Lighting Selection Guide

Lighting the way for you.

DTE Energy shines a light on the latest lighting efficiency technology.

Bulb Selection Tool

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Bulb Comparisons


Oh, the Choices .... CFLs, LEDs and Halogens

LEDs can be used in virtually any fixture – indoors or out – and are the most energy-efficient and long-lasting bulb out there. Although the initial cost is higher, its average 25-year lifespan and low energy use makes it the least expensive option over a course of 10 years. LED bulbs don’t need time to warm up, don’t produce excess heat, and are available in a variety of hues, sizes and styles.

To make sure you are receiving the best quality LED, look for the ENERGY STAR® label.

CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lighting
You may recognize CFLs for their spiral style and warm-up time, but they do come in other shapes and sizes. Some CFLs may need a few minutes to warm up, but once they get going they will burn bright, producing 90% less heat while delivering more light per watt. However, CFLs do not withstand constant on-and-off switching and actually last longer in areas that need to be lit for at least 15 minutes. This makes CFLs ideal for living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms, but not the best choice for a bathrooms or closets where you may experience frequent “burn-outs.”

CFLs are about 70% more efficient than traditional incandescents and can last up to 10 times longer.

Halogens have a less expensive initial price tag, but cost more to run and do not last as long as CFLs or LEDs. They are slightly more energy-efficient than traditional incandescents, but reach a much higher temperature. Because of the heat factor, they are best used in lighting fixtures that are farther from reach – like recessed, ambient and flood lighting.


Adding Dimmers and Motions Sensors

Occupancy and Sensors 
Occupancy sensors automatically turn off or dim the lights when you leave the room. They also turn back on when you come in – cue the lights!  Great for bathrooms or hallways, where you only need light for shorter periods of time.
Tip: Pair your occupancy sensors with a timer so you are not switching on your lights during the day when you don’t need them.

Motion Sensor
Motion sensors are usually used for outdoor lighting, typically for security lights. The lights flick on when they detect movement and turn back off when things get still.
Tip: Pairing your motion sensor security lights with a photocell will keep your lights from shining through the daylight.

There are two types of light timers: manual and programmable. Both allow you to set custom lighting hours to turn lights on and off, and set dimming controls. Manual timers plug into an outlet and can control a specific switch or light. Programmable timers are digital timers that allow you to adjust settings, sometimes even through a mobile application.

Photocell sensors are used outside and can detect when light is already available. Using a photocell sensor will prevent you from using a light when it isn’t necessary.

Dimmers lower light levels to help create ambiance.
Tip: For maximum efficiency, check the package of your dimmer for the recommended bulb. Different dimmers support different bulb styles.

Daylight Sensors
Daylight sensors detect the level of illumination from the sun and will adjust interior lighting accordingly. If it is very sunny, the lights are off. If it is partly cloudy, your lights are dimmed. This works great for rooms with a lot of natural lighting.


Choosing a Color Temperature

Incandescent bulbs were only be available in warm tones. Now with LEDs and CFLs, you can choose a variety of tones from cool blue to warm orange. Since these new bulbs last so long, we want to take the guesswork out of your shopping and help you find the right bulb the first time around. The color temperature is measured on a Kelvin scale. The higher the Kelvin number, the cooler the light.



Lumens vs. Watts

Before, we bought bulbs based on the amount of energy (watts) they consumed and not on the amount of light (lumens) it produced. Now, the lighting world is shaking that up.

Lumens tell you exactly how bright the bulb will be, while watts tell you how much energy it will consume to get that light. The higher the lumen, the brighter the light will be. The higher the wattage, the more energy it consumes.

Still confused? Look for the watts you generally chose when shopping for incandescents and we’ll tell you how many lumens to look for. For dimmer light, choose lower lumens. For brighter light, go with the higher numbers.