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Lighting Tips to Reduce Small Business Energy Costs

By Rachel Duthie on January 4, 2019

Selecting lighting for your small business, whether it’s an office, warehouse or store, is important when it comes to not just the aesthetic, but also the bottom line. With a growing number of companies relying on long hours and computer technology, small businesses are increasingly looking for ways to save on electricity.

Implementing energy-saving solutions, especially in regard to small business lighting, can help reduce small business energy costs. The following small business lighting tips can be easy for any business on any budget to achieve.

Switch to LED Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

Whether your work space uses incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, switching to LED lights are a great way for small businesses to save money on electricity. While LEDs do cost more, they only use a fraction of the energy and last a lot longer, which will help your business save money. When compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights, LEDs are the best energy-saving light bulbs for your small business.

LED vs. Incandescent

Most LEDs can last an average of 25,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs last 750 hours. That means for every LED you purchase, you’re saving your business more than 33 incandescent bulbs. Then, you have to factor in the cost of electricity. It costs $240 to light an incandescent bulb for 25,000 hours, compared to the $40 it costs to light an LED. A switch to LED can potentially save your business thousands over the span of just a decade.

LED vs. Fluorescent

Fluorescent bulbs, while better than incandescents, still eat away at your bottom line more than LEDs. Slightly more money than incandescents, fluorescent bulbs are still cheaper than an LED. Where your business will save money by switching from fluorescent to LED will be on lifespan and electricity. Most fluorescent bulbs last about 8,000 hours, compared to the 25,000-hour lifetime of LEDs. That’s more than three fluorescent bulbs for every LED. Not to mention, LED lights use way less electricity, running about 30 percent more efficiently than fluorescent lights.

While switching from fluorescent bulbs to LED can cost more money upfront, the amount you’ll save will make it worth the investment. Mantaline Corporation, a producer of elastomeric products, wanted to make the switch, but didn’t have the capacity to fund the upfront costs. By taking advantage of NOPEC’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) energy efficiency financing, Mantaline used the funds to upgrade the lighting in their Hiram, Ohio, facility. By replacing the existing fluorescent fixtures with LEDs, Mantaline was able to save approximately $19,000 annually in energy savings and maintenance costs.

Use Dimmer Switches

In most work spaces, the lights don’t always have to be on full brightness. Bright lighting can be hard on the eyes, while lowering the brightness tends to make rooms, products and people look better.

Dimmer switches are easy to install and typically cost between $10 and $25. When you turn down the dimmer, you lower the amount of electricity being sent to the bulb, which will help save your business money. You’ll also be extending the life of your bulbs since they’ll be requiring less power.

Add Controls and Sensors

Lighting controls and sensors help small businesses save energy costs by automatically turning off lights when they’re not needed. Motion sensors can be used for interior purposes, like when an employee forgets to turn a light off when leaving a conference room or leaving the office at the end of the day. They can also be used for exterior purposes as a security measure or if an employee has to come in late at night or early in the morning. Additionally, you can install daylighting controls to adjust the interior light levels based on the available daylight.

When Mantaline replaced it’s lighting fixtures with LEDs, most were also equipped with occupancy sensors to enhance energy efficiency. This contributed to the company’s annual $19,000 in energy savings.

Shut the Lights Off

Keeping the lights on at all hours, even at night when nobody is at work, can be a good added security measure for your small business. However, not all businesses need to keep the lights on when you have security cameras, security alarms and a lock system. Turning off the lights, especially at night, can reduce costs on a businesses’ electric bill.

Do your employees forget to turn off the lights before they leave? Many businesses will put up signs to remind employees to turn off the lights before they leave a room or the office at night.

Make Use of Natural Light

If it makes sense for your space, adding windows and skylights can cut down on the need for lights. This will reduce the need for lights to be on full brightness—or even at all—and help your business reduce its electricity costs.

Not to mention, Harvard Business Review reported that natural light is an in-demand workplace perk. It makes sense when you consider the additional benefits natural light brings, such as boosting employee productivity and happiness.

Need financing to help your small business become more energy efficient? NOPEC’s PACE loan program allows commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement projects by offering low interest rates. Learn more about the benefits of a PACE loan, so you can start saving on small business energy costs.

Tags: NOPEC, Energy Efficiency
Categories: Small Business

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