One of the simplest ways to save on electricity costs is to use a photocell, according to Rey- Barreau. “When it becomes dark or daylight, the photocell automatically turns the lights on and off,” he says. Photocells can be used either for complete outdoor lighting systems or for single fixtures, such as by the back door.
“Another common type of control is a timer that turns the lights on and off at specific times,” Rey- Barreau says. “It’s particularly useful to have both a photocell and a timer. With that combination, the timer is set to turn the lights on in the late afternoon, but the photocell will override the timer if there is enough daylight available.” Wiedemer suggests low-voltage halogen lighting as a lessexpensive alternative to a typical incandescent line-voltage system. “Low-voltage halogen operates very efficiently, and the amount of light (lumen output per watt) is much greater than with incandescent bulb equivalents,” he explains.
An even more efficient light source – and what Wiedemer refers to as “a true ‘green’ solution” – is LED. This developing lighting technology provides equivalent light output to that of halogen or incandescent, but at considerable energy savings of up to 75 percent less. Wiedemer estimates the average lifespan of a well-made LED light source to exceed 40,000 hours or more than 12 years of average nightly use. If you install timers with the transformers to turn the system off during late night hours, you will not only cut down even further on energy costs, but will also increase the lifespan of the bulbs.