Energy Efficient Lighting Options for Bathrooms

Bathroom Remodel
Written by: Emily Simmons
October 27, 2023

Bathroom lighting plays a crucial role in creating an inviting and functional space, but it’s also an area where homeowners can make significant strides in energy efficiency. Energy efficient lighting options for bathrooms when renovating your home are one aspect to look into if you wish to go the sustainable route. 

Whether you’re a homeowner aiming to upgrade your current fixtures or a contractor seeking the latest energy-efficient solutions, this guide will offer valuable insights and practical tips. Read on for a better guide that will leave you with informed decisions that reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. 

Understanding Energy Efficiency in Bathroom Lighting

In the age of environmental consciousness, energy efficiency is crucial in home renovations, notably bathroom lighting. Beyond low-flow fixtures, it involves choosing lights that use less energy, last longer and illuminate effectively. This section highlights the importance of efficient bathroom lighting and its impact on energy use, costs, and the environment.

Importance and Impact of Energy Efficiency

In the face of global environmental challenges and escalating utility costs, integrating energy-efficient lighting into your bathroom renovation is a practical and eco-friendly choice. This decision carries a multitude of benefits:

  • Decreased Electrical Consumption: Energy-efficient lights, such as LEDs, can use up to 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. This makes them an ideal option for fixtures that are frequently in use.

  • Cost Efficiency: While the initial cost of energy-efficient bulbs may be higher, their extended lifespan reduces the frequency of replacements, lowering maintenance costs over time. Additionally, their lower energy usage translates to reduced utility bills.

  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Lower energy usage equates to a smaller carbon footprint. Considering that lighting contributes to approximately 5% of global CO2 emissions, switching to energy-efficient bulbs can significantly help reduce this percentage.

  • Minimal Heat Emission: Traditional incandescent and halogen lights can produce substantial heat, making bathrooms uncomfortably warm and requiring additional energy for cooling. In contrast, energy-efficient alternatives emit less heat, creating a more comfortable bathroom temperature.

  • Enhanced Lighting Quality: Modern energy-efficient lighting options offer a range of color temperatures and light levels, providing a quality of lighting that rivals traditional incandescent lighting.

By investing in energy-efficient lighting for your bathroom renovation, you’re not only saving money in the long term but also contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future. This choice has a profound effect on both your finances and the broader environment.

Types of Energy Efficient Bathroom Lighting

In the quest for a bathroom remodel that marries style and sustainability, the choice of lighting plays a pivotal role. The modern lighting market offers many energy-efficient options that reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to significant energy savings. 

LED Lighting

LEDs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting, consuming up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs and offering a lifespan of 25 times longer. Their versatility in color temperatures and brightness suits any bathroom style, and their low heat output prevents moisture issues, contributing to durability. LEDs’ efficiency, longevity, and robustness make them ideal for any bathroom lighting need.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

CFLs are a notable energy-efficient lighting option, consuming less power than conventional bulbs but less efficient than LEDs. They provide a range of tones and brightness, though they’re not typically dimmable and require a short warm-up period. CFLs contain mercury, necessitating careful disposal, but remain a cost-effective, versatile option despite a shorter lifespan than LEDs.

Halogen Incandescent Bulbs

Halogen incandescent bulbs improve upon traditional ones, using 25-30% less energy, and last three times longer, though they can’t compete with LEDs or CFLs in efficiency or lifespan. 

They emit bright, natural-like light, perfect for color-sensitive tasks, but generate more heat. Their dimmability and lower upfront cost present a flexible, economical choice for energy-efficient bathroom lighting.

Choosing and Installing Energy Efficient Lighting

Embarking on selecting and setting up energy-efficient lighting for your bathroom renovation may seem daunting, but the rewards are well worth the effort. The right lighting can dramatically reduce energy usage, significantly saving utility bills. 

Furthermore, strategically placing lights and selecting the appropriate bulb type can enhance your bathroom’s functionality and aesthetic appeal, creating a pleasing ambiance. 

Understanding Lumens, Watts, and Color Temperature

Comprehending key terms like lumens, watts, and color temperature is essential for energy-efficient bathroom lighting. Lumens measure bulb brightness, which is crucial for tasks or ambient lighting. Watts indicate electricity used, with energy-saving bulbs like LEDs and CFLs providing more light at lower wattage. 

Color temperature, in Kelvins, affects light’s warmth or coolness, influencing atmosphere and functionality. Lower Kelvins yield a warm glow, while higher ones produce daylight-like brightness, ideal for bathrooms. Knowledge of these aspects ensures optimal ambiance and energy efficiency.

Lighting Placement and Installation Tips

The strategic placement and proper installation of your bathroom lighting can significantly enhance the performance of your energy-efficient bulbs. Here are some insightful tips to guide you:

  • Embrace the Layered Lighting Concept: A single light source is often insufficient for a bathroom. A layered approach incorporating ambient, task, and accent lights can provide a more comprehensive solution. Ambient lighting offers general illumination, task lighting focuses on specific areas like the vanity or shower, and accent lighting can spotlight unique features of your bathroom.

  • Optimizing the Vanity Area: Side-mounted sconces can provide balanced light across your face, minimizing shadows. They should ideally be positioned 65 to 70 inches from the floor and spaced at least 28 inches apart. If this isn’t possible, a light bar or a pair of pendants can serve as alternatives.

  • Shower Lighting: Your shower area requires sufficient light for tasks such as cleaning or shaving. Wet location-rated recessed lighting fixtures are often the best choice for this area.

  • Consider Dimmers: Dimmers allow you to adjust your lighting’s brightness to suit the time of day or your mood. They also contribute to energy conservation by reducing light output.

  • Energy-Efficient Ventilation: An exhaust fan with integrated lighting can help manage excess humidity and odors in your bathroom while providing additional light.

  • Professional Installation: While some lighting installations can be a DIY project, complex setups often require a professional’s touch. This is particularly true for bathrooms where safety codes dictate specific fixture types and placements.

Remember, effective bathroom lighting is more than just the fixtures; it’s also about their location, direction, and intensity. Feel free to try different options to find what works best for your space.

Cost Considerations for Energy-Efficient Bathroom Lights

Transitioning to energy-efficient lighting in your bathroom is a smart long-term decision, but knowing the associated costs is essential. The upfront costs of purchasing and installing energy-efficient lights can be higher than traditional lighting. However, the long-term savings from reduced energy costs and extended bulb lifespans often offset these initial expenses. 

Overall Cost Factors

When it comes to the total expense of implementing energy-efficient lighting in your bathroom, there are several key elements to consider.

  • Pricing of Energy-Efficient Bulbs: Initially, you might find that energy-efficient bulbs, especially LEDs, have a steeper price tag compared to conventional incandescent bulbs. However, as technology advances, this price gap is steadily decreasing. It’s important to factor in the extended lifespan and significant energy savings these bulbs offer, which can offset the initial cost.

  • Electricity Usage: One of the main advantages of energy-efficient bulbs is their lower power consumption, which translates into reduced utility bills. Over the bulb’s lifetime, these savings can add up to a substantial amount.

  • Longevity: Energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs and CFLs outlast traditional bulbs by a wide margin, often lasting for several years, even with daily use. This longevity enhances their cost-effectiveness, as the need for replacements is less frequent.

  • Cost of Professional Installation: Depending on the complexity of your lighting setup, you might need to hire a professional. This can add to your overall costs, but choosing a certified electrician is crucial to ensure safety and quality.

  • Extra Features: Lights with dimmers or unique fixtures may incur a higher initial cost. Moreover, incorporating smart lighting technology can increase expenses and provide added benefits, such as the ability to control lights remotely or set automated schedules.

  • Maintenance Expenses: Energy-efficient bulbs require less maintenance due to their longer lifespan. This saves money and minimizes the hassle of frequent bulb changes, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.

When you’re contemplating a switch to energy-efficient lighting for your bathroom, it’s crucial to view these costs as an investment. The payoff, both in terms of financial savings and environmental impact, is substantial over time.


Choosing energy-efficient lighting for bathrooms, such as LEDs or CFLs, reduces energy consumption, costs, and environmental impact. Understanding lumens, watts, and color temperature is key to achieving the perfect balance of functionality, ambiance, and efficiency in your bathroom space.

Explore handicapped bathroom designs when building a home for your loved ones with special needs. Learn more from our blogs at Bathroom Ready.

Bathroom Remodeling & Installation

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