Some buildings use a lot of lighting by their very nature. Commercial buildings such as offices, retail stores and warehouses have a large amount of floor space that must be illuminated. So do institutional properties such as schools, hospitals and government facilities. Not only do these spaces require lighting systems of a significant size, but they also must keep them on for extended periods. Even so, many of these places keep their lights on well past the hours one might expect. Although businesses may have a specific rationale for doing this, they should keep the consequences in mind. Fortunately, advanced lighting technology such as that offered by Litetronics can mitigate or prevent some of the consequences of leaving lights on 24/7.
WHY SOME SPACES STAY LIT ALL NIGHT
Why do businesses leave office lights on at night when no one is around? The simplest answer could be that someone forgot to turn them off, but that’s not usually the case. For many, it’s a question of security because lighting deters break-ins. Retailers may leave their stores illuminated after business hours to let passers-by know that they exist or to spotlight certain products. A smaller percentage of properties truly are 24-hour operations, although they may be running at a reduced capacity overnight. Clearly, the question of when to turn off commercial lighting is not as simple as shutting down at 5 p.m. However, just because you have good reasons to keep the lights on all night does not free you from the consequences of doing so.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LIGHTS STAY ON ALL NIGHT?
The most obvious consequence of a 24/7 lighting schedule is the energy usage. The longer you leave the lights on, the higher the electric bill. This can significantly impact the bottom line, especially if you have old incandescent or fluorescent fixtures. You are sure to notice an uptick in maintenance requirements as well, since bulbs and other components wear out much faster when they’re always turned on. If you are asking, “Can I leave building lights on 24 hours a day?” these are some points to consider.
WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS?
It’s preferable to avoid keeping your property’s lights on all the time when you don’t have a compelling reason to illuminate the space. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to accomplish this. One of the biggest is to switch from outdated fixtures to new, energy-efficient LED options if you haven’t done so already. Retrofit kits from Litetronics make the process relatively quick and easy, installing into the existing troffers without the need to open up the ceiling plenum.
To prevent lights from being left on when it’s not necessary, consider installing motion detectors. These shut off the lighting after a certain period of inactivity in a room. They are a good choice for hospitals and other spaces that need to be staffed at all times but may not always be at full capacity.
If you know that specific areas of the building will be uninhabited during a set timeframe, consider using timers to control the lighting systems there. Understanding the building’s usage patterns can help you create a commercial lighting use schedule that will prevent waste.