Configure your lighting for efficiency
By utilising natural light, installing skylights, sensors switches, and separating lights into multiple zone switches we can cover our lighting needs, with less electricity.
Natural light is an important element in our environment. So adding natural light to your workplace can be more valuable to your business than simply reducing your energy use, carbon emissions and saving money.
How to do it now!
Develop a plan of the lighting in your workplace and map it against how the space will be used (i.e. who is doing what, where). From this you will be able to identify the opportunities for implementing new lighting configuration strategies:
Install windows and skylights
The installation of windows and skylights provides a free source of light that, when coupled with light sensors and a smart office layout, saves power.
A skylight can be used to displace artificial lighting, and with "light tubes" you can bring natural light into many spaces.
Configure your workplaces to use natural light
Arranging the workstations in your office or workplace to utilise the existing natural light will reduce the need to provide artificial light to these areas. It can also have other benefits as natural light helps to align our circadian rhythms that help us know when to sleep, and when to wake.
Engage your staff to turn lights off
Use signs on the light switches in meeting rooms and seldom used rooms, to remind staff to turn the lights out when they have finished using the space. Encourage a "no lights on" approach to those spaces with sufficient natural light. Engaging staff in this way encourages ownership of the efficiency potential of your business and improves staff awareness of other potential efficiency improvements.
Breaking down the workplace into zones with separate switches for the different zones allows workers to switch off those zones that may not be in use.
Remove/turn off lights in over-lit areas
Some areas of the workplace require less light than others. By removing one of the fluorescent tubes from every bank of two tubes in these areas you would halve the cost of lighting in spaces with less brightly lit requirements.
Install sensors to ensure lights go out when not needed
Use sensors to detect natural light levels and movement sensors to automatically manage lighting systems to turn lights off when a room or building is empty, or when there is sufficient natural light.
Light sensors to switch off those lights nearest windows will maximise the value you get from natural light. Movement sensor are great in rooms, such as the toilet or kitchen, where visits are sporadic and rarely for any length of time.
It is estimated that these changes could save 15% off most lighting bills.
How much will it save?
Many of the above items allow you to either remove lights from your current lighting mix or reduce the amount of time a light is switched on for during the year.
For example, by rezoning those lights (i.e. 3 banks of 2 x 22 Watt T5 fluorescent lights) near windows to automatically turn off when there is sufficient natural light (i.e. half the time) your would save $33 per annum and recuperate lighting configuration costs in a couple of years. It will also reduce your carbon emissions by 121.45 kg CO2e p.a.
Calculate your savings
Electricity Savings (S) = (N x 22 x 1000)/1000 kWh p.a.
Financial Savings = S x $ 0.25
Carbon Savings = S x 0.92 Kg CO2e
S = electricity savings N = Number of lights being upgraded (i.e. 6)
22 = Improvement in Wattage of the upgrade (i.e. 22 Watt to 0 Watt)
2000 = hour lights run for p.a. i.e. Half of 250 business days x 8.5 hrs per day
$ 0.25 = electricity cost per kWh (check latest cost from your electricity bill for your electricity price)
0.92 = Average Scope 2 and 3 electricity emissions factors
Use an Electrician
While some lighting efficiency upgrades can be done by anyone, use a registered electrician where required and tap into your electrician's knowledge of the latest energy efficiency technology and ideas.
Why is this action important?
Smart lighting that utilises natural light, sensor switches, and staff engagement contributes to a culture of work place efficiency that will benefit more than your lighting use. Best practice efficiency is a hallmark of smart and successful companies. Saving electricity and money while reducing your carbon emissions is a fundamental sign of a well-run business.