Lighting Tips

Business Tips for Brighter Returns

DTE Energy shines a spotlight on how to lower your lighting expenses.

Lighting accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill for a typical business. The good news is that very simple things can help you reduce those costs. From the bulbs you use to simple mechanical upgrades, there are many easy ways to improve your efficiency.

Use CFL Bulbs
CFLs cost about 75 percent less to operate, and last about 10 times longer.

Switch to LED Bulbs
Swapping out incandescent bulbs for ENERGY STAR®-certified LED bulbs not only require less energy, they generate considerably less heat, potentially reducing your cooling needs as well.

Install T8 or T5 Fluorescent Lighting
Replace old fluorescent and incandescent lighting with T8 or T5 fixtures, ENERGY STAR®-certified CFLs or LEDs and other energy-efficient lighting systems. In addition to saving money, you’ll improve light quality and reduce heat gain.

Use LED Signs
Replace old Open/Closed and Exit signs with LED lighting and you’ll save about $10 per sign in electricity every year. LED signs also require significantly less maintenance.

Parking Lot LED Lighting
Parking lots are often over lit—an average of 1-foot candle of light or less is usually sufficient. Fluorescent lamps, CFLs, LEDs and induction lamps have become viable sources for outdoor lighting, providing good color quality and better control options than traditional parking lot lighting sources.

Use Exterior LED Lighting
Using LEDs to light stadiums and sports arenas can yield large energy savings—roughly 75 percent over metal halide (MH) lamps. Thanks to a longer bulb life, LEDs also reduce maintenance costs and lower lumen depreciation rates. Facility operators will also appreciate the bulb’s instant-on and instant-restrike capabilities.

Currently, LED fixtures can cost up to four times as much as MH fixtures. However, the dramatic energy and maintenance savings can make them an economical measure with potential payback periods as short as two to three years.


Lighting Costs
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, office spaces use the most electricity on lighting, followed by cooling and computers.

The Efficient Way to Upgrade Energy Efficiency
Lighting is a significant business expense in almost every industry and is a great place to realize operational savings.


Install Light Dimmers on CFL and LED Bulbs
Daylight dimmers are special sensors that automatically dim room lights based on the natural daylight available. Dimmers are available for both LEDs and dimmable CFLs.

Utilize Natural Daylight
Natural daylight has been shown to improve an indoor environment while reducing energy use and peak demand. Any lighting renovation should start by using daylighting as much as possible.


Use Occupancy Sensors
Install automatic occupancy sensor room-lighting controls to turn lights on and off in frequently unoccupied areas like restrooms, copy rooms, supply rooms and warehouses.

In addition to saving energy, occupancy sensors help reduce maintenance costs. For instance, turning fluorescent lights off for 12 hours each day can extend their expected calendar life by 75 percent or nearly seven years.

Exterior Daylight Sensors (Photocells)
Dayburn—wasting energy and money by leaving exterior lights on during the day—can be easily avoided by installing sensors that turn the lights on and off automatically.

Interior Daylight Sensors
Where possible, take advantage of natural daylight. Dimming ballasts and sensors can reduce the amount of electric light used when daylight is present. Solar light tubes can also be a cost-effective retrofit.

Empower People to Turn Off Lights
It’s a simple step that’s easy to forget. Have staff serve as “energy monitors” in your business. Energy conservation–themed posters and stickers can be effective reminders, especially when designed as part of a larger energy-awareness campaign.

Combine Timers and Occupancy Sensors
Coordinate scheduled lighting, dimming and occupancy-sensor controls to maximize your lighting efficiency. For example, a hotel may dim lighting in hallways and stairwells during overnight hours, but automatically change to full brightness when someone enters the area.

Sources: energystar.gov and Business Energy Advisor.


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