Is the Lighting on When Nobody’s Home?

After cooling and heating systems, lighting is responsible for the largest consumption of electrical energy in a building. With energy and sustainability being near the top of almost every facility manager’s list of priorities these days, here are a few simple lighting upgrades that can help you save on your electrical energy costs:

Lighting Controls

We get to visit many facilities in our line of work, and it is amazing how many unoccupied spaces are continuously illuminated. Current energy codes require automatic shut-off for lighting when spaces are unoccupied. In facilities constructed before the adoption of these codes, building lighting systems are often deficient in terms of lighting control. Installing occupancy sensors can greatly reduce the amount of energy used when a space is unoccupied.

Lighting control systems utilizing smart ballasts, daylighting sensors, and occupancy sensors are also available. In addition to providing automatic shut-off, these systems can maintain a set lighting level in a space resulting in saving energy even while a space is occupied by utilizing illumination from daylighting or adjacent spaces.

Lamp Technologies

There are now fluorescent and compact fluorescent options for lighting applications that, until recently, were practical only for HID sources. In most cases, utilizing fluorescent sources for these applications can provide the same, or better, illumination levels with the added benefit of instant lighting, thus eliminating need for re-strike or warm-up time.

Many lamp manufacturers have concentrated their research and development efforts on LED technology. LEDs are now being used in general space illumination, accent lighting and exterior site lighting applications. While the material costs of LED technology is still relatively high, the generated energy savings can create a short-term payback when used for the right application.

If you would like more information about how you can upgrade your lighting system to save energy, please contact Michael Rader, PE at or (717) 845-7654.

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