Squinting toward retirement: A boon for the lighting industry

Americans report in surveys that they are likely to retire later than expected as a result of this economic downturn that doesn’t seem to want to quit.  While that’s bad news for golf courses and Florida real estate, it helps one industry: energy efficient lighting.

We are squinting, rather than sprinting toward retirement these days. As part of the post-50 crowd, I very much appreciate good lighting in my work space, and I discovered that I am not alone in researching a recent report on lighting.

Why do we geezers need better lighting? A 60-year-old employee’s eyes receive only 40 percent as much light as a worker who is 30 to 40 years younger, according to a paper by Leviton. These older employees tend to dislike the one-size-fits-all lighting of most commercial buildings; in fact, find it stressful.

Lighting is best when tailored to the needs of the individual. This can be done by giving employees manual override of automated lighting, so that they can adjust brightness and color depending on what they are doing in their work station at any given moment. And of course that is one of the features touted by lighting control manufacturers – the ability of consumers to customize lighting preferences.

Why worry so much about worker comfort? Happy workers tend to stay in their jobs, and that saves employers money, says a white paper “Personal Control: Boosting Productivity, Energy Savings” by the Lighting Controls Association. New employees need about 13.5 months on the job to achieve maximum work performance. As a result, worker turnover costs a business about 1.2 to 2 times the salary allotted for the position. Research indicates that workplace design plays a significant role in employee satisfaction. And right now many people dislike the lighting, heat and acoustics of their workplace, even young folk.

Improving lighting doesn’t necessarily mean giving employees their own remotely control light bulbs – although it helps. The Light Right Consortium looked at six different lighting options in a typical office space in Albany, New York. Between 81 percent and 85 percent of employees said they were comfortable with a lighting design that provided direct/indirect lighting and wallwashing. By comparison, designs that provided light only from above received a ‘comfortable rating’ from only 69 to 71 percent of study participants. But the combination that the employees liked most included direct/indirect lighting, wallwashing and dimming controls that allowed workers to customize their lighting. This design won a ‘comfortable’ rating from 91 percent of employees.

Lighting is a booming industry.  The use of LED lighting, alone, is expected to grow by 30 percent in 2011 and become a $1 billion market by 2014, according to a study, “Enterprise LED Lighting Research Report,” by Groom Energy and Greentech Media. The study targets the market for commercial and industrial LED lighting. Similar growth is occurring in the lighting controls market. Pike Research sees global revenue for lighting controls rising from $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion by 2016.  Businesses, not households, are driving this growth.

Many factors account for the lighting industry’s enviable boom. But one, I think, is that it enjoys a feature most green energy products do not. Efficient and well-planned lighting provides immediate and concrete satisfaction. In contrast, I may really like the idea of my employer installing solar panels, but my senses won’t register a difference in the building’s electricity. In that regard, efficient lighting may be the “cell phone” of energy that the industry has sought for so many years – a product that can attract the mass market and turn conventional technology on its ear.

See Elisa Wood’s report “Energy Efficient Lighting Explained: A guide for business people wh...

Views: 27

Comment

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

Join Home Energy Pros

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Kim added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

QA Weatherization Field Inspector Philadelphia or Northern New Jersey

QA Weatherization Field Inspector (Phila. Or Northern New Jersey)Are you looking for a…See More
1 hour ago
Barbara Smith's video was featured

Advanced framing techniques

In some ways building a new house hasn't changed much over the last 100 years. Some builders are changing the way a home is constructed to make sure the hous... From Alliant Energy PowerHouse TV Channel on YouTube
1 hour ago
Kim joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

Job Board

This group is for posting jobs related to all aspects of the home performance industry including…See More
1 hour ago
Profile IconKim, Brandon Robidoux, Damon Morales and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros
2 hours ago
Michael Woodham posted a photo

Shelves & Cabinets Maker - Spaceworks Design

Renovate your Home & Office by installing Shelves and Custom Cabinets!Stunning Home &…
12 hours ago
Thermodyne Boilers posted a discussion

Major problems which can cause troubles in Boilers

Most boilers come with a manufacturer’s warranty.…See More
12 hours ago
Kevin Daly added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
Thumbnail

Minneapolis Blower Door Model 3 for sale

Selling minimally used Minneapolis Blower Door DG-700 model 3. Includes model 3 fan, DG-700…See More
17 hours ago
marius gherman posted a video

Winter conditions, perfect operation - ROTEX / DAIKIN heat pump

FIAMMA company, ROTEX partner in Romania, offering turnkey packages to improve energy efficiency, from supply to installation. With an experience of over 25 ...
yesterday

Home Energy Pros

Welcome to Home Energy Pros – the unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network. Please honor our Guidelines

© 2017   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service