Energy Efficient Gadgets
Energy Department Announces Market-Driven Energy-Saving Specifications for Commercial Lighting
February 15, 2012
The Energy Department today announced new voluntary energy-saving specifications for lighting troffers – rectangular overhead fixtures used in commercial buildings – as well as parking lot and parking structure lighting. The new performance criteria were developed by the Department of Energy’s Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEAs), which bring together major U.S. companies from a wide range of sectors to identify and implement successful energy efficiency and cost-saving practices. Building operators can voluntarily adopt these specifications for new buildings or building upgrades to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.
The potential to reduce the nation’s energy use through better lighting choices is enormous. On average, over half of the lighting fixtures in commercial buildings operate for more than 10 hours a day and collectively consume more than 87 terawatt hours of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the energy used by nearly 3 million homes. These new commercial lighting specifications can reduce energy use by more than 40% compared with conventional lighting and have the potential to save businesses up to $5 billion annually.
The new CBEA High Efficiency Troffer Specification provides minimum performance levels for LED and fluorescent troffers used in commercial buildings, including offices and restaurants. The new specification delivers energy savings of between 15% and 45% compared with conventional systems. The specification also includes an optional section on lighting controls, which can boost savings up to 75% by employing technologies such as motion sensors and timers.
DOE also released updated specifications for high-efficiency parking lot and parking structure lighting. Both public and private organizations are increasingly using systems that meet DOE’s high efficiency parking lot lighting specification. This specification typically reduces energy use by 50% compared with conventional parking lot lighting. Some early adopters of the new specifications include Walmart, Lowe’s, and Cleveland Clinic.
WalMart now uses energy-saving lights that meet the specification in new parking lot sites, and is upgrading more than 250 existing lots. The company reports energy savings of 58% compared with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, a widely used commercial building code. Lowe’s has tested lighting systems that meet the specification at several sites and plans to expand their use. Based on these and other successful installations, others, such as MGM Resorts International and the U.S. General Services Administration, are also considering upgrading their lighting to meet the new specification.
Through the CBEA, the Energy Department collaborates with building owners, operators, and manufacturers to develop minimum performance requirements that are voluntarily adopted by CBEA members. Increased adoption of energy-saving specifications can help American businesses cut costs, reduce energy use, and increase their competitiveness.
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE’s support of building technologies, and about the Department’s Commercial Buildings Energy Alliances.