Smart lights allow you to control your home’s lighting from your smartphone, even when you’re not at home.
They are also more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs, and you can control their brightness levels through an app.
But do LED smart bulbs actually consume less energy when dimmed?
Smart bulbs do use less energy when dimmed, but the power consumption won’t reduce proportionately to how much you reduce the brightness. You’ll also save more power when dimming light bulbs with a higher wattage than those that are already slightly dimmed.
In this article, I’ll discuss why smart bulbs use less energy when dimmed, how much energy you can save by dimming your light bulbs, and other ways to save power with your home’s lighting system.
How dimming a smart light bulb saves energy
Smart bulbs are often LED bulbs that convert most of the electrical energy to light energy and are more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.
Smart bulbs take energy saving to another level by allowing you to change the brightness levels as needed or even change the light’s color.
When you dim a smart bulb, the electrical input in the form of AC voltage will be reduced, and the light will use less power.
It’s almost the same as how a 50W bulb will use less electricity than a brighter 80W bulb.
As the electrical input is reduced, so is the heat energy it produces and this reduces the total amount of energy wasted.
Both smart bulbs and regular LED bulbs can be dimmed, although you’ll have to have a dimmer switch for regular LED bulbs, and smart bulbs can be controlled remotely.
What makes these bulbs really special is that you’ll hardly notice when you dim the light gradually.
For example, dimming a smart bulb by 50% is hardly noticeable, thanks to how your eyes perceive light logarithmically.
A study on dimming smart bulbs found that your eyes will perceive the light in the upper spectrum of the bulb’s output in the same way.
Which means you’ll hardly notice the difference between a bulb that’s dimmed to 80% and one that’s dimmed to 50%.
However, once the bulb is dimmed below 50%, your eyes will start to pick up the difference in brightness levels.
So, if you want to save energy with smart bulbs, use them at 50-60% output and only increase the brightness when you’re reading a book or studying.
How much energy you can save by dimming smart bulbs
While you’ll still save a lot of energy if you use dimmed smart bulbs, the actual cost of electricity that you’ll save is negligible since smart LED bulbs already use minimal electricity.
The actual amount of energy you’ll save depends on the type of light bulbs you’re using and how much you dim them.
The average LED light costs less than $2 a year to operate if you use it for around 5 hours daily.
Considering all the lights in your house, you’ll probably spend less than $50 on lighting costs yearly.
By dimming the lights, you can save between $20-$30. While this may not seem like much, it can be significant when viewed from the perspective of economies of scale.
If, for instance, 127 million households in the US save only $10 a year by dimming their smart lights, this translates to $1.27 billion for the entire country.
This translates to approximately 15 million kWh of energy that’s saved just by dimming smart bulbs.
To put that into perspective, the average household in the US uses 900 kWh a month.
So, the energy saved by smart dimming light bulbs can power over 16000 households for an entire month!
So, while it may not seem like you’re saving a lot on your energy bills by dimming your light bulbs, it makes a significant impact on a larger scale.
Continue reading: Do Smart Plugs Save Energy? 7 Ways To Cut Expenses
How to save on home lighting costs
If you’ve already installed smart bulbs and want to reduce your energy costs even further, you can improve your home design, set timers for your lights, reduce the lights’ brightness and install sensors that will switch the lights off automatically when there’s no one in the room.
Let’s look at these power-saving solutions in more detail:
#1: Install energy-efficient LED bulbs
While all LED bulbs are designed to save energy, some are more efficient than others.
Always look at your home design when choosing what type of LED bulb to use in a particular room.
Smaller rooms don’t need brighter lights, and you can install bulbs with lower wattage in these rooms.
By changing the type of LED bulbs you use, you’ll save more energy than by dimming the lights.
A 40W light will use energy at full brightness than an 80W bulb operating at 50% brightness.
#2: Improve your home design
Another great way to save on lighting costs is to improve your home design in a way that will take in more natural light.
This could include installing sunroofs and bigger windows or painting your house with brighter colors that reflect more light.
#3: Set light timers
If you always forget to switch off your light bulbs when you go out, you can set timers for them.
Smart light bulbs allow you to set timers for when the lights should turn on and off, allowing you to minimize the amount of wasted energy.
You can always turn off these timers from your smartphone when your schedule changes.
Smart LED bulbs are energy efficient and can save 75% more energy than incandescent bulbs.
However, dimming your bulbs can further reduce their energy consumption, helping you save on energy bills.
The best part is that you’ll hardly notice the difference in brightness when you dim the bulbs up to a certain threshold.
While it may seem like you’re saving minimal energy monthly by dimming your light bulbs, it can have a bigger impact if more people do it.
Also, improve your home design and practice other energy-saving habits to reduce your environmental impact.