Can lights or recessed ceiling lights are a common design feature in modern residential construction. They are also common in older custom-built homes. They provide a unique lighting pattern without the glare of a fixture, but they may also waste energy.
You have several options when replacing the bulbs (lamps) in can lights. Don’t use a common “A” type bulb; it will not direct light out of the fixture. Most of the light is just wasted inside the can.
Consider a spot or flood lamp that reflects and projects light out of the can, such as a parabolic aluminized reflector lamp (also called a PAR bulb). For a “green” step up, consider a parabolic lamp, which has a curved reflector that projects even more light out of the can into a smaller pattern.
For a choice that’s even more “green,” use a compact fluorescent spotlight or reflector lamp. These compact fluorescents save about 75 percent in energy costs and last much longer than incandescent bulbs. They also create less heat in the room – heat that must be removed with air conditioning in hot climates.
While light from fluorescent lamps may look a little different at first, their light color and quality have greatly improved in recent years. Look for “warm” color lamps or “color corrected” lamps for a more pleasant light.