Although lighting accounts for only 3.3% of the energy use in homes, it often accounts for a large fraction of the electricity bill. You can cut your electricity use significantly by installing energy efficient lights, fixtures, and controls.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs can replace the incandescent light bulbs in most light fixtures in your home, and they are now widely available. Compact fluorescent lights use one-fourth the amount of electricity that incandescent lamps use, and they last seven times longer. Because they use less electricity, compact fluorescents also reduce carbon emissions, which is good for the environment.
Torchieres are a fashionable and inexpensive means of lighting a home, but they are large energy wasters. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a torchiere that uses compact fluorescent light bulbs to significantly cut energy use. These are now commercially available.
For outdoor lighting, consider combining energy efficient light bulbs with motion sensors that only turn on the lights when people are present. This approach provides convenience and security while greatly reducing energy use.
When choosing any kind of lighting fixture, whether indoor or outdoor, look for the ENERGY STAR® label.