Did you know lighting consumes up to 40% of a commercial facility’s electricity? The heat output from lights also impacts cooling loads.
In this article we will explore the following four options you can employ to reduce lighting costs:
• Simply turn lights off when they are not needed.
• Use occupancy sensors.
• Take advantage of natural daylight.
• Integrate lighting controls into your facility.
Con Edison offers cash rebates and incentives for the installation of lighting and lighting control upgrades to commercial and industrial customers in New York City and Westchester County through our Commercial & Industrial (C&I) Energy Efficiency Programs.
Turn Off the Lights
This sounds very basic but “turning off the lights” is an easy, energy-saving practice that can produce substantial cost savings benefits. This also applies to desk lamps, which along with other plugged devices at a work station can be connected to a power strip and turned off easily with a single flick of the switch. And remember; switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will save about 75% of your lighting costs, and even more when you remember to turn them off.
Use Occupancy Sensors
Occupancy Sensors are an effective method of reducing lighting costs in almost every space where people move in and out in unpredictable patterns (e.g. offices, restrooms, warehouses and conference rooms). In fact, a study conducted by the Lighting Research Center, “An Analysis of the Energy and Cost Savings Potential of Occupancy Sensors for Commercial Lighting,” showed a 43% energy savings when occupancy sensors were installed in private offices.
The most common technologies used by occupancy sensors are passive infrared (PIR) and ultrasonic. A PIR sensor detects the body heat and movement in the space, while ultrasonic emits sound waves and then detects motion by looking for shifts in the frequency of the returning waves. PIR sensors perform best when they have a direct line of sight, where the sensor can “see” people directly without structural barriers. The ideal application for these sensors is in areas such as private offices and conference rooms. Ultrasonic can sense around corners and other obstacles such as partitions making it optimal for restrooms, hallways and larger open office spaces.
Dual technology sensors utilize both PIR and ultrasonic in an effort to remove “false-triggering,” a phenomenon whereby lighting turns on/off at inappropriate times.
An occupancy sensor’s coverage area is based on the total square footage of the area and the degrees of sweep area that it can “see.” Typical coverage areas are 180 and 360 degrees covering 500 to 2,000 square feet.
Con Edison provides a $50 rebate per installed sensor (minimum 100 watts controlled).
Take Advantage of Natural Daylight
The concept of “Daylight Harvesting” is simple: when sufficient daylight is available, an easy to install daylight sensor will automatically dim or turn off the lights. A daylight sensor will continually monitor the lighting level and make adjustments to the electric lighting based on a pre-set target. There are many products available that allow existing spaces to easily retrofit their fixtures and take advantage of natural daylight.
Not only can you save energy by dimming or turning lights off, studies such as the US Department of Energy “Greening the Building and the Bottom Line: Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design” show increased productivity when employees have access to natural daylight or views outside.
Earn $60 per sensor (minimum 75 watts controlled) from Con Edison when you install remote mounted daylight dimming controls, or $30 per sensor (minimum 45 watts controlled) for fixture-mounted daylight dimming controls.
Integrate Lighting Control into Your Facility
Lighting control panels can be installed next to a building’s electrical panel or near the lighting load the panel is controlling. For example, some facilities use small panels on each floor that are programmed based on the individual tenant needs. Lighting control panels are often used for exterior lighting but are also a great option for interior spaces.
The lighting control panel controls a group of light fixtures by sending a signal to turn the lights on/off at pre-programmed times. You can program the panels remotely or have the factory program them prior to shipment. Another benefit to using control panels is that they can be used in conjunction with the “daylight harvesting” and occupancy sensor techniques outlined above.
Lighting control panels are easily adaptable into existing facilities and can provide you with automated lighting controls for a minimal cost while providing substantial energy savings.
It is important that you obtain a comprehensive assessment before you install lighting controls in your facility, however, as there are many options available. Our energy efficiency experts can identify lighting controls opportunities for your facility by analyzing individual spaces and learning how you use the space and how you currently control the lighting.
Lighting control options can be determined by many factors. For example:
» Areas of inactivity such as warehouses and storage spaces are ideal for occupancy sensors that control the total lighting load.
» Individual spaces like private offices and conference rooms can typically utilize a simple wall sensor that fits into the existing wall plate.
» If your facility lighting is turned on/off only by individual users, adding a lighting control panel with programmed on/off scheduling can maximize your energy savings.
Many lighting control projects qualify for incentives under the Custom Incentive Program. An energy assessment is needed to fully provide the right course of action.
Earn Cash Rebates & Incentives
Con Edison pays cash incentives and rebates when you install qualifying lighting controls, such as:
» Daylight harvesting (dimming or switching)
» Lighting control panels
» Occupancy sensors
Implementation of these projects requires pre-approval and must meet energy savings criteria and other specifications in order to qualify for Con Edison cash incentives or rebates. To learn more about Con Edison’s C&I Energy Efficiency Program, visit conEd.com/energyefficiency or call an energy efficiency representative at 1-877-797-6347.
Courtney C. Capshaw of Lockheed Martin is a member of the Con Edison Green Team.