5 Tips for Managing Lighting Costs

May 28, 2013

For a building manager, managing lighting costs can provide major energy savings. Lighting systems account for up to 35 percent of a commercial building's total electrical load, so an efficient lighting strategy is essential if you're looking for savings.

There are some simple measures that building managers can take for further energy savings.

  • Check the settings on your occupancy sensors. Adjustable settings on occupancy sensors can be adjusted to shorten the period between the last motion sensed and the actual power-off time. Default time is typically 30 minutes, set yours back to 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Consider replacing your existing sensors with newer devices. Newer models of occupancy sensors incorporate light level sensing that will keep the lights off if there is sufficient ambient daylight in the space. Other occupancy sensors provide devices with a "pass-through" mode that keeps the lights off if an occupant is simply passing through the space.
  • Review your time schedules. Schedule-based control systems should be reviewed often, especially if the system has remained unchanged. The programmed default schedule may not be aligned to actual lighting needs/requirements.
  • What about emergency lights? Fluorescent fixtures that stay on 24/7 just in case an emergency occurs are required by code to stay illuminated. However, the National Electric Code now allows the lights to be turned off during normal non-operating periods, provided they switch on during an emergency.
  • Implement a measurement strategy. Verifying energy conservation measures and savings is important when seeking LEED or other sustainability certifications.

"When ensuring a facility runs smoothly, efficient and cost-effective lighting strategies can often go overlooked by building managers. But as a consumer of over one-third of a typical commercial building's electrical energy resources, lighting should not be ignored."

Source: Energy Manager Today


By Gaylen Davenport

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