12 Ultra-Efficient Lighting Strategies

Innovative solutions from real projects

By Janelle Penny

9) Ramp Up Communication
In addition to discussing your plans with colleagues, it’s also smart to involve building occupants both at the start of the project and throughout, Popeck says.

“I frequently see misunderstandings by other team members who don’t understand what you’re trying to do. You overcome that through education and sharing information,” explains Popeck. “If you tell people up front what you’re trying to accomplish, what their role is, what they’ll be doing, and how it fits into the overall plan, that’s the key to overcoming those challenges.”

10) Examine Financials
No project can kick off without detailed analysis of both upfront and long-term costs. Efficient retrofits of energy-intensive systems like lighting can earn sizable incentives to help defray first costs, getting your project on the road to cost savings that much faster.

“At Green Ideas, we implement the Solutions for Business program from our utility, Arizona Public Service. They offer good incentives for lighting retrofits, but not everybody knows about that,” Popeck says. “It’s the same with new construction – many people don’t realize that you can get someone else to pay for your project.”

3 Places to Learn More

Looking to beef up your lighting knowledge in advance of an efficiency project? Check out these websites – all are jam-packed with strategies, tools, and research to aid the planning process.

Illuminating Engineering Society
The IES Education Portal (available in a pull-down Education tab at the top of every page) offers nearly anything you need to know about best practices in lighting, from handy application guides to webcasts and e-learning opportunities.

Whole Building Design Guide
Created by the National Institute of Building Sciences, this guide showcases good design categorized by building and space types, design objectives, and more. A library of case studies can help inspire your next lighting project.

Whether or not you use ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager for benchmarking, the agency hosts a wealth of resources, including financial calculators, tips for boosting tenant buy-in for upcoming projects, and more.

Many other utilities have similar offerings; you can also find federal and state incentives for your projects at dsireusa.org.

11) Accelerate Maintenance
Take your preventive maintenance to the next level by implementing alerts, Pease and McReynolds suggest. Paladino is currently investigating power meters that would email team members when wattage exceeds a preset limit, while LinkedIn’s system puts alert functionality into each ceiling fixture.

“Sensors on each fixture will alert anyone in the system if a bulb is out,” says McReynolds. “In terms of a larger strategy, we’re also trying to do batch replacements so that we don’t have to send someone to change individual bulbs. We want to make everything as efficient as possible from the resources standpoint, and being able to see where bulbs are out or fixtures have lost power is very helpful.”

12) Measure and Benchmark
No matter your budget or staffing level, there’s always room for ongoing tracking of energy consumption. Manual analysis of utility bills can be a good place to start, says McReynolds, though LinkedIn plans to upgrade to a sophisticated management system that can aggregate the company’s energy data. Paladino has an in-house green team keeping a constant eye on the building’s performance, a natural transition from the team’s original task of aiding in the design process. Jones Lang LaSalle’s Philadelphia home tracks not only energy, but also materials, food, and other potential green opportunities.

“The only way they’re going to see a bump in energy use is if someone overrides the lighting system and leaves it on,” Kelly says of the Jones Lang LaSalle project. “There’s nothing left to squeeze energy out of in that office.”


Janelle Penny is senior editor of BUILDINGS.


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