With a rehab or remodeling project, whether it’s green or not, it is easy to spend insane amounts of money on decorative stuff – such as light fixtures.
I did some window shopping for Energy Star certified lights in the larger home improvement stores. It added up very quickly! I think I must have been three or four light fixtures in when I realized that this is not going to work with our 1st floor lighting budget.
This is where the salvaged materials option become really handy!
You see, it’s not only about doing “the right thing;” reducing waste, keeping materials out of the waste stream, repurposing stuff, you name it. It is also about hard, cold cash – plain and simple!
Because you can’t really plan for the purchase of salvaged and used lights (you never know what you’ll find when and where), I drew up a quick light fixture schedule. It reminded me of what lights I need where, and helped me to keep track of the purchases.
I tried Craigslist, but didn’t find anything fitting. My next stop was the ReBuilding Exchange. I went home with four nice ceiling lights perfect for our the kitchen at a total price tag of $40.00. Even better – these are Energy Star fixtures with the GX 24 base (a four pin base for CFL bulbs). In a store, I would have paid at least $40.00 for one light alone.
But we need a whole lot more fixtures. So one Saturday, we went from one ReStore in the Chicago area to the next, scouting for materials.
It was worthwhile the driving around. We came back home with 12 lights at a total cost of $125.00. That included a fancy pendant light for the dining room at only $25.00.
What I didn’t expect is that almost half of all lights purchased were Energy Star fixtures with either the GU 24 or the GX 24 pin base. The standard Edison screw base would have been OK – we will use CFL or LED bulbs no matter what. The nice thing with the GU 24 or GX 24 pin bases is that one cannot use incandescent bulbs – just in case someone goes crazy and wants to heat the rooms with incandescent bulbs!
We had no luck finding lights for the front door on our scavenger hunt. That said, we were looking for something pretty specialized: Nice looking, dark sky. affordable lights with motion and dusk-to-dawn sensors. I bought them new, in the store, for $120.00 – almost as much as I paid for the 12 used lights.
The ceiling fans for the library, living room, and two bedrooms are not something we will find in the used or salvaged market either. We decided for a super efficient Emerson model. But that is a story for another post.