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Lighting is one of the biggest areas for potential energy savings

In offices there is potential to save up to 40% of your energy costs associated with lighting.

And in industrial settings good design and control can save up to 75% of industrial buildings lighting costs.

Getting the lighting right also has other benefits including:

  • Improving staff morale
  • Increasing productivity
  • Avoiding workplace accidents.

Improving office lighting

Lighting uses about one third of the total energy used by a commercial building.

There are a number of no-cost or low-cost actions you can take to reduce the amount of energy used for lighting your office including:

  • Turn off lights that are not needed - especially those in foyers, toilets and cupboards
  • Install direct sensors, controls and timers in areas that are not used all the time
  • Use daylight - pull up window shades and lay out desks and other equipment to make the most of natural light
  • Maintain the lighting system including keeping lamps, diffusers and fixtures clean
  • Make sure the level of lighting is correct for your workplace and selectively reduce the number of lamps in over-lit areas
  • Replace fluorescent lamps in bulk with triphosphor fluorescent lamps which give out more light.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps, particularly for lights used more than four hours a day.

Improving industrial lighting

Good lighting design and control can save up to 75% of an industrial building's lighting costs.

The first step is to turn off unnecessary lights. Frequent switching reduces the life of fluorescent lamps, but reduced running hours means the lamps last longer. It's economical to turn off fluorescent lights if they are not required for more than 20 minutes[1].  High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps have long start/restart times, so it's not a good idea to turn them off for short periods. However if there's enough natural light they can be turned off.

Other no-cost and low-cost actions you can take to reduce lighting operating costs:

  • Use daylight - industrial and storage buildings can often take advantage of daylight through skylights and clear roofing panels 
  • Maintain and clean the lighting system - it's important to clean light fittings in industrial buildings, as light levels can drop dramatically when dirty.

Lighting controls in action

Case study: World Vision - upgrading its lighting system led to cost savings

The head office of NGO World Vision of New Zealand is saving more than $20,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs after upgrading their lighting. Read the case study to find out more.

Case study: Auckland Airport - new lighting improves customer ambience and saves energy

Upgrading the lighting at Auckland's International Terminal has improved the check-in environment for passengers and staff, cut energy and maintenance costs by more than $80,000 a year and won a lighting award along the way. Read the case study to find out more.


More information



[1] Carriere & Rea "Economics of Switching Fluorescent Lamps" IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Vol 24, No 3, May/June 1988,




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