Because lighting is often your business’s highest electricity cost, it is also your greatest opportunity for savings. Reducing your lighting usage also reduces its heat output, which in turn reduces your air conditioning costs.
Post reminders next to light switches as a reminder to turn off lights when not in use, particularly in unoccupied rooms or where there is good natural light. Remember to turn off signage and other lights that aren’t needed for security and safety.
Download the Lighting tips for businesses (PDF 135.1 kb).
Use natural light
- Daylight is naturally the best light source, as it’s free and can also increase employees’ wellbeing and productivity. By making the most of the available natural light, you can both save electricity and create a more comfortable, healthy work environment
- Lay out your workspace to make the most of natural lighting from windows and skylights. You could also use features such as light shelves that help capture natural light and bounce it off ceilings
- Install blinds to reduce heat and glare and aim natural light where it’s needed
- Reflect more light into the workspace by painting walls and ceilings in light colours and using reflective sheens on the ceiling.
- Direct lighting can illuminate specific areas more efficiently, instead of ceiling fixtures that light entire rooms. Use task lamps and desk lamps to give employees control over their lighting, while reducing electricity usage
- Lamps and switches that give employees control of their light are fairly inexpensive, and with their substantial electricity savings can quickly recoup the cost of installation
- Adjustable lighting enables your employees to select the lighting they need for the different tasks that they perform.
Energy efficient lighting
- Consider removing unneeded lighting from areas with excess lighting levels, such as near windows, in hallways and in areas with no furniture
- Replace incandescent globes with energy efficient alternatives that can use as little as 10% of the electricity of an incandescent, while lasting as much as ten times longer
- Because illuminated exit signs are constantly on, they are an ideal target for an energy efficiency upgrade. And because they’re often in hard-to-reach places, replacing incandescent bulbs with longer-life alternatives helps make maintenance easier
- Light reflectors can be a good alternative to fluorescent lights. Aluminium or silver reflectors in overhead light fixtures need just half the number of lights to maintain the same brightness. And with fewer lights giving off less heat, this will lower your air conditioning running costs too
- Replace your out-dated fluorescent tube lights with newer, more efficient models with electronic ballasts or LED fluorescent lights
- Because the light output of a fluorescent light decreases as it ages, while using the same amount of electricity, consider replacing all the lights in an area at the same time, near the end of their useful life
- Lighting systems that are more than 10 to 15 years old are ideal candidates for upgrading to a more energy efficient lighting model
- For the best performance, remove dust from lights every 6-12 months, as this can reduce light output by up to 30%. Check for surface dents, scratches and burns that can lead to rust formation, which affects performance and decreases lighting longevity.
Dimmers, sensors, timers and photocells
- Install an energy management system (EMS) to automatically control the switching on and dimming of lights depending on occupancy, daylight levels and your employees’ comfort
- Install controls such as occupancy sensors to automatically turn lights off when an area is unoccupied, saving you between 15 and 80% of your lighting electricity
- Sensor lights that switch on when someone is present can make spaces such as parking areas or entrances more comfortable and secure. Use sensors for security lights instead of leaving lights on all night
- A digital timer can be programmed from 24 hours to 7 days and can even follow a seasonal daylight schedule, turning lights on and off at specific times
- Install a timer switch to turn your illuminated signs off during the day, as well as when few people will see the sign overnight
- If your exterior lighting is needed for only a portion of the night, use photocells to turn lighting on and a time clock to turn them off. Be sure to position photocells where they will not be affected by other inconsistent light sources that may cause them to turn off
- Dimmer switches let you manually adjust the intensity of the light in a room, and also use less energy when the lights are turned down.
Types of energy efficient lighting
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
- Instantly recognisable as ‘curly globes’, CFLs can provide electricity savings of around 75% compared to incandescents
- CFLs last about eight times longer than incandescents, so you should have to replace them only every five to six years
- Not all CFLs are dimmable, so if you are buying for a fixture with a dimming feature, make sure you buy a suitable CFL globe.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
- LEDs are the latest technology, have a wide range of products, are competitively priced and offer substantial savings compared to standard incandescent lights
- Now available for most types of light fittings, LEDs produce directional light, which makes them ideal for when focused light is required
- LEDs provide more sparkle than CFLs, which makes them preferable for some retail and decorative settings such as Christmas decorations. LEDs produce very efficient coloured light, and come on instantly when switched on
- LEDs are a great option for Exit signs, which must remain on at all times.
- Replace Halogen down-lights with LED equivalents to reduce both electricity usage and heat production of Halogen globes.
Fluorescent tube lighting
- Full-size fluorescent (not compact) tube lighting is among the most common and efficient forms of lighting
- It can be a good idea to mix overhead fluorescent lighting with appropriate task lighting to create a good energy efficient mix.