6 Takeaways from the "Turn on the Savings!" Lunch n' Learn

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Why should your business invest in energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls?

That’s what our Better Business Challenge Lunch n’ Learn attendees wanted to know! The Nov. 29th “Turn on the Savings!” session featured an “illuminating” (sorry – had to) presentation by Jacob Garrett of Lutron and Alfred Wanderlingh, Commercial Sales Manager with Batteries Plus Bulbs. They touched upon everything from lighting basics (brightness, color temperature, and color rendering index) to the economic and workplace benefits of better lighting to the energy efficiency advantages of LEDs.

Here are the best tips from the day’s session for maximizing savings, productivity, and employee satisfaction through smart office lighting solutions, #ICYMI.

  1. Purchasing LED bulbs is now a “no brainer” in terms of money savings, convenience, and the environment. Did you know that the average 60-watt incandescent bulb adds an estimated $7.23 per year to your energy bill (based on three hours per day usage)? In comparison, an equivalent 12-watt LED bulb costs only $1.44 per year in energy use. So those savings can really add up!

    They are super convenient and low maintenance too; because they last 20+ years, you experience less operating and maintenance cost over the long-term. Also, LEDs are solid-state bulbs, so they come on instantly (meaning they don’t need to warm up).

  2. Maximize savings through dimming and daylight harvesting. If you have a stairwell or corridor that is lit with both natural sunlight and “regular” lighting, it makes sense to install dimming controls, which measure the lighting coming in from the outside and adjust light accordingly. Dimming controls are especially useful and more efficient because those areas usually are required to have the lights on 24/7.

    We’ve all experienced instances where we’ve entered a well-lit space and ALL of the lights are on, and we’ve wondered, “Why the waste?” The problem is, there are just two choices: the on or off switch. With daylight sensing and dimming, you can cut that lighting waste and achieve 30-50% savings!

    With daylight harvesting (an industry term for “maximizing natural light”), Lutron has seen cases where companies can save up to 80% on lighting costs. Caveat: Make sure the dimmer matches the LED fixture. Buzzing or flashing means you may have purchased an inferior product.

  3.  Wireless controls are the wave of the future when it comes to lighting. This is not a “new” technology, but currently there is no standardization, so buy a good product. Due to cheaper labor and equipment costs, wireless controls can shorten your ROI.

  4.  Your workforce and clients need to be happy with the lighting to be most productive. Have you heard of the 3/30/300 rule? $3 per square foot per year is the cost of utilities, $30 is the cost of rent, but $300 is the cost of people! People are a business’s most valuable asset. Plenty of studies say that good lighting increases productivity by 23%. Conversely, poor lighting can reduce employee satisfaction by 68%. The key to making workers happy with lighting is personal controls.

  5. Cool or warm? Remember, the higher the Kelvins, the blue-ish or cooler the light (6,500 Kelvins). If you want a warmer light, go with lower Kelvins. 2,700 Kelvins is the ideal.

  6. Don’t forget to recycle those old bulbs! CFLs and fluorescent tubes contain trace amounts of mercury, so throwing them in the trash is not the way to go. In most cases. minimal fees apply when recycling old bulbs. BONUS: Batteries Plus Bulbs accepts recycling on a variety of lamp types.

Wanderlingh shared two local success stories that show the dramatic results businesses can obtain with more efficient lighting!

The Southern Environmental Law Center has so far installed 88, four-foot LED tubes at its offices. Once all its LEDs are installed, the SELC stands to attain a projected total energy savings of $83,831 and a 1,094% ROI by the time their LEDs need to be replaced.  

Worldstrides also plans to upgrade to LED lighting, and we estimate the company will achieve a projected total energy savings of $94,000 over the course of the LEDs’ life and a 593% ROI by time Worldstrides’ LED lighting needs to be replaced. That’s a huge amount of savings!

Want to see the full “Light Up the Savings!” presentation? Download Wanderlingh’s slides here! And if you’re ready to take advantage of a FREE walk-through lighting assessment, send your request to teri@cvilleclimate.org.