Here’s a BRIGHT Idea: Upgrade Your Lighting to Save Money

Over the past decade, lighting technology has grown by leaps and bounds. LED bulbs, low cost automated switches and low energy safety lighting have made both savings and security available to every business owner and home owner. This means that upgrading lighting is literally a “bright” idea for business developers and persons renting commercial or other business space. It’s an easy way of making the business location more energy efficient, more secure, and in turn save the renter a lot of money on their utility and insurance bills.


LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology has been at the forefront of the lighting industry. In addition to being long lasting, LED bulbs only require a fraction of the energy of their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.


* The person paying the utility bill (typically the renter) replaces the existing bulbs with LED bulbs. The savings adds up pretty quickly.

* Changing from fluorescent to LED bulbs, the energy savings is still 80% of the energy cost for using fluorescent bulbs. (LED lights require less energy to operate; hence the cost savings.)

* LED bulbs generate half the heat that incandescent and fluorescent bulbs produce. Given the number of bulbs in the average commercial space, replacing existing bulbs with LED bulbs will save money by reducing AC energy usage.

Because the savings is constant per bulb, a small business and a large business both save 80% (fluorescent to LED) or 90% (incandescent to LED) on energy costs for lighting. LED lights come in a variety of shapes, sheens, and widths to match nearly any light fixture. Retrofit bulbs, and u-shaped, and circline tubes are among the many options available. In most cases, the savings pays for the LED bulbs in three years.


Low cost automated switches turn lights on when a room is occupied and off when the room is empty. While most commercial spaces need to be continuously lit, some commercial spaces are used only intermittently, like bathrooms and storage rooms. These intermittently used spaces only need lighting a fraction of the business day.

As with LED bulbs, most automated switches can be easily installed by the building owner or renter. Given the average usage for restrooms in commercial spaces, automated switches can pay for themselves in three years even when they control LED bulbs.


Many businesses turn off lights at night, leaving their space dark and vulnerable. Some businesses leave their lights on to discourage vandalism and theft. Another alternative is to install low energy safety lighting.

In recent years, several companies have developed low energy LED lighting built into outlet cover plates and switch plates. Coming in both standard outlet and Decora outlet styles, these outlet plates have photosensor controlled LED bulbs that use less than 1 watt per hour saving 90% compared to a standard commercial space LED bulb.

Replacing existing outlet plates with safety light plates is simple for any building owner or renter. The cost of replacing the majority of outlet plates with these safety light plates is quickly recuperated in three years compared to after hours lighting.

Businesspersons who use rented space should also keep the old bulbs, original switches and outlet plates when they upgrade to LED, switches and safety lighting. Why? The LEDs will last 50,000 operating hours on average. For most businesses, that translates to 1,500 operating days or nearly five years! When moving to a new location, they should switch the bulbs, switches and outlet plates, putting the old bulbs, switches and plates back and taking their LEDs, automated switches and safety lighting with them to install in the next location.


The morale of the story: Replace LED light bulbs, install automated switches and safety lighting whenever you have the opportunity, and become more energy conscious of other potential cost savings. Your efforts will also lead to a greener tomorrow.

Mary J. Gibson

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