About 90 percent of the estimated five million commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings in the U.S. were built before 1986. That was before the introduction of many of the energy-efficient lighting technologies which are often standard in today’s new construction. Most of these buildings still contain outmoded lighting systems which can be readily upgraded and save significant energy and related costs.1
Thousands of companies across the country have completed or are pursuing energy-efficient upgrades to reduce energy costs and improve the quality of their lighting systems. Lighting upgrades involving products such as energy-efficient lamps, ballasts and lighting controls can routinely reduce lighting costs by up to 30 to 50 percent and pay for themselves within two to three years or less – an attractive proposition.
With lighting costs accounting for an estimated 20 to 40 percent of total energy usage in a typical commercial building, an energy-efficient lighting upgrade can help reduce total facility energy consumption costs by as much as 20 to 25 percent.2 Newer, lower-maintenance lighting systems can also cut labor costs. Here’s another compelling reason to pursue an energy-efficient lighting upgrade in your facility. Commercial tax deductions are available for eligible upgrades through the federal 2005 Energy Policy Act.
Is your facility a good candidate for an upgrade? There’s a good chance it is if it has T12 fluorescent bulbs and ballasts installed before 1986.
A Study in Savings
One example of a lighting upgrade that improved lighting quality and the bottom line is at St. Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois.
Home to over 600 students, the St. Xavier campus is situated across 72 acres on the southwest side of the city. Its more than 620,000 square feet of classroom, office, and residential space was dimly lit by outmoded T12 fluorescent lighting, making the campus long overdue for a lighting upgrade.
Lighting upgrades at Saint Xavier University have reduced energy costs by up to 40 percent.
“In addition to consuming excessive amounts of energy, a lot of the university’s classrooms, hallways, offices and living spaces seemed darker than they should be,” says Bob Anderson, SXU facilities manager. “In addition, there were always maintenance issues with the system, which were tedious and problematic for the campus’ small, in-house maintenance team.”
With a $35,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation helping to offset product costs, the facilities team began its lighting upgrade, primarily in the campus’ main Ward Academic Center. They converted to a system using nearly 1,200 two- and four-lamp Centium® electronic ballasts from Advance driving 3,050 more efficient, fluorescent 30-watt T8 lamps.
The upgrade quickly reduced the 286,000-square foot building’s energy consumption and costs by 30 percent to 40 percent, while standardizing the lighting system and significantly improving lighting quality.
“We’re delighted with the results of the upgrade so far,” Anderson said. “The new lighting system has vastly improved operations and aesthetics in our main campus building.”
Sources: Advance, U.S. Department of Energy.
1. Based on findings from the 1999 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration, as well as the 2002 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization (Volume 1), published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
2. The Energy Cost Savings Council’s Analysis of 1,000 Electrical Product Upgrade Projects (1998). Based on findings from the 1999 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration, as well as the 2002 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization (Volume 1), published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy