In the United States, a tremendous amount of electricity is used to power lighting each year. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2019, the U.S. residential and commercial sectors combined used about 216 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity for lighting. During the winter, owners of commercial spaces tend to use even more electricity, which they often see reflected in their energy bills. Read on for our tips for reducing lighting costs during the winter months.
What factors impact energy bills?
During the winter, business owners pay more for electricity to keep their commercial spaces lit during the long, cold nights. Exterior lights need to operate longer and more efficiently to guarantee employee and customer safety. Interior lighting is also especially necessary to account for the lack of daytime sunlight. Accordingly, this increase in light use causes an increase in energy use, which can certainly add up over time and cause financial strain. Daylight hours are significantly shorter, and more lighting is needed in commercial spaces for efficient living and working environments. While it’s impossible to change the increased need for electricity, there are a few steps you can take to save energy and reduce the drain on your bank account during the winter.
Tips for managing your electric bill during the winter
Upgrade to LEDs
LED lighting is a great choice for year-round commercial energy savings. LEDs burn light 90% more efficiently than traditional bulbs and generally last between 12 and 22 years, which can help cut back on replacement and material costs. LEDs consume lower amounts of power in general, which causes less energy waste. LED retrofitting projects have been known to result in a 60-75% improvement in overall energy efficiency of the commercial property’s lighting.
LED products that tend to use less power while generating high-quality light include:
- Recessed downlights
- Modular lighting
- Dimmable bulbs
- Diffused/omnidirectional bulbs
- Tube lights
LEDs are especially useful during the winter when the need for optimal, low-cost lighting is at its highest. They generate a brighter, more clarifying light than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, which is especially necessary during the gloomy winter months to create welcoming commercial properties and encourage productivity. LEDs are able to operate at virtually any percentage of their rated power, meaning they can operate efficiently while consuming less energy. LEDs are also a particularly good choice for exterior commercial lighting during the winter. Replacing exit signs, garage lighting, and other exterior fixtures in preparation for the darker part of the year when they have to operate longer can help save you extra energy costs.
Install dimmer switches, sensors and controls
Installing automated and time-controlled devices, such as dimmer switches, sensors, and other controls can ensure energy waste reduction during the winter. It’s easy to forget to turn lights off, especially when they’re in use for longer parts of the day, and coordinating operating hours with the darkest parts of the day can help save on lighting costs. Sensors that activate lights when motion is detected are a great way to reduce electricity use and make sure your lights are only being used when they are actually needed.
If you need to light a parking garage, for example, there are lighting products available that will activate the light based on motion. Exterior lights that are on a timer simply need to be adjusted based on time of day. These lights can be connected to one another so that one bank comes on right before the next. Light controls enable businesses to maintain good light levels without too much of a drain on their finances.
Some common lighting control devices that can help you save on commercial energy expenses include:
- Control panels
- Occupancy sensors for indoor lighting
- Dimmer switches
- Motion sensors for outdoor lighting
- Networked lighting control systems
Certain lighting controls are more suited to specific buildings and light fixtures. A commercial lighting specialist can help you choose the best devices for your space.
Make small routine changes
If reducing commercial lighting costs is a top priority to you, you can take some simple steps to use less light. For example, using electrical lamps will provide ample light at a lower cost than an overhead light. You can prioritize remembering to turn lights off and on manually and make use of as much natural light as possible, despite earlier sunset times. Dusty bulbs and fixtures or dirty shades can cause light obstruction. Keeping your lights as clean as possible can help maximize the amount of light output.
Having switches installed in a large, open-plan space to cover the different areas can also restrict lighting use to the areas you are actively using. Bulbs with lower wattage are a good way to avoid over-lighting while simultaneously generating the atmosphere you would like to create. You can also try to make use of as much daylight as possible by rearranging your space in accordance with the highest sunlight hours. Reorganizing your commercial property based on the locations of the windows can make a big difference in how much interior lighting you need throughout the day.
Other things you can do to work towards reducing lighting costs for your commercial property include:
- Reduce the use of decorative lighting
- Use covered bulbs that light facing downwards
- Install colored lights for night illumination
- Use a photocell for exterior lights
If you are interested in upgrading your light fixtures or planning a lighting installation at your commercial property in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., contact Bay Lighting at 301-858-9494. You can also fill out a quick form to request a free quote today or shop our online store. We ship our products nationally.