Did you know that up to 90% of the cost of a lighting system is the energy usage? By switching to newer, more energy-efficient lighting, you can save up to 40% of your energy costs.
“There have been huge advances in energy-efficient lighting over the past 10 years,” said Steve Frank, a Division Manager with Facility Solutions Group, a lighting and electrical management services company. “One of the biggest operating costs for any business is electrical consumption. Any time we can reduce operating costs, then the company is more profitable.”
Fewer Watts = Lower Energy Usage
Newer FSG Lighting technologies use lower wattage and less energy—but are still brighter than the older, high-wattage lights, such as sodium, fluorescent, metal halide, and halogen. New products include:
- Efficient linear fluorescents
- Efficient LED lights
- Occupancy sensors
- New reflectors
- Electronic ballasts
“Some lighting products now offer a 100,000-hour life,” said Frank. “At that rate, even if the bulb burns 24 hours a day, it can last nearly 12 years.”
Brightness Improves Productivity
In addition, the newer, brighter lighting can improve productivity—and reduce worker errors and injuries that happen in a dimly lit warehouse, said Maureen Parker, a Safety and Warehouse Equipment specialist at IBT Industrial Solutions.
“In a large warehouse with poor lighting, shadows are created that make it difficult to read a long part number on a shelf, or see obstructions on the floor,” Parker said. “By improving the lighting, you not only save money on energy, but you’ll see fewer mistakes and accidents.”
Take Advantage of Rebates and Incentives
Parker added that another reason to upgrade light fixtures now is the availability of financial incentives. Some local municipalities are currently offering rebates to convert to the more efficient lighting, such as KCP&L and Ameren in Missouri. Federal tax credits are available as well, but are set to expire December 31, 2013.
“The tax credits may be renewed through 2014, or they may not,” Parker said. “Now is the time to act. Check with your local government office and energy supplier.”
Free Lighting Audit
Parker added that her team at IBT offers a free lighting survey and energy audit to any facility interested in saving money on energy costs. The audit identifies high-energy-consumption lighting and “dark spots” in the warehouse and recommends newer bulbs and fixtures that achieve the level of light needed—at a lower cost. The team then installs the upgrades, disposes of the old bulbs, and documents the disposal.
“Most businesses start saving money as soon as the lights are switched over,” Parker said. “The newer lights are very low-maintenance and you don’t have to replace the bulbs as frequently.”
Neodesha Plastics Upgrades Their Lighting
Neodesha Plastics, Inc. is a plastic manufacturer that engineers custom plastics parts for customers worldwide. Recently, they worked with IBT to install lighting in their new Kansas facility.
Neodesha went to the new T5 fluorescents, working with Kerry Haines at IBT for the light design and layout. By running the lights at 480 volts, they now have much cheaper energy consumption. “We’re really happy with the change,” said one employee. “It has made a huge difference in lighting.”