Exploring energy efficiency through green lighting systems

July 19, 2012

The idea that lighting can account for one of the more significant energy expenditures for commercial buildings is one that many owners struggle with, as one rarely thinks about the impact of providing tenants with a more efficient source of light.

However, in a majority of commercial buildings around the U.S., lighting accounts for more than 20 percent of the overall energy use, according to a release from Frost & Sullivan.

This research firm released a report, "Analysis of the North American Lighting Equipment Market," that highlighted how consumers and businesses would benefit from newer technologies like LED lighting to limit the total energy expenditure for their property.

"Uncertainty around energy prices has led to reevaluations of energy consumption," said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Alejandra Lozano. "Building owners, facility managers and homeowners are exploring ways to save energy by replacing their lighting systems with more energy-efficient ones."

There are several laws that were passed in order to limit the amount of energy that lighting systems could use, but companies have been slower than expected to adopt these changes, despite the vast amount of opportunities within the market, according to a release from Frost & Sullivan.

The lighting industry has seen slow progress in the past several years, due to timidity in the markets and a lack of ready capital for many businesses. However, this is beginning to change, and steady growth is expected from now until 2016.

"Lighting manufacturers are also investing in R&D to make products more energy-efficient, longer lasting and affordable," said Lozano. "Novel lighting equipment demonstrates higher efficiency, faster startup, enhanced control, and better light quality, which are improving the uptake of innovative lighting fixtures and controls."

The monetization of energy efficient products is helping to increase the adoption of these technologies, as organizations like the Energy Commercialization Institute (ECI) and the Nanotechnology Institute (NTI) help to fund companies that make major advances in the sector.

"The NTI model led to the ECI model which led to EEB Hub," Tony Green, the director of the ECI, told Keystone Edge. "The difference is that NTI is based on a platform, while the ECI is an application."

The Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB Hub) is the Department of Energy's Innovation Hub for the commercial real estate sector, helping to fund projects that increase the use of retrofits and renovations.