Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Light Switch

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Light Switch

Article excerpt

LIGHT SWITCH Low-cost lighting solutions and technology can reduce energy use and expenses

NOW THAT YOU HAVE A GREEN PROGRAM GOING AND YOU'VE STARTED ADJUSTING YOUR THERMOSTATS, WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO GREEN YOUR OPERATIONS?

Lighting improvements offer a practical way to green operations and shrink expenses in a tough economy. Recent studies show that lighting systems use over 20 percent of America's electricity. In commercial buildings they can use up to 40 percent.

The best method for reducing lighting costs is to simply turn out the lights! Scan common areas for lights that are on unnecessarily. Pay special attention to elevators - many are lit 24/7. Educate tenants on the importance of turning out lights and using efficient lighting alternatives. Host a lunch-and-learn session, post information on your building's Web site -be creative. In 2008, TIAA-CREF provided compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to each of its employees and each employee of the tenant companies in its investor- owned office buildings. They also installed almost 150,000 CFLs in the residents' apartments within their multifamily portfolio.

Instruct night and weekend security staff to turn off lights as well. Ask janitorial staff to team-clean so they use lights in one area at a time. Night cleaning can account for 25 percent of lighting usage in an office building.

You should also consider installing motion sensors in restrooms, closets, maintenance areas, conference rooms and elevators. In stairwells, install dimmable lights on motion sensors. If you already use occupancy sensors, investigate reducing the amount of time that lights remain on. Additionally, revisit the energy management system (EMS) and timer schedules to see if lights can be turned on later or off earlier.

Always perform routine maintenance and ensure that controls work properly. …

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