New Zealand businesses waste $1.6 billion each year on power, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) estimates. Imagine how much of this you could be turning into profits instead. By installing energy efficient office lighting, you could significantly cut down your business' power costs. Not only that, you'll do good by the environment through reducing your carbon footprint.
In this article, we look at some smart energy options for your office electricity and how you can install energy efficient lighting in your workplace.
The benefits of installing smarter lighting in your office
The financial benefits of installing smarter lighting options in your workplace are significant. Lighting accounts for between 30-50 per cent of commercial electricity bills, according to the EECA. By reducing your overall energy usage, your electricity costs will also decrease.
The EECA states that, in a standard New Zealand office, a single fluorescent bulb run only during work hours will cost about $23 per year. This may not seem like much, but consider that most fluorescent light fittings have about three tubes each - so already, you're up to $69 a year. How many light fittings do you have? The costs mount up. If you have over 100 light fittings in your office with three tubes in each, you'll be paying over $8,000 a year. The Authority suggests that simply reducing the amount of time your lights are left on could reduce your electricity bill by up to 20 per cent - and that's not even factoring in other electricity-saving options.
You've also got the additional bonus of reducing your carbon footprint and demonstrating to your employees and other businesses you're doing your bit to help out the environment. A commitment to energy sustainability makes you more attractive to potential staff and customers, which could potentially lead to more business for your company.
Being smarter about your office lighting could save your business hundreds in electricity bills each year.
Assess the lighting in your workplace
Before implementing any solutions, you'll need to thoroughly assess your workplace and your existing lighting. This will enable you to identify elements that you can improve, and areas where you could save money on your business' energy bill.
Examine where lighting is used in your workplace - the office area, kitchen, bathrooms, meeting rooms and desks - and note the kinds of fittings and bulbs being used. Identify any lights that aren't used regularly that you could switch off or uninstall completely, as well as the peak times when lights are used most.
Select the right light bulbs and lamps
Changing your light bulbs and lamps to more energy efficient alternatives will save you power, as they are more cost-effective to run. You can use the online tool on the ENERGYWISE website to select the current bulbs your workplace has installed and discover more efficient replacements.
LEDs and T5 fluorescent lights are the best for office environments. LED bulbs in particular make good replacements for General Lamp Shade (GLS) light bulbs and recessed downlights. The EECA estimates that these will last over 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use as much as 85 per cent less electricity.
Install timers or sensors so the lights won't be on for longer than necessary
Many office environments use more lighting than they need to, and a lot of energy is wasted when lights are left turned on when they aren't being used. Installing sensors and timers in your workplace will turn lights on when movement is detected, and leave them off when your staff have left the room or building, reducing the amount of time that lights are left on unnecessarily.
Good quality sensors cost around $150 and they'll become more cost-effective the more lights they control.
Remove lighting that isn't used
You can save on your lighting energy usage by up to 40 per cent simply by removing lamps and lights from around your workplace that aren't used, the EECA estimates. This is a process called 'de-lamping'. Key places to do this are non-work areas such as hallways and corners.
Utilise the daylight
One great way to reduce your business' electricity bill is to make use of natural light. Often, we use desk lamps and ceiling lights to illuminate a space when we could simply open the curtains or blinds to let in light from outside.
Encourage your employees to move their desks closer to windows and open the shades to make the most of the daylight. This will reduce the need to use electricity.
Installing energy efficient lighting in your office and using it in smarter ways is well worth the effort for the money you'll save in the long run. If you need a hand putting energy efficient lighting in place in your workplace, take a look at our smart lighting solutions for businesses.