Finding ways to reduce operational costs is crucial for maintaining profitability and sustainability. One often overlooked area with significant potential for savings is lighting.

Lighting can account for 10–25% of your bill according to Sustainability Victoria. For businesses, it can be as high as 50%, making it a prime target for cost-cutting measures.

This article will guide you through practical steps to reduce your business’s lighting costs without compromising on quality or safety.

We’ll start by explaining how to measure your current lighting levels against Australian standards, ensuring your workspace remains properly illuminated. Then, we’ll explore four effective strategies to optimise your lighting system, from switching to LED technology to implementing smart control systems.

By following these recommendations, you can not only slash your energy bills but also enhance your workplace environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Whether you’re running a small office or managing a large industrial space, these tips will help you achieve energy efficiency and cost savings.

Measure your current lighting levels

There’s an Australian standard (AS/NZ 1680.1:2006) that determines what illuminance light levels are required in certain work areas.

To measure your current light levels, hire or purchase a quality light meter and compare the results with the recommended illuminance in the following table.

Recommended Illuminance (Lux) Areas and Activities

40 – Corridors, walkways.

80 – Change rooms, cleaners’ rooms, internal stairs, loading bays, locker storage, toilets.

160 – Bathing rooms, cafeteria and kitchen area, entrance halls, lobbies and foyers, waiting rooms.

240 – Food preparation areas, medium woodwork, photocopying, training and seminar.

320 – Meeting rooms, office work.

400 – Fine woodwork.

600 – Colour matching, drafting, fine machine work, inspection tasks, laboratories, painting.

800 – Colour matching of dyes, fine inspection tasks.

1200 – Extra fine bench work, graphic arts inspection.

1600 – Jewellery and watch making.

Ways to Reduce Your Lighting Consumption

The goal to reducing your lighting consumption is to optimise your existing system to get the maximum efficiency out of it.

1. Switch to LED lighting

LED lighting is more than 60% efficient than fluorescent and halogen lighting, and significantly reduces your maintenance costs.

A LED downlight can last up to 50,000 hours, which is 25 times longer than a halogen light.

Not only are LEDs more efficient, but they’re also safer. Halogen downlights can heat up to 370°C which can be a fire risk and impact your air-conditioning costs.

The cost of switching to LED can take less than two years to pay for itself.

On average, switching to LED lighting will:

  • cost less than $14,000 to implement
  • save more than $4000 annually
  • take less than 3 years to pay back
  • save more than 30 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually

2. Switch off lights

Lighting a room you’re not using is a waste of energy.

Encourage your staff to switch off lights every time they exit a room or leave for the day. Add ‘switch off’ stickers near light switches and building exits.

3. Install motion detectors and timers

Instead of relying on your staff to switch off lights, install a system that will do the work for you.

Motion detectors can save:

  • 15–35% in an open office
  • 20–65% in meeting rooms
  • 30–90% in toilets
  • 50–90% in warehouses
  • 45–80% in storage rooms

Though installing motion detectors and timers will cost money, they’re guaranteed to save money.

On average, installing motion detectors and timers will:

  • cost less than $3000 to implement
  • save more than $1000 annually
  • take less than 3 years to pay back
  • save more than 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually

4. Zone your lighting

If you have multiple lights in a large area controlled by one switch, an electrician can section your lighting into zones. This allows you to only light areas that are being used.

To know more about lighting and smart home automation, contact us on 1300 522 446.