AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: Switching from standard lightbulbs to LEDs can result in efficiency savings of up to 90% specifically in home lighting, which makes up 10-15% of total home energy use, and not a 90% overall savings in home energy efficiency.
As the sun sets an hour earlier due to daylight saving time ending, Austinites will have to flip their lights on an hour longer.
While that time may not seem like a big difference in an energy bill, over the course of the winter, experts say there are ways to save energy and money.
Lighting is typically the third to fourth largest energy cost in a home, behind HVAC use and water heating, with about 10-15% of energy use going towards it.
"You can reduce your lighting load by about 90% by shifting to energy efficient lighting, and it is a really easy calculation because it really pays for itself quickly," said Seth Little, director of residential practice at CLEAResult.
Little explained that a majority of homes still use incandescent lights, even though LED lights use 90% less energy.
As the holidays near, Little said paying attention to exterior lighting is just as important. Consider light sensors or timers that limit use to when people are awake.
According to EnergyStar, an LED bulb will last 15 times longer and save about $55 in electricity costs over its lifetime. LED lights also emit significantly less heat than a typical bulb, making holiday decorations safer, especially on the Christmas tree.
Another option to save energy during the winter months is through insulation, and in some cities there are programs available to incentivize this.
Austin Energy has a program that provides a rebate to customers who have a contractor come to the home and add insulation.
"This also does a lot for comfort and it actually even has an impact when it comes to grid resiliency as well," Little said in regards to February's winter storms. "Your home is a part of the grid as well, and essentially, anything that you do to help increase the efficiency of your home also helps the grid."
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