Every business that wants to be eco-friendly has to find ways to maximize the energy efficiency of its lights.
Lighting is a major expense for almost every industry and for both small and large businesses alike, so finding a way to save energy here and rely on renewable energy sources as much as possible goes a long way.
But how do you “go green” with your lighting without changing the color of the bulb? Is it really practical? Can businesses accomplish greener lighting as readily as homeowners?
We believe that with today’s technology, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Business lights really can be made environmentally friendly. Here are 5 ways it can be done:
1. Use solar “smart” lights.
Installing solar powered lights with automatic dawn to dusk operation, motion sensor outdoor lights, and solar street lights that run themselves and need very little maintenance, are all ways to get the most out of solar power.
Of course, installing solar panels to help power all of your lights and using an electric provider that uses a relatively large share of solar sourced energy makes all of your lights “solar” to a degree. But installing a few strategic lights that are 100% solar powered and not dependent on the grid is a smart move.
2. Use LED or CFL bulbs.
The day of incandescent is over. LED bulbs often use 90% less energy than incandescents and are no less bright. They last for 100,000 hours. They light up fast, as fast as the brake lights on your car (for they are, after all, LEDs).
CFL (compact fluorescent lights) are generally a little cheaper than LEDs, and they offer a greater variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They don’t cost much more, in fact, than incandescent bulbs, and yet, they use only 25% as much energy for the same effect, while lasting for 10,000 hours. Also, since CFLs don’t get as hot, they are safer as well.
3. Choose/position fixtures wisely.
Find lamps and fixtures made of recycled materials whenever possible. And don’t hesitate to pick up fixtures from reused or repurposed materials either – these are often some of the most interesting as well as eco-friendly light fixtures!
And be sure to use only as many fixtures in a room as needed, but to strategically position them for maximum lighting from minimum light bulbs.
4. Let the sun shine in!
Take advantage of daylight in the workplace. It’s good for employee health and morale besides being Earth friendly and saving you on your company energy bill.
Employees should open up blinds in their offices during the day and have their desks positioned near a source of sunshine. And consider putting in skylights, large windows, and mirrors that will reflect the sunlight all around the room, if you don’t already have them.
5. Manage lights properly.
Even the best lighting system won’t save you money or save the environment if it’s mismanaged.
The simple habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room works wonders on your power bill! For incandescent lights, employees should flip the switch even if exiting the room for mere seconds; for CFLs, if they leave for three minutes or more; and for LEDs, if they plant to be gone at least 15 minutes.
Following these 5 simple steps is a huge beginning to upgrading your business’ green lighting score and lowering its corporate carbon footprint.
Systematically replacing all inefficient or environmentally unfriendly components of your lighting system will require some time, thought, and money, but it pays off in the end in cost savings, enhanced corporate image, and that good feeling you’ll have inside for doing all you can to conserve energy.