The Sustainable Office – Part 2: Lighting

Depending on the estimate, lighting accounts for 20%-35% of energy use in commercial buildings, and a significant chunk of your expenses. Lighting in your work environment affects the way you feel and how productive you are. Let’s take a look at some ways to decrease costs and increase productivity through lighting.

1. Use natural daylighting

Daylight is free and plentiful, so why not make use of it? Studies have shown that people who work near windows or in the presence of natural light enjoy their jobs more and are more productive than others.

2. Use CFLs

CFLs last 10,000 hours (or about 5 years if it is on for 8 hours every workday). That is over 5 times longer than incandescent bulbs. CFLs are about 5 times more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. This combined with the fact that CFLs must be replaced much less frequently than incandescent bulbs makes CFLs more cost effective than incandescent bulbs. Some CFLs emit the same spectrum of light as the sun, which, as stated before, has been proven to increase productivity.

3. Use dimmers, timers, and motion sensors

Dimmers allow employees to choose how much light they need, which makes them happier and consumes less energy. Timers guarantee that lights are not needlessly left on for long periods of time when they are not being used. They can also be used to turn lights on automatically when they are needed. Like timers, motion sensors automatically turn lights off when they are not in use.

4. Turn off the lights

Encouraging good habits among your employees is possibly the most effective way to save energy. Encourage your employees to turn off lights in the kitchen, bathrooms, meeting rooms when not in use. The most efficient bulb is the one that is not being used.

5. Purchase renewable energy

Many utilities give consumers the option to pay slightly more to buy renewable energy. Purchasing renewable energy encourages further production of green energy and reduces the impact your organization has on the environment.

All of these tips will reduce your organization’s impact on the environment, and, with the exception of purchasing renewable energy, all of these tips will reduce your electricity bill. They may just make you and your employees happier (and more productive), too!

Commercial building energy use