With lighting accounting for the single largest electricity usage in the commercial sector (three times the energy consumption of air conditioning, for example), new legislation will soon help buildings and businesses make a big impact on the environment and their bottom line.
Beginning next year, new national standards will begin to phase out many old inefficient incandescent light bulbs, and require new bulbs to use 25% to 30% less energy. This means that if your building is one of the many commercial properties that still use incandescent bulbs, you may see a drop in your energy consumption and costs when you install these new efficient bulbs. (In 2020, the second phase of the standard will go into effect and will require new light bulbs to be even more efficient, using approximately 65% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs.)
But you don’t need to wait until the new legislation goes into effect; start reducing energy consumption now with some smart lighting changes.
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use one-fourth the power of a comparable incandescent and last up to 10 times longer.
- LED technology can save even more money over its lifetime. Look for new LEDs with improved light quality to be introduced soon to the market.
- Many commercial buildings also use halogens and T-12 fluorescent lamps with magnetic ballasts, which will not be affected by the new standards. But, by switching in a T-8 for a T-12, including replacing magnetic ballasts for electronic ballasts, buildings can reduce the amount of lighting energy by 17% to 48%.