Lighting can account for up to 40% of a building’s electricity consumption, sometimes more if you’re an office-based business.

Making sure you use artificial lighting as efficiently as possible is therefore one of the lowest-hanging fruits in your energy-saving arsenal.

Here are several tips you can act on quickly, most at very little or no cost:

1. Give people the responsibility or authority to switch off lights when they’re not needed

Consider a ‘last to leave’ switch-off policy at the end of the day (create reminders and promotional materials to raise awareness if needed). If you have banks of switches and it’s not immediately clear which ones relate to which lights, label them to make the process simpler.

  • Myth buster: Turning lights off and back on again does not use more energy than leaving them on, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

2. Maximise natural light

Keep windows and skylights clean and unobstructed to minimise the need for artificial lighting during the day.

  • Tip: Vertical window blinds let in more natural light than horizontal ones.

3. Consider whether lighting levels in specific areas are suitable

Are there non-working areas of the building where you don’t need lighting to be as bright and could therefore remove surplus bulbs, or areas where light could be more focused in specific places?

  • Tip: Use ‘task lights’ that improve lighting at specific workstations, allowing you to reduce general lighting levels in the wider space.

4. Add lighting controls if you do not already have them in place

Examples include timers (e.g., to automatically turn off lights outside of operating hours), daylight sensors, or occupancy sensors that automatically switch off lights in areas of low traffic, such as toilets, storerooms and corridors.

  • Fact: Occupancy sensors could save up to 50% on lighting costs in a typical office and pay back within a few months (or even quicker if you have your own electrician on-site to do the work).

5. If you haven’t already done it, replace your older lights with LEDs 

LED lighting can use up to 90% less electricity than older lamps, and today’s energy prices mean they have a very quick return on investment – well within a year in most scenarios. LEDs can also improve light quality, creating a safer and more comfortable working environment.

  • Tip: If your lighting comes on instantly, with no flicker and is immediately at full brightness, the chances are it’s already LED. If it blinks a lot when starting up, or takes a long time to achieve full brightness, then it’s probably not LED.

The image below shows LED lighting at Bradley Manufacturing in Oldham - read the case study here.

Lighting Bradley Manufacturing

Need support?

If you are seeking a trusted, local supplier for installing energy-saving technologies, use our online marketplace

This blog was originally published on the Bee Net Zero website.

Decarbonise Your Business

Sustainability and net zero support from Green Economy

Expert advice to help you reduce carbon, increase competitiveness and save your organisation money.

Explore services

Access support to decarbonise your business, save money and demonstrate your green credentials. 

Get help in reducing energy usage, improving the efficiency of your building, and to understand new technologies that will help you decarbonise. 

Read more

Contact us today to speak to a sustainability specialist, to help you improve the efficiency of your operation, save money and reduce your carbon impact. 

Get in touch

Share this case study

Alasdair Dalzel-Job

Sustainability Business Advisor

Alasdair provides resource efficiency and environmental risk support to businesses, helping them to identify and implement low carbon solutions. As well as a Master’s degree in clean technology, Alasdair has two decades' experience in the environmental field. He is an ESOS Lead Assessor, a member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, an Associate Member of IEMA and an IEMA Associate Environmental Auditor.