulb options.

Replacing bulbs in your current fixtures is a great first step, but let’s be honest: Sometimes what a room really needs is a brand-new fixture. When you begin your search for the ultimate light, keep your eye peeled for these great green features:

The Energy Star logo

Fixtures bearing the Energy Star logo on their packaging meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy. Best of all, you aren’t limited to a ho-hum assortment of standard lights. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these terrific examples of Energy Star light fixtures. Whether you’re looking for a funky sconce or a sleek pendant, odds are you can find one bearing the Energy Star logo.

Natural materials

It should come as no surprise that the production of the materials used to create light fixtures can be resource-intensive. Fixtures with components made from natural materials—think a low-formaldehyde bamboo shade or a stone base—are a great option. Or look for fixtures like the created by MetaForm Studio, which are hand-crafted from Forest Stewardship Council-certified woods and coated with low-VOC finishes and adhesives.

Meta Form Studio star light
This handcrafted light fixture from MetaForm Studio was made with Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and low-VOC finish. Photo Courtesy MetaForm Studio.

Recycled or reused materials

Recycled or reused options abound. Eleek makes pendants, chandeliers, vanity lighting, lamps and more from recycled aluminum, bronze and steel. Fire & Water specializes in funky fixtures from recycled glass, plastic, paper, metal, wood—and even recycled glass pebbles and bicycle wheels.

You can even find pendants made from stoplights or wine bottles.

Eleek lantern
The new lantern pendant from Eleek is constructed from recycled metal and is made specifically for use with energy-efficienty LED lights. Photo Courtesy of Eleek.

Locally made lighting

Check around in your area to see if anyone makes light fixtures locally. You might be able to score a beautiful, hand-carved lamp base from a local woodworker or a striking, handmade paper shade from an artist in your area.

For more illuminating lighting ideas, check back soon—in my next post, I’m going to share some of the inspiring DIY lighting ideas I’ve come across recently!

Editor's Note: Natural Home does not recommend, approve or endorse the products/services offered by companies guest bloggers review online. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase. 

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