We all know that feeling. You put on a coat that you haven’t worn since last year, dig your hands into the pockets and instantly recognize the texture of crisp linen and cotton fibers that can only be one thing – paper money. It’s like you just won a mini lottery. The funny thing about those happy times is that you didn’t actually get anything new. That money was always yours, it was just hiding from you. Waiting for you to find it. The same is true with energy efficiency for your business. Most businesses operate pretty inefficiently and with a little effort, you too can find money that’s been hiding out of your sight.

Depending on location within the US, lightning makes up roughly 27% – 43% of all energy consumption in a typical office building. With such a large portion of electricity expenses coming from lightning, businesses can benefit immensely from quick, no/low-cost energy efficiency solutions. These changes will help you save 20%, 30%, or sometimes even more off your lighting expenses. And the great thing about this type of savings is that it goes straight to your bottom line every month.

Q: So how do you transform your business’s use of energy for lighting from guzzling to sipping?

A: Convert your bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs.

Sounds simple enough, but there’s actually some technical information that you should know before opening a new browser tab and heading to Amazon to buy a bunch of bulbs in bulk.

How are energy efficient light bulbs better than traditional incandescents?

Traditional bulbs use a ton of energy to produce light and when converting that energy to visible light, they are extremely inefficient. In fact, 90% of the electricity these bulbs consume is turned into and wasted as heat! That means that for every dollar of electricity you spend on lighting your business with incandescent bulbs, you’re throwing away 90¢.

How do you ensure you’re buying efficient bulbs?

To guarantee that you select more efficient light bulbs when shopping, be sure to compare lumens. If you’re like most of us, you are accustomed to buying lights based on how much energy, or watts, they use. But as we demonstrated in the previous paragraph, wattage tells you how much energy a bulb consumes rather than how much light that bulb actually produces. So, wouldn’t it make more sense to buy lights based on how much light they supply instead? That’s where lumens come in. A lumen is the measure of brightness a light bulb produces. When comparing bulbs, the higher the bulb’s lumens, the brighter the light bulb.

Energy efficient bulbs – like ENERGY STAR LEDs – can produce the same amount of light (lumens) while using about 25% of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs consume. They will also last roughly 25 times longer.

To be sure you’re getting the amount of light, or level of brightness you want, the below chart will guide you in swapping incandescents for efficient bulbs:


You now get to pick a color – and it really matters.

Switching from Watts to Lumens might seem like a big change, but you should also consider the light’s appearance or color. Energy efficient bulbs come in a variety of colors. These colors set the mood so to speak and are one of the key factors in you liking the bulbs you pick. Listed on a temperature spectrum using Kelvin (K), warmer lighting that is oranger will fall on the lower end of the K scale. As a reference point, 2,700 K is roughly equivalent to an incandescent bulb (a warm white). A cooler white light with more blue hues – similar to daylight will have about 7,000 K.

Here is a label showing the color on the Kelvin scale:

Lighting Facts Lumens Label

How much money will I save when I switch to these new bulbs?

Lighting Operating Cost

Learn how to save even more!

Although switching your lighting will make a major impact on your bottom line, why stop there? Check out the three major areas where you can reduce your energy costs by reading our post Reduce Energy Costs Through Energy Efficiency With These 3 Steps.

Bonus tips:

Using T8 or T5 fluorescent bulbs can save you up to 35% on your energy usage.

Traditional exit signs cost an estimated $28/year per sign to operate. By switching to LED exit signs (which operate at $4/year), you can save $24/year per sign and these LED signs will last for 10 years.

Conserve light by only brightening areas that need light or installing occupancy sensors and use the correct type of light – task light vs. overhead light – to save up to 15% on your lighting bill.

Clean your lights at least twice a year. Dirt on light bulbs can reduce brightness by upwards of 50% while still drawing the same amount of energy.

What you should do now

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