Eco-Living Magazine

Energy-Efficient Lighting For The Workplace: Your Sustainability-Motto Made Large

Posted on the 09 October 2012 by T_mackinnon @tedmackinnon

Energy-Efficient Lighting For The Workplace: Your Sustainability-Motto Made Large

There’s a motto you’ve probably adopted and you might not even realize it. It’s when you pick up a piece of plastic blowing on the sidewalk and stuff it into your pocket. It’s when you drive across town to recycle your glass because the recycling company that comes to your house doesn’t take glass. You mutter this motto to yourself when you flip off the lights when your family goes to bed because you don’t want a single useless lamp turned on for the duration of the night.

The motto goes something like this: “Every little bit counts.” Or maybe it’s this: “Small changes produce big impacts.” Maybe it’s not something you can communicate with simple phrases. But you carry the belief that we have a moral obligation to act sustainably in every situation. A piece of plastic picked up or a lamp switched off can add up to make a huge impact.

A main tenet of sustainable living is that we ought to live by example. The message spreads like a virus—person-to-person, company-to-company—and it’s working. Like you, most businesses are now interested in finding ways to change their wasteful habits. If you’re looking to help nudge your workplace along the greener path, here are a few ways that your small sustainability efforts can translate to big change on a corporate scale:


Maybe you already use energy efficient lighting in your home. LEDs and CFLs are a great way to reduce the energy used for lighting in smaller places. LEDs often last far more than 10 times longer than compact fluorescent lights, and CFLs reduce CO2 emissions that normally come with incandescent and fluorescent lights. But what about your work place?

If you work in an office, you might be able to implement similar light-saving technologies that you use in your home. Look for places in your office where low-efficiency bulbs are being used and talk to whomever is in charge about replacing them with energy efficient options.


If you work in a factory, warehouse or large office, chances are that the workplace uses either incandescent, compact fluorescent or high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Each one uses a different amount of energy, but none are especially friendly for the environment. These are commercial lights designed to light large places, and they don’t have a great history for efficient energy use. However, by employing lighting controls and dimming ballasts, companies can now significantly reduce the amount of energy used for commercial lighting. It might not be quite as simple as switching out bulbs in smaller offices, but it can have the same big effect.


Does your company need incentive beyond saving the environment? Well, don’t be too harsh on them. Companies have one goal: make money. If they can do some good for the community along the way, then they probably will if they can, but you’ll need to speak their language to get them to seriously consider big changes in their warehouses and offices.

Of course, if you are working to get high-efficiency bulbs into your workplace, you should be able to convince some of the higher-ups by mentioning that these lights last much longer, and therefore require you to purchase fewer of them over time. Additionally, the government rewards companies who seek out sustainable energy usage. These come in the form of tax breaks, and they can be significant tax breaks. Do the research on companies that have already transitioned to energy efficient lighting. Get a figure of what they save each year in tax cuts and lowered lighting costs. This is a great piece of information to give to the people at your company who control lighting and maintenance issues.

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