What It Is
Energy-efficient lighting illuminates a room while using less energy than ordinary incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Examples include natural lighting, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and motion sensors.
Why It Matters
Businesses often use regular light bulbs, which waste energy and money. “Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light, 90% of [which] is wasted as heat.”
Leaving lights on when no one needs them compounds the problem. “Interior lighting alone may account for up to 60 percent of a business’s energy bill, yet many companies leave the lights on 24/7. [Switching] to energy-efficient fluorescent lights can cut energy usage by 35 percent.”
To improve energy and lighting efficiency in your office
- Invite more sunlight into the workspace
- Use more energy-efficient light bulbs
1.) Invite the sunlight
Simply opening the shades or curtains can reduce your energy bill. Allowing more natural light into the office means needing less electricity to brighten the space.
2.) Use better bulbs
Replacing regular bulbs with more energy-efficient ones will save energy and money. Try using these eco-friendly options:
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): A small, compact version of a fluorescent tube, a CFL illuminates a room using about 75% less energy than a regular incandescent bulb. They also last ten times longer.
- Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs): LEDs light a room “using the same technology as the little indicator light on your cell phone.” They use 75-80% less energy than a regular bulb and last as much as 25 times longer.
When shopping for CFLs and LEDs, make sure to look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star, a joint program of the EPA and US Department of Energy, certifies the energy efficiency of products. Products must “meet strict energy efficiency guidelines” to earn an energy star.
Your business can use the following lighting options to save even more energy and money:
- Task Lighting: Task lighting better illuminates a workspace (e.g., a desk, cubicle) while using less energy by localizing the location of the light. Examples include “desk lamps, reading lamps, and the under-cabinet lights found in many cubicles.” Check out Little Footprint Lighting for more information and tips on task lighting your office.
- Sensors: Motion and occupancy sensors light the office only when people are using the space. The sensors switch the lights off when the space is empty, reducing the electricity bill.
- Timers: Businesses can use lighting timers to turn lights on or off at scheduled times. This ensures that the lights are on when needed and off after business hours.
Energy Savers, a US Department of Energy website, offers more information on these lighting options, as well as suggestions about when to use them. Click here to visit the website.
The King’s Daughters Inn
The King’s Daughters Inn, the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year for 2010, uses sensors, CFLs, and LEDs, saving its owners hundreds of dollars each month. Click here for more information on The King’s Daughters Inn.
TS Designs, a Certified B Corporation that prints t-shirts, uses task lighting to save money. The staff used chains to lower the lights from the ceiling, illuminating just the workspace instead of the entire area. This reduces the company’s spending on electricity each month.
Resources for More Information
- Green Lighting by Brian Howard, William Brinsky, and Seth Leitman
- EarthEasy offers information and sells a variety of sustainable products
- Energy Savers gives information and tips on how to save both energy and money
- Energy Star helps you find star-certified products
- TCP’s Energy Saving Calculator allows you to calculate how much you can save with energy-efficient lighting
Energy-efficient lighting can illuminate your workspace using significantly less energy than traditional bulbs. And reducing your business’s energy usage means adding money to the bottom line.
 Information retrieved from US Department of Energy website on June 16, 2011
 Information retrieved from “Energy Reduction Tips That Won’t Break the Bank” by Bloomberg Businessweek
 List retrieved from the Energysavers.gov, a US Department of Energy website
 Information retrieved from ENERGY STAR website on June 16, 2011
 Quote retrieved from the Little Footprint Lighting website
 List information retrieved from Energy Savers, a US Department of Energy website