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Trends in facility lighting

September 19, 2010
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Everyone is talking about green maintenance, but if you are skeptical or unsure about where to start — start with what may seem like a small step… lighting.

It will do so much for you, your facilities, and the environment.

Why use “green” lighting?
In offices, retail environments, warehouses, educational and healthcare facilities, lighting typically represents one of the largest portions — up to 40 percent — of total energy consumption.

The cost of energy consumption is less expensive, maintenance and labor costs are reduced, and light quality is improved — creating a more productive work environment.

If you don’t know just how much can be saved by simply switching or upgrading to the improved fluorescent lamps of today you should know the following.

The fluorescent lamp that is most often used for general and specific task lighting is the T12 fluorescent tube.

This tube was modified approximately two decades ago to the T8 fluorescent lamps.

They provide up to 40 percent greater efficiency as well as quality levels of brightness and color rendering.

With energy-saving technology rapidly changing even T8 systems installed five years ago or more should be upgraded to Super T8 systems.

One should also know that Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are now being integrated more into everyday life and are predicted to take the place of the traditional incandescent light bulb, because these energy-efficient lamps reduce energy costs by consuming 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.

The color quality has also been improved and CFLs are usually an easy retrofit when replacing the traditional incandescent bulb.

Many states and countries are so confident in CFLs, that they have made efforts to ban incandescent light bulbs in order to respond to concerns about overloaded power systems and global warming.

Decrease blackouts
One of the developments in energy-efficient upgrades is the increase in power utility initiatives and incentives that have now become commonplace practices in order to prevent blackouts and brownouts.

Power utility companies are contracting with energy services companies to provide cost-effective lighting upgrades in order to reduce power strain on major metropolitan power grids.

While it is only a portion in the grand scheme of overall savings, reduced maintenance should be considered one of the most important benefits since maintenance comprises one of the largest costs of a building during its lifetime.

Increased productivity
Studies of lighting upgrades report that workers are most productive when lighting levels are designed for the tasks at hand.

Employee productivity can increase 6 to 16 percent due to better lighting quality, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Take action
Now that you know the benefits of energy-efficient lighting, there are several ways you can take action. These steps include:
  • Talk to an energy services company representative in your area about lighting upgrade services.
  • Energy services companies are often contracted by utilities and provide energy-efficient upgrades exclusively to their customers: Take advantage of utility initiatives now, they are only available for a limited time.
  • Check out tax incentives available through the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Energy improvements completed in 2006 and 2007 can be eligible for tax deductions of up to $1.80 per square foot.

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