Thanks in part to the green movement, energy efficiency has gone from being mostly associated with pollution reduction to also being known for its dramatic ability to reduce annual utility cost, making it a cost cutting measure that many companies now prefer to layoffs, cancellation of services, and outsourcing. But if you hope to achieve the biggest savings at the least cost, you shouldn’t just replace your building’s current technology with more efficient technology. You should target your building’s biggest problem areas first, hiring an energy consultant to perform an energy audit of your entire building. With the results in hand, the consultant can target solutions that most reduce your energy expense and meet additional project goals.
Energy Efficient Lighting Design is a Top Concern for Most Buildings
Because lighting technology tends to last for decades, many buildings are stuck in the past concerning lighting efficiency. Consequently, energy efficient lighting design is one of the most recommended efficiency measures for commercial buildings, especially considering interior lighting accounts for roughly 60% of a commercial building’s annual electrical expense. In most cases, the goal is to reduce annual lighting expense by at least 50%, a percentage that’s easily achievable when companies implement the right efficiency measures, which vary according to a building’s unique needs.
Four Conservation Strategies that Cut Annual Lighting Cost
The most well known measures in energy efficiency lighting projects are the replacement of old fluorescent ballasts with more efficient ballasts, and the replacement of incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps and/or high intensity discharge lamps. But conservation strategies can be just as important to reducing lighting expense as implementing efficient technology. Three conservation strategies that often attend the implementation of efficient lighting are as follows:
1. Improved Light Control
After implementing efficient lighting, many companies need help controlling its use. For example, a single switch might control multiple lights, and general lighting probably remains lit until someone turns it off, regardless or workspace occupancy or time of day. In response to these problems, light switches can be rewired to let switches control less lights, and general illumination can be connected to automatic controls that regulate light levels according to movement, work schedules, the presence of natural light, time of day, etc.
De-lamping involves the removing of unnecessary lamps, which can be many considering that efficient lighting often raises interior light levels by 30%. When de-lamping, all lamps are considered for possible removal, from exterior floodlights to small nightlights and lights within vending machines.
3. Improved Light Settings
Sometimes enhancing the presence of existing illumination solves the need for more lamps. To provide more lighting without implementing more lamps, energy consultants often recommend implementing special lenses to light fixtures to focus light, implementing reflectors that spread light, and painting walls a lighter color.