Once upon a time, joking about ‘how many it takes to screw in a light bulb’ was a great way to poke fun at people’s intelligence. After all, what could be easier than screwing in a light bulb? Any idiot could do it.

Not so any more. Lighting has exploded into a sophisticated business. And for those who manage commercial buildings it can be downright intimidating.

Figuring out the difference between LEDs and CFLs is just the start. Then there are a whole range of dimmers, sensors, data loggers and controllers, both wired and wireless, and computer software to bring it all together. There are considerations to be made about light harvesting, interior space planning, and human behavior. And while learning all of this, the building manager is constantly wondering, ‘Will I really save energy? Will my utility bills drop enough to justify the investment?”

Clanton & Associates, a Boulder, Colorado company, is trying to help answer the big cost questions in a newly released, six-month study of life cycle costs for lighting control systems and technologies. Researchers looked at buildings in Boston and Los Angeles that had installed efficient lighting systems.

Dane Sanders, professional engineer at Clanton & Associates, says his company was trying to address the “fear factor” that exists for building owners when it comes to lighting projects. “The growth of these types of systems is happening so fast that keeping up with the technology is difficult,” he said.  “This helps people understand the real benefits of advanced lighting control, and gives some basis for people to make decisions about what lighting control systems best suit their ends.”

 

The study offers some interesting findings for those making their way through the maze of options. Wireless controls, for example, deliver up to 25% lower lifetime costs than comparable wired systems, according to the paper.

Wireless systems with full dimming capability – a Cadillac system — seem to offer the best bang for the buck. “It pays back relatively soon; that is a very interesting conclusion.  Just doing the minimum isn’t necessarily the best. A bit more investment upfront can pay back very quickly,” he said.

Dimmers also get points for being less jarring on the eyes than a sudden on/off of lights. “With dimming it happens slowly and smoothly and is imperceptible,” Sanders said.

In addition, it does make a difference who sits where in a building. The study finds the ‘inverted space plan’ works best, even though it runs counter to traditional office planning.  In the inverted plan open offices are located on the perimeter, where the maximum number of people can take advantage of natural lighting. Private offices are pushed to the interior

Underwritten by Daintree Networks, the study can be downloaded free of charge here.

This blog is open source & copyright free with attribution to www.realenergywriters.com.

Views: 21

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Ed Minch commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Out West 2014
"We have been in the instrumented energy auditing and retrofitting business since 1981 and we have…"
20 minutes ago
Allison A. Bailes III commented on Jim Gunshinan's blog post Energy Out West 2014
"Great article, Jim. I run into cynics, too, and not only are they unrealistic, but they're…"
21 minutes ago
Everblue posted events
34 minutes ago
Stephanie@SaveOnEnergy posted a video

Powered by SaveOnEnergy.com

Ask Kim - How to Read Your Meter

In this episode, Kim explains how to read your electricity meter either to monitor your own consumption or to double check your bill.
1 hour ago
Tom Mallard replied to Kaushal Bharath Raju's discussion Affordability & Deep Energy Upgrade/Passive House Retrofit in Berkeley, California.
"I've been working on simple thermal upgrades and for collecting heat the roof is a best place…"
1 hour ago
Chris Dorsi posted an event
Thumbnail

2014 Habitat X Summer National Conference at Chico Hot Springs

August 25, 2014 to August 28, 2014
The 2014 Habitat X Summer National Conference will take place at Chico Hot Springs, just down the…See More
2 hours ago
Mst. Fatema Aktar is now a member of Home Energy Pros
11 hours ago
Robert Leone added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
Thumbnail

Blower Door Package for Sale

Hi,I am selling my blower door with extras as a package or individually. These items are used but…See More
18 hours ago
Profile IconRobert Leone and Richard Vito joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
18 hours ago
Richard Vito joined Sean Lintow Sr's group
Thumbnail

Best Practices (Residential)

Best Building, Retrofitting, or even Auditing Practices - what are they, what should change, what…See More
yesterday
Richard Vito joined James Sayers's group
Thumbnail

Marketing Energy Efficiency

Sharing ideas, tools and examples of promoting energy efficiency to consumersSee More
yesterday
Richard Vito joined Allison A. Bailes III's group
Thumbnail

HVAC

HVAC design, Manuals J, S, T, & D, Duct leakage, Air flow, ENERGY STAR new home requirements,…See More
yesterday

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service