Let The Light In

Who wants to be left in the dark? Good lighting ensures that both customers and employees feel comfortable in your business. Three common lighting strategies that can save money and reduce electricity use are daylighting, task lighting, timers and motion sensors.

Daylighting:  South facing windows are usually considered the best for natural light. In the summer, these windows bring in lower, indirect sunlight and more direct sunlight in the winter.  Consider painting the walls and ceiling a lighter color to allow light to bounce around in the space. Arrange workspaces or customer seating to take advantage of daylighting.

A business can add more light by installing traditional or tubular skylights. Traditional skylights offer an attractive appearance, view of the sky, and some can be opened for additional ventilation. Tubular skylights are useful where there is little space for traditional skylights, do not need the same structural support, and are less expensive to purchase and install. Tubular skylights also tend to blend in with conventional light fixtures because of their smaller size.

Daylight sensors are a great way to take advantage of daylighting and save money. These sensors monitor the amount of natural light and dim or turn off electric lighting when there is enough daylight.

Task Lighting:  Overhead electrical lighting can be a great way to light up a whole space, but often cast shadows in work areas. Task lighting (also called zone lighting) in food prep areas or office spaces can offer employees less eye strain and a safer work environment. Task lighting also offers more control. Many types can be adjusted to illuminate different task areas, and individual lights or zones can be turned off and on to save energy.  In task lighting versus overhead lighting, task lighting uses much less power to illuminate specific spaces.  To save even more money and electricity, make sure that the task lighting uses energy efficient bulbs such as CFLs and LEDs.

Timers and Motion Sensors:  Both timers and motion sensors automate the use of electrical lighting. Posting signs can help customers and employees remember to turn off lights in common areas, but there are many areas in a typical building that are used according to a set schedule. Timers can be used to turn on or off lights at certain times of day.

Motion sensors are commonly seen in outdoor lighting, but are great for spaces with unpredictable usage. Public restrooms are a good example: a customer doesn’t need to know where the light switch is located and energy isn’t wasted because the light is left on.

All of these solutions offer great ways to make your business more inviting while reducing energy use and saving money. For more information about tubular skylights and green lighting solutions for your business, check out these links:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/energy-solutions/tubular-skylights-introduce-daylight-dark-homes

http://continuingeducation.construction.com/article.php?L=95&C=262

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