What do you believe is the quickest and easiest ways to improve energy efficiency in your facility? Many proponents of alternative energy would have you believe that solar panels and wind turbines are one of the best ways to go Green and improve energy efficiency. I do not want to knock solar panels and wind turbines, but those are not the best solutions for everyone. While solar panels and wind turbines will allow you to generate your own electricity, taking a business completely off the grid can be cost prohibitive, and many use these solutions to simply reduce their electric bills rather than eliminate them.
Here is a hint: improving how efficiently a business uses energy is a bright idea. Lighting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve energy efficiency at a business. It can seem like someone flipped a switch and the electric meter just slowed down for some lighting conversions. Specifically, I am talking about LED lighting. While LED lighting can be expensive up front, the potential energy savings can be dramatic when compared to standard incandescent, fluorescent, sodium halide, or halogen bulbs currently in use at many businesses. LED’s can save up to 95%, that is quite a bit of savings – so here is a quick math lesson. A typical fixture in a business, depending on the business, uses 60W to 100W bulbs to achieve the best brightness. That means the LEDs that replace these bulbs have to use only 6W to 10W for that magic 90% reduction in energy usage for lighting. While not all fixtures will necessarily generate that kind of reduction, most LEDs will have at least 80% savings in energy usage. The savings also depends on the business and type of operation. I would like to share some examples that have the potential to reduce your energy use nearly 90% on lighting.
Gas stations have a lot of bright lights under their canopies to illuminate the fuel pads, especially if the gas station is operating 24 hours per day. Typically, high pressure sodium, incandescent, or metal halide fixtures that are used to shine some light on the gas pumps use up to 400W. Some LED fixtures can produce the same amount of lighting using only 52W to the fixture. That is an 86% reduction in energy usage. Gas stations usually have at least one light fixture per pump, if not more, so the savings can be huge if an LED fixture, such as this one, is used to replace the existing high pressure sodium, incandescent, or metal halide fixtures.
Not everyone owns their own gas station, however LEDs can serve in a variety of applications. Does your business have can lights recessed into the ceiling? Incandescent bulbs for these fixtures typically are 60W to 120W and can be found in many businesses. The same amount of light output can be generated with just a 6W LED fixture. For the higher end of the lighting output, that is a whopping 95% energy savings compared to an incandescent bulb.
Another popular lighting fixture for businesses is a recessed fluorescent tube fixture, anywhere from 2 feet by 2 feed to 4 feet by 4 feet to match the ceiling tiles. Well, there are LED fixtures for those too. I understand fluorescent fixtures are more efficient than incandescent fixtures, however LED lighting still saves about 75% over fluorescent setups. This particular LED fixture can bring your maximum energy usage down to 14W from a 40W fluorescent fixture. That can still add up to significant savings.
Best of all, to further enhance the energy savings, all the LED fixtures I have presented can be paired with motion sensors and other lighting controls to change the lighting levels. For each of these fixtures, the amount of light at 40% brightness can be generated at 9% energy usage. That means the 52W gas station fixture at just under half brightness will only use 4.68W of energy. I have seen these fixtures in action, 40% brightness is still pretty bright. That means that 4.68W is substituting for a 400W fixture, and we can even say it is a 160W fixture at 40% brightness, and that is a 97% energy reduction from 160W to 4.68W. The 6W can light at 40% brightness uses just over half a watt, and the panel lighting uses about 1.25W at the same lighting levels. It is these numbers that truly demonstrate the savings of LED lighting.
About the Author- One Stop Green, LLC facilitates environmentally friendly improvements to residential and commercial properties through distribution of green, energy efficient products and services. Their goal is to provide practical, long-term, and economical solutions for existing and non-existing facilities while remaining dedicated to the principles of sustainability. One Stop Green’s mission is to help consumers take control of their energy options so they can reduce their carbon footprint and do their part for the environment while protecting themselves against rising energy costs and taking advantage of valuable Federal tax credits and deductions.