Oh, Oh Those Summer Nights: Energy-Efficient Outdoor Lighting

Hopefully your lawn and garden are beginning to thrive as spring shifts into summer. Last month, we offered a handful of tips to limit water use and maintain your garden efficiently. We’re circling back to dive deeper into the topic of energy-efficient outdoor lighting.

Approximately 10% of your energy costs go towards lighting. A big chunk of that energy expense is used by outdoor lights since they’re often on longer than their indoor counterparts. That means it’s worth carefully considering which outdoor lighting products to use.

With a little bit of planning and investment in the right equipment, you can turn any outdoor space into a bright retreat for those warm, summer nights — without breaking the bank.

Outdoor Solar Lighting

If you’re a regular Power Moves reader, you’re probably already familiar with the benefits of solar power from our Co-op Solar program. Outdoor solar lighting systems use solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is then stored in batteries for use at night. Solar lights are great for pathway lights, wall-mounted lamps, freestanding lamp posts, and even security lights. These systems work well in most areas of the country, but it’s important to consider geographic variables. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommended hours of sunlight when selecting the location for your solar lights.


Offering 1o times the efficiency of incandescent lights, LEDs are a great outdoor lighting option. You can illuminate large areas with bulbs that have up to 180 individual LEDs encased in a diffuser lens to spread the light in a wide beam — or you can also install smaller LED garden lights with bulbs that come with fewer LEDs.

LEDs come in a wide range of color tints. To create a white color, diodes of different hues are combined into one light. Mixing the colors can give an LED light a different tint, so it’s easy for you to find the perfect color for your patio, deck, or pergola.

Light Sensors and Timers

If you don’t want to remember to turn on your landscape lights every night, consider installing a light sensor or timer. If the purpose of your outdoor lights is to help you navigate a path or scare away prowlers, then motion sensors are the perfect solution. These turn on automatically when they sense movement, and then turn back off automatically when no one is around.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to illuminate your outdoor space while keeping your energy consumption low. As always, it’s best to start by looking for the EnergyStar? logo while shopping for your next outdoor lighting solution. But whatever light fixture you choose, the important thing is to enjoy those beautiful summer nights this year!