Great lighting design will support each of the many activities that occur in the kitchen. Your design should include both ambient and task lighting.
Maximize Daylighting Opportunities
Before developing your plan for artificial light, consider how windows and/or skylights might provide some or most of the ambient light you will need during the day.
Choose Energy-Efficient Ambient Lighting
For ambient lighting fluorescent tubes and bulbs are excellent choices. A 15-watt fluorescent bulb will emit as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb yet it will last ten times as long. Many improvements have been made in fluorescent light technology so these lights are now available in flattering hues (or color temperature as known by the trade). Fluorescent lights can result in significant energy savings.
Note: Another option for indirect, ambient lighting is LED lighting. LEDs produce as much light as incandescent lights but use 1/10 of the electricity of an incandescent bulb. The initial cost for LED lighting is higher but will save you energy and replacement bulb costs since they will last for 10 years or more.
Carefully Install Recessed Lighting
If installing recessed ambient lighting, make sure the lighting fixture is sealed air-tight and is insulation compatible. AT- IC designates that the recessed lighting has been designed for direct insulation contact. Recessed lighting that is not AT-IC can be a fire hazard. Air tight installation is important to prevent heat loss through the attic or even into soffits that may have air leaks to outside walls.
See Chapter 6, The Kitchen in the book Green Remodeling for more details.
Review Our Green Kitchen Remodel Best Practices
Install LED Task Lighting
For task lighting, such as under cabinet lights, LEDs are highly preferred over incandescent bulbs. LEDs are now available in a variety of hues and have been designed specifically to present users in a flattering light. There are many new and exciting options on the market.
Save Energy with Dimmers and Multiple Switches
You can purchase energy efficient dimmers. We also recommend that your wiring plan allow you to illuminate only those areas of the kitchen you are using.