commercial ceiling lights hanging from the ceiling
Small Business Energy Savings | August 16, 2018

Energy-Efficient Commercial Light Fixtures

You can’t run a small business in the dark. Cafés, salons, stores, warehouses and other businesses need to be well lit. Choosing the right energy-efficient commercial lighting for your small business can lower your energy bill, improve productivity, offer security and even affect customer moods.

Why Small Business Owners Are Choosing Energy-Efficient Commercial Lighting to Save Energy

Along with HVAC systems, lighting is responsible for a significant amount of any business’s energy usage. According to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, electric lighting accounts for 40 percent of commercial building energy consumption in the United States, with the cost of lighting a 10,000-square-foot office building ranging from $4,600 to over $8,300 a year.

Switching to commercial LED lighting or other ENERGY STAR®️ commercial lighting offers small businesses the opportunity to greatly reduce their energy bills.

 

Benefits of Energy-Efficient Commercial Lighting

The best commercial lighting can reduce energy costs and heat waste while encouraging a safe and productive workplace. Read on below to discover other benefits of switching to modern commercial lighting.

1. Save energy by switching to energy-efficient commercial lighting.

While the initial cost of installing energy-efficient office lighting or new warehouse lighting fixtures can be daunting, you’ll make back the money you invest in the project with significant energy savings. The best commercial lights are ENERGY STAR®️ certified and use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

ENERGY STAR certified commercial lights use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs

2. Take advantage of daylight to decrease energy use.

Daylight is the most energy-efficient commercial lighting you can harness. Large storefront windows and warehouse skylights help you use natural daylight in combination with different types of lighting to offset energy costs. Natural light also encourages productivity and makes a favorable impression on customers and clients.

Pro Tip: Energy-efficient windows aren’t only for homes. See how your small business can reap the benefits of energy-efficient windows.

3. Boost employee productivity with a pleasant workspace.

Anyone familiar with the benefits of a daily dose of sunlight knows that light has a huge impact on physical and mental well-being. Studies similarly show that good indoor lighting (especially if it offers some of the benefits of natural sunlight) means more productive employees. A well-lit workspace has a positive effect on the well-being of customers and employees alike, improving mood, morale and productivity.

4. Cut down on heat waste with energy-efficient commercial light fixtures.

Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient at turning electricity into light. Most of the energy used to power these bulbs—90 percent, in fact—is given off as wasted heat. This heat energy, in turn, forces your HVAC system to work harder, further increasing your energy consumption. Energy-efficient commercial lighting produces 70 to 90 percent less heat than traditional lighting.

5. Switch to commercial LED lighting to increase the lifespan of your bulbs.

LED commercial light fixtures use as little as 20 percent of the energy consumed by traditional lighting. LED light benefits also save you money on bulb replacements—the typical LED light has a lifespan up to 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

6. Create a safe workspace with reliable indoor and outdoor commercial lights.

Commercial LED lighting pairs well with automatic timers and motion sensors, so rooms and spaces (both indoor and out) are only lit when occupied. Choosing outdoor lighting with motion sensors also increases security around your property, reducing the likelihood of theft or vandalism.

Pro Tip: Choosing the best commercial lighting helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint and can help you secure LEED certification.

 

Types of Energy-Efficient Commercial Lighting

What types of energy-efficient lighting fixtures are right for your business? Well, that depends on your needs. The lighting you choose will be dependent on what you need it for, but the most common types are task lighting, warehouse lighting fixtures, outside commercial lights for parking lots and commercial ceiling lights for office work.

types of energy efficient commercial lighting include task lights and lay in fixtures

  • Task lights. According to ENERGY STAR®️, task lights are easily mounted lights used to illuminate workspaces and showcases. Task lighting is used to illuminate spaces to help employees accomplish a specific action.
  • Recessed downlights. Downlights are just what they sound like—they’re installed in an opening in the ceiling, allowing light to shine directly down. The housings of recessed LED downlights are hidden from view in the ceiling. Downlights are one of the best commercial lighting options for reducing heat waste.
  • Lay-in fixtures. Commercial ceiling light fixtures are “laid in” along the ceiling’s supporting flanges or hardware. These are typically used to replace your existing recessed fluorescent lights with more efficient fixtures.
  • Desk lamps. Don’t let your employees strain their eyes while hunched over important documents! Portable desk lamps provide focused work light where and when it’s needed.
  • Track lighting. Adjustable light fixtures are mounted to a track containing electrical wiring, reducing the need to directly wire individual fixtures. You’ll most often see this versatile lighting mounted to ceilings or walls in retail spaces or galleries. Track lighting is perfect for areas that need adjustability.
  • Outside commercial lights. Outdoor commercial lighting serves many purposes. It may be used for security, or it could function to highlight aspects of your business front. Cafés often use outdoor LEDs to provide ambient light for outdoor seating.
  • LED warehouse lighting. Designed to provide abundant light for warehouse work while avoiding glare, the best warehouse lights are essential, but most do not qualify for ENERGY STAR®️ certification.

Pro Tip: For more information on energy-saving everyday lighting, check out our article on the different types of energy-efficient lighting fixtures.

 

How to Choose the Best Commercial Lighting for Your Small Business

The best commercial lighting for your small business is dependent on the goals of your workspace. A warehouse needs lighting that safely illuminates the workplace, while a store needs both task lighting and fixtures that highlight displays and products. Restaurants often require soft lights to control the ambiance or to invoke a specific environment that’s difficult to attain with table lamps alone.

Choosing the types of commercial lighting that work for you requires an understanding of how color temperature, color rendition and brightness come together to achieve different lighting tasks.

Select the right color temperature and rendition for your commercial lighting.

The right color temperature and rendition for your commercial ceiling lights in your small business depends on your goals and what you are trying to accomplish. Selecting the correct light temperature and color rendition can have a large impact on employee productivity and can affect a customer’s perception of your small business.

What is light temperature?

Correlated color temperature describes the light provided by a bulb in degrees kelvin (K). Low temperatures of 2,200 K to 3,000 K provide a cozy, warm-white light ideal for restaurants and ambient lighting.

Midrange temperatures of 3,500 K to 4,100 K create a cool, bright light well suited for task lighting, while 5,000 K to 6,500 K offers a bluer white light and creates a feel similar to daylight; it’s often employed as security or display lighting.

What is color rendition?

The International Commission on Illumination’s Test Color Method (commonly known as CRI, for color rendering index) assesses color quality by measuring how a light source makes an object’s color appear to the naked eye.

The CRI has a range from 0 to 100. High CRI (90 or more) mimics daylight and is well suited to reading or detail work. Anything below 80 is considered midrange to low, but most LEDs will have a CRI of 80 or higher.

Pick the correct brightness or dimness for your commercial lighting.

To select the correct brightness or dimness for your commercial ceiling lights, small business owners must first understand how to interpret lumens. Lumens, or digital lumens, tell you the brightness of a light, or how much light a bulb gives off. According to Energy.gov, a 100-watt incandescent bulb produces around 1,600 lumens.

Difference Between Lumens and Watts

When selecting commercial lighting, lights that are too bright can cause eyestrain and headaches, while lights producing low lumens can make workplaces too dim for accurate work and could leave your business looking dark and gloomy.

Pro Tip: Dimmer switches make it easy to adjust the lumens of energy-efficient office lighting to fit your business’s needs; just be sure to select energy-efficient dimmer light bulbs.

Choose direct versus indirect lighting to best fit your small business.

Most commercial ceiling light fixtures use direct lighting, concentrating the light down toward the surfaces below the light fixture. Direct lighting is often used as task lighting in restaurant kitchens and workshops.

Indirect lighting, in contrast, illuminates the surrounding area by directing light upward so that it bounces off walls and ceilings. Indirect lighting is often used in café dining areas or to draw the eye to specific areas of the room.

Decide how to reduce glare for your commercial lighting.

Direct light from warehouse and commercial ceiling lighting fixtures can cause glare, which can obscure what people need to see. This is especially concerning in warehouses and production facilities, where glare can cause accidents. Proper placement of light sources is essential for reducing glare, and the best warehouse lighting reduces glare by using LED or fluorescent fixtures with a more concentrated light force.

 

Additional Energy-Efficient Commercial Lighting Ideas

  • Use motion sensors and timers. Rooms that aren’t in use don’t need to be lit. To maximize the efficiency of energy-saving lights, pair them with motion detectors, dimmer switches and timers. Outdoor automatic lights are useful for security and for controlling when outdoor display lights are in use.
  • Know your space. Your business’s size, layout and ability to use natural daylight all influence your choice of lighting. This is good to keep in mind if you’re constructing a new business site or moving into an existing building.
  • Buy commercial lighting in bulk. Commercial lighting can be expensive, especially when you’re purchasing specialized products such as the best warehouse lighting. Buying commercial lighting in bulk is more cost effective than purchasing single bulbs.
  • Harness the sun. Use solar power to run outdoor lighting. The best outdoor solar lights have light detectors to determine when they should power up and, with the right amount of sunlight, can store enough power to run all night.
  • Recycle your bulbs. Energy-efficient CFL bulbs, high-intensity discharge bulbs, neon lights and fluorescent bulbs all contain mercury, a toxic compound that must be disposed of properly. Recycling CFLs is important for both the environment and people’s health and may be legally required by your state or municipality.

Your business benefits from energy-efficient lighting in multiple ways, from lowering energy costs to improving customer engagement with your storefront or place of work. Even if the task seems daunting, you can offset the initial cost of installing energy-efficient lights by taking advantage of small business energy tax credits, designed to encourage businesses to lower their energy consumption. You can’t do business in the dark, so ensure you’ve got the best commercial lighting to help your company shine.

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