Skip to content



Saving energy with good lighting design - In the past, flipping a switch would flood a room with light, regardless of what you were going to do in the space. Today, good lighting design includes options for fixtures, controls, and bulbs - based on how the space will be used.


Lighting a typical Minnesota household accounts for about 10% of the energy needed to operate the home. There are many opportunities to affect that energy use, such as selecting efficient products and using them appropriately.

Types of lighting

Lighting falls under one of four general categories, based on the use of the space to be illuminated. Well-designed lighting incorporates components of all four types in many rooms within a home.

  • General. Used to provide a basic level of general illumination in a room, ambient lighting can range from a single ceiling fixture to dimmer-controlled wall sconces. Often overlooked, general lighting can establish a mood or complement other lighting options for a room.
  • Task. Designed to give focused and brighter lighting to work spaces, task lighting is used for food preparation, reading, or working on projects. Down lights, track lights, or lamps are common sources of task lighting.
  • Accent. Used to provide illumination for works of art or architectural features, accent lighting can include track lights, indirect lighting, or wall-wash lighting.
  • Decorative. With the focus primarily on the light fixture itself, decorative lighting includes chandeliers and lamps. Because the light provided is usually incidental, decorative lighting frequently is combined with other lighting styles to provide appropriate illumination.