"When I consider how my light was spent..." -- John Milton
Whenever I get a call from a company executive who wants to cut operating expenses without laying off any people, I can suggest more than a dozen areas. One of the most obvious is lighting. Everyone's got it, but most people don't use it efficiently.
1. Three Cheers for Fluorescent Lighting: For those who still have incandescent bulbs, get rid of them tomorrow! You will immediately realize a 3 to 5 times savings. This is the most basic change you can make. Many people think it is the only change. Not so. The last 20 years have seen remarkable developments in lighting, yet very few companies are benefiting from them.
2. Low Technology: For those who already have fluorescents, the easiest change you can make, and the first one I recommend, is to reduce the number of tubes. One of my clients, a bank in the Midwest, has 750 single-tube fluorescent fixtures in its lobby and main circulation areas. When I asked why they were attempting to light Madison Square Garden, they explained that the fixtures
were installed before they knew the office layout. Our solution was to remove half the tubes. This cut their electric bill in half.The place is still more than adequately lit and they have lots of left-over tubes for future use.
3. Another possibility is to pull out two of the tubes and one of the ballasts and install special custom reflectors in each quad fixture. The reflectors cost about $30-40 (installed), provide about 90% of the fixtures original light and, again, cut your electric bill in half. Cleaning your lighting fixtures will generally reduce your costs even further.
4. High Technology: Most of us have seen lighting systems that are designed to go on when someone enters the room and off when that person leaves. The device that makes this happen is called a motion detector. A sonic detector reacts to entrances and exits, but it is usually best to go with a combined sonic-infrared system that will make the lights stay on as long as there is a warm body in the room. These are great in areas that are used infrequently, like bathrooms, conference rooms, lunch/break rooms, warehouses, and store rooms.