Did you know that lighting absorbs at least 20% of a facility’s energy costs? It is also considered the low hanging fruit of energy savings in a facility. Conserving lighting and using more efficient lighting technology can yield substantial energy and cost savings. Today, aside from basic strategies, there are a number of advanced methods to achieve cost and energy savings through lighting.
1. Turn lighting off when not in use
This one sounds obvious, but lighting can be turned off, either manually or automatically in rooms where it is not required all the time – such as copy areas, conference and restrooms. Billions of dollars are spent to light parking garages which has sparked a movement called Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP), a campaign to offer guidance on reducing parking lighting energy and expense. Lighting can be turned off when natural light is sufficient and occupancy sensors can help to regulate lights. Adjusting light levels at different times can also yield energy savings. Night time and during cleaning are periods where energy savings can be achieved by minimizing light output. Reducing the heat output from lighting can also reduce air conditioning costs.
2. Retrofit old lighting systems
Retrofitting options can vary from replacing entire lighting systems, to switching out fixtures and lamps. In a U.S. Department of Energy study, high performing LED troffers were found to be up to 44% more efficient than their fluorescent counterparts. It’s important when considering retrofits to compare the actual performance of the luminaire, not just the rated lumens, since LEDs can be highly efficient at focusing the lumens where they are needed. Aside from fixtures and lamps, switching to high efficiency instant and program start ballasts are also a good option for energy savings. Certain retrofits offer a faster return on investment, such as replacing exit signs with LEDs, replacing older T-12 fluorescent lamps with “super” T-8 lamps and high efficiency electronic ballasts. Another easy one is replacing incandescent lamps with CFL or LED lamps which use much less electricity and last more than 10 times longer.