Office lighting

Office lighting

Lighting, both indoor and outdoor, is one of the biggest energy drains in office environments: it accounts for nearly 28 percent of total office energy consumption.[1][2] According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), 22 percent of the total electricity used in the US goes to lighting up our lives.[3] This adds up to about $55 billion worth of electricity, roughly the equivalent to the output of 100 large power plants emitting 450 million tons of carbon dioxide and 3 million tons of smog-generating nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide yearly.[4]

T12 bulbs—by far the most popular office illuminators around—are at least 20 percent less efficient than new bulbs like T8s and T5s.[5] Incandescent bulbs found in many commercial buildings produce only 20 percent light and 80 percent heat with the energy they consume. The heat given off by these lights compounds energy consumption problems by heating indoor spaces, increasing the need for fans and air conditioners.[6]

In the US, there are upwards of 100 million exit signs running 24/7, typically using energy-wasting incandescent technology that consumes an estimated 30-35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually.[7] Conventional incandescent exit sign bulbs, which last about 2.8 months (when operated 24 hours/day) use 350 kWh, cost $28 per year to run, and create 574 pounds of CO2 pollution. In contrast, CFL exit signs (lasting 10.8 months), use 140 kWh, cost $11 to run each year, and produce about 230 pounds of CO2 emissions.[8]

Another cost factor involved in office lighting: employee efficiency. The wrong amount or kind of light can result in eyestrain, glare, and headaches, which in turn can decrease employee productivity.[9] Switching to high performance lighting can improve employee efficiency by 6.7 percent.[10]

Office lighting retrofits can be relatively inexpensive with quick return on investment (five years or less).[11] A lighting upgrade in one Pacific Northwest National Laboratory building resulted in annual electricity savings of $6,167 and 154,163 kilowatt-hours of energy.[12]

Questions to get you started…

  1. Have you replaced inefficient bulbs with CFLs, LEDs, T8s?
  2. Do you have motion sensors or daylight sensors that turn lights off overnight?
  3. Has your office procured power strips for lighting and other electronics?
  4. Does your building have an energy management system to track energy use and reduce energy costs?

External links

Comments

10/23/2008
10:59pm
tlanie@sgp-usa.com

What about LED Lighting? It is available now in a replacement bulb!
e-mail me; tlanie@sgp-usa.com 65 watt bulbs use only 5 to 15 watts last 50,000 hours.CFL's are not truly Green.They are full of mercury that will pollute our environment. CFL's put off poor light and will further damage our world! Do not buy into it. The LED alternative is here!

05/04/2009
10:30pm
greenwolf

I agree that LEDs are the future etc...however statements like yours are misleading:
1. CFLs are not full of mercury - they have about a dot (.)of mercury.
2. The light they give us is generally better than most current LEDs retrofit bulbs in terms of kelvin temperature, beam spread and cost.
Z.H. aka Greenwolf
Chief Creative Officer
www.superiorlighting.com

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