Upgrade to energy efficient lighting
By replacing your current lighting with the new generation of efficient lights, such as compact fluorescents and LEDs, you can half the lighting component of your electricity bill.
All workplaces use lighting to enable workers to work, to highlight goods for sale, light space for customers, advertise and indicate exits and warnings. By methodically working through the lights in your business, and migrating to the best energy efficient lighting option, you will reduce your energy use and save money.
The lighting component of the average SME electricity bill can often be halved through an efficient lighting upgrade.
How to do it now!
Audit your lighting system(s) to expose where the greatest savings can be made from upgrading to more efficient lights. Then, implement these changes and reap the savings in your next electricity bill.
Replace Halogen downlights
Replacing the common 50 Watt Halogen down light globe with a 15 Watt LED globe or 15 Watt Compact Fluorescent lamp (CFL) will reduce the ongoing electricity use by over 60%. In addition, replacing halogen lamps with LEDs will help keep your workplace cooler in summer as Halogen lamps generate heat. This heat often needs to be removed (cooled) via air conditioners, adding more costs to the use of halogen lamps.
Some LED replacements will fit directly into the Halogen downlight fitting, however some will require new fittings. LEDs and CFLs can be purchased from lighting shops, and most large hardware stores.
Replace incandescent light globes with Compact Fluorescent Lamps
The energy efficiency improvement of replacing an incandescent globe with a compact fluorescent globe is in the order of 75%, with a CFL using 25% of the power of a traditional incandescent globe. In addition, a CFL will last 10-15 times longer than an incandescent globe.
It should be noted that compact fluorescent globes contain small amounts of mercury and need to be disposed of in a way that prevents this mercury entering nature, our soil and the food-chain.
The Australian Government in partnership with the lighting industry has developed FluoroCycle, a scheme aimed to facilitate recycling mercury-containing globes.
Upgrade and optimise your fluorescent tube lighting
Until recently in most workplaces, the standard installed fluorescent tube, the T8 tube, was installed. Recently the T8 was upgraded with the more efficient T5 fluorescent tube and Quar Phosphor T8 models. By upgrading your T8 tube to either of these new models will save you up to 25% of the energy used.
The performance of your fluorescents can be further improved through installing reflectors above the tubes to increase the amount of light (lumen output) being directed down from the light. Cleaning the diffuser panel on the fluorescent light fitting can also increase the light emitted.
These improvements can also allow you to decommission some lights, especially in low use areas, enabling further savings.
Emergency and Exit lighting
The use of LED technology in exit and emergency signs significantly reduces the energy use for these “permanently on” light fixtures. The new exit signs use a 3 wat LED with an expected life of 50-100,00 hours compared to two 10Watt T8 fluorescent tubes.
How much will it save?
By replacing one 50 Watt halogen lamp with a 12 Watt LED in a high use area will save $19 per annum and pay for itself after 3.1 years (and last 50,000 hrs or 25 yrs). It will also reduce your carbon emissions by 70 kg CO2e p.a.
Calculate your savings
Electricity Savings (S) = (N x 38 x 2000)/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
38 = Improvement in Wattage of the upgrade (i.e. 50 Watt to 12 Watt)
2000 = hour lights run for p.a. i.e. 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 factor (Use your local 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?
Basic energy efficiency in a device you use regularly is simple common sense that saves money, saves electricity and reduces your businesses contribution to climate change.
Reducing our energy use will reduce our contribution to climate change and shift our thinking towards how we can support nature rather than assuming nature will endlessly provide for us.
Making your lighting system as efficient as possible will help drive the transition to a low-carbon economy, saving money and allow you to do your bit to fight climate change. That’s got to make you feel good.