To enhance sustainability efforts in commercial and industrial buildings, architects and designers are increasingly turning to innovative lighting solutions. Lighting constitutes around 15% of the world’s electric energy consumption, making it a significant contributor to energy bills in U.S. commercial buildings. In response, architects are exploring design strategies that optimize natural lighting, control artificial lighting, and leverage energy-efficient lighting sources. Efforts to reduce the substantial energy consumption associated with lighting are crucial, given that lighting can account for up to 50% of a commercial building’s energy bill. Architects are embracing the challenge by developing more efficient and adaptive lighting controls and tools. The Department of Energy highlights the potential impact of widespread LED use, estimating an 8.5% reduction in the U.S.’s energy consumption, equivalent to the annual energy output of 44 large power plants and over $30 billion in savings.
Navigating the plethora of lighting options requires expertise, and architects can benefit from collaborating with local utility partners. Energy experts can provide guidance on product selection, technical assistance, financial incentives, and financing options. Programs such as in-store initiatives at select electrical supply distributor locations offer commercial electric customers instant discounts for choosing qualified products. While energy efficiency often begins with replacing traditional light bulbs, contemporary solutions extend beyond simple bulb upgrades. Architects are increasingly favoring efficient, resilient, and adaptable lighting controls. Popular options include networked lighting, which can reduce energy use by an average of 49%, timed scheduling for a 24% average energy savings, and occupancy sensors that can save up to 68% of energy consumption.
In addition to these controls, architects are exploring natural lighting solutions for additional energy savings. Daylight harvesting, adjusting interior lighting based on natural light levels, and dynamic glass, which adapts window tint to meet lighting needs, are gaining traction. These technologies not only optimize energy consumption but also enhance comfort, safety, and convenience. As smart lighting controls become more prevalent, architects and designers must stay informed about evolving solutions to deliver sustainable and supportive design solutions. The expectation is that businesses will benefit from increasingly convenient and efficient lighting solutions. Staying abreast of these advancements is crucial for meeting the energy efficiency goals of clients focused on sustainability for the planet and their financial bottom line.