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Tips for Energy-Efficient Office Lighting

Lighting is sometimes under-appreciated, but it plays an important role in an office setting. From creating a productive environment to setting the right tone for business meetings, the lighting in a room can be a game-changer. However, it can also be a budget-buster if it isn't managed properly.

Here are some ways to ensure your office lighting is energy-efficient while still meeting the needs of your business so you can illuminate effectively without breaking the bank.

Switch to LED Lights

* Quality lighting is critical for workplace efficiency and has a significant impact on employee performance, mood, and perception. According to recent studies, harsh and insufficient lighting lowers daily productivity. Businesses worldwide are increasing productivity by using glare-free LED lights, which are significantly less tiring to employees' eyes and operate silently without the annoying buzz of fluorescent lighting. These shatter-proof lights also improve workplace safety with higher visibility and the use of non-toxic materials.

* LEDs are environmentally friendly, with energy consumption reduced by over 70% due to lower CO2 emissions and efficiency in converting electricity into light. For offices that require constant lighting overnight, LED lights result in even more savings.

* With a lifespan of over 50,000 hours, a quality LED light far outlasts the typical incandescent bulb, which can last up to 1,000 hours. This equates to an LED light lasting approximately 23 years, resulting in big savings on replacement bulbs over time.

* While LED bulbs were pricey a couple of decades ago, the cost has decreased by 85% in recent years. While it is still a bit of an investment to upgrade bulbs to LED, the cost savings over time makes it worthwhile.

Upgrade Selectively

Upgrading lighting in the entire building can be expensive and time-consuming. Here are some ways to make it more manageable:

  • * Focus on areas that are difficult to maintain, such as stairwells, elevators, and multiple-level lobbies. Prioritize upgrading bulbs in those areas because of the difficulty in accessing the fixtures.

  • * Focus on critical safety areas, such as parking lots or garages.

  • * Look for areas with high burn levels, such as lobbies, which may stay lit even after employees are gone for the day. Incandescent or halogen bulbs in those areas can cause your energy bill to skyrocket.

  • * Maximize natural lighting to save energy. The use of task lighting with LED table lamps is a good way to light only the needed space.

Incorporate Digital Controls

Once you've converted to LEDs, the next step is adding network controls, which can boost savings by 47%. A digital system allows control over all the building's lights from one spot, creating ideal office lighting throughout the day. A smart system for lighting enables the following features:

  • * Automatic timing allows predetermined schedules for turning lights on and off, or even dimming them, in specific areas.

  • * Occupancy control handles lighting preferences based on whether a space is being used or not.

  • * Personal control with cordless lighting gives individuals the management of their workspace lighting, which may prevent overlighting and can reduce energy consumption by 10% or more.

  • * Load shedding adjusts the light in specific areas using a demand/response strategy.

  • * Daylight harvesting adjusts the light according to the levels of natural sunlight available in a room.

  • * Digital and cordless lighting can be monitored from the web, enabling management of lighting throughout the office according to your needs.

  • * Smart fixtures can relay real-time information regarding broken or burnt-out bulbs.

Lower Light Levels

While this might seem obvious, over-illuminating workspaces is a typical mistake and most people are unaware that their surroundings are overlit.

LinkedIn tested a new wireless lighting management system in its office building by turning all the lights to 100% brightness. Every few days, they lowered the light level by 5-10% until it reached an ideal level. Most people in the office didn't notice a difference; in fact, the brightness was reduced more than 46% before the first employee noticed any change.

The optimal lighting for computer usage is when the area light is brighter than the display screen. OSHA recommends placing computers at a 90-degree angle with the light streaming in rather than using bright lights (such as a window) directly behind the screen. Additional LED table lamps can be utilized to balance light sources and brighten the space near the computer.

Effective lighting is critical to a business's operations, but the cost can be prohibitive. There are many ways to adopt energy-efficient strategies that also allow for maximizing lighting and creating a productive corporate environment.

Business Daily Media