Off Putting: The Problem with Efficiency

Do more efficient light bulbs always lead to decreased energy usage? This column from the Inquirer points out that, as people get excited about using energy-saving bulbs, they sometimes end up keeping lights on longer:

The funny thing - and yes, they laughed about this - was that once they made the switch, the residents were so delighted with the energy savings that they dispensed with the hassle of turning the lights off at dawn, then back on at dusk.

But the obvious rub is that electric usage didn't decline as much as it could have.

They left the porch lights lit round the clock.

It's an important lesson to learn: The fact that those LEDs or CFLs are saving you money on energy is no invitation to leave them running 24/7. It completely negates the point—you won't be saving nearly as much energy (or money) that way.