How to choose energy efficient lighting

energy-efficient-lightingHave a good look at your workplace. Try to identify all the electricity using devices – computers, printers, telephones, fax machines, air conditioning units, lights.

Yes there are many things that consume electricity in a typical workplace.

Here’s the thing though, lights tend to be the biggest consumer, followed closely by AC units and IT equipment.

In a typical workplace, approximately 30% of an electricity bill is spent on lighting the space.

Reducing the amount of light consumption can save lots of money and help reduce your organisations carbon footprint.

In this article we explain the three ways in which one can reduce the amount of energy consumed from lighting.

Energy Efficient Lighting – 3 Ways to Reduce Light Consumption

No.1 Reduce the number of lights 

Most workplaces are grossly over lit. This is usually as a result of lighting fitters over specifying requirements or more sinister, selling more lights to increase their profits from a fit-out.


A typical workplace needs good quality light (warm, not too white) that has a luminance output of approx. 600 lux. I challenge you to get a lux meter (they are super cheap) and test your light output – it is likely in the 1000s.

To solve this problem you can quite simply delamp (remove lights) from areas that are over lit.

If you removed fifty 36W fluorescent lamps from an office, the saving would be equivalent to 2.5 tonnes of CO2e (i.e. the equivalent of removing an average sized car from the road for a year)

No.2 Reduce the amount of lights that are left on

Typically lights in a workplace are left on in empty rooms / meeting rooms and out of office hours.

Installing light sensors (Passive Infra-red, movement, audio or luminance sensors) or running a switch off campaign can dramatically reduce the amount of time that lights are left on in unused spaces.

Here are a couple of cheap light sensors you can pick up from Amazon to test effectiveness.

No.3 Switching lighting technologies to more efficient alternatives

Nowadays there are many energy efficient lighting alternatives that provide suitable light output for a fraction of the consumption.

Do me a favour – next time you turn on an incandescent light or halogen lamp, put your hand near the light and feel the heat. It will be scorching hot.

Why?

Because 90% of the energy used to produce the light is in fact converted to heat. This is highly inefficient – using energy to create light that in fact creates heat.

Good energy efficient alternatives include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which can replace incandescents, and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) which can replace halogens.

LED lamps are still a relatively nascent technology however, there are a number of good products that one can now pick up at local DIY stores that last much longer than older technologies and provide a decent light output. Here is a detailed article on the benefits of LED Lights.

My recommendation is to test a few bulbs for suitability before investing. Here are some affordable LED lights that you can use to test suitability. make sure that the ballast is correct before purchasing (GU10 is standard for ceiling spots).

A good guideline for CFLs are:

Standard bulb CFLs
40W 10W
60W 15-18W
100W 20-25W
150W 32W

If you have a heavily lit workplace it is really worth spending time and effort to get your lighting requirements right.

Further reading recommendations:

With environmental concerns a top issue for consumers everywhere, the green market is the next big boom industry for entrepreneurs looking to make money-and make a difference.
Green Businesses: You Can Start to Make Money and Make A Difference

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Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

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