Lighting the Way

The energy used for lighting accounts for more than 10 percent of energy use from a typical large building in New York City. Lighting upgrades often have some of the quickest payback periods, so you can often recoup the upfront cost in two years or less.

Light Bulbs

Traditional incandescent bulbs waste energy because they create more heat than light. Replacing them with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), or other high-efficiency fluorescent lighting is a simple way to begin saving.

Lighting Controls and Sensors

In many buildings, common areas are lit around the clock, even when no one is around. Lighting controls and sensors automatically turn lights on or off when you need them, which reduces the energy used for lighting as well as electricity costs. You can install:

  • Vacancy sensors that require someone to manually switch lights on, but automatically shut lights off after the room is vacant for a set period of time
  • Occupancy sensors that automatically switch lights on when someone enters the room and switch them off when they leave
  • Timers that switch lights on and off at scheduled times of day
  • Photocells that sense natural daylight and shut off or dim lights accordingly
  • Bi-level switching that dims lamps when full lighting is not needed, such as in stairwells

Technology Primers

Additional Lighting Resources