When it comes to lighting, there’s a trend toward natural light and energy-efficient bulbs. But lighting best practices for office space go far beyond that.
Consider this: Companies – and workers – want to maximize productivity while at the office. That means feeling alert, engaged and at their peak performance. Lighting is a key factor in that equation.
Indeed, lighting influences not only everyday operations but worker comfort and effectiveness. General Electric (GE) is outlining six trends driving office lighting best practices, from dimming down over-lit areas to saving watts to setting a more productive mood. So read on if you want to discover new opportunities to positively impact employee satisfaction and the profitability of your business center by helping your tenants work at their best.
1. Overcome Over-lighting
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America recommends a 30- to 50-foot-candle (fc) range for ambient office lighting, yet most workspaces are lit to 60 fc on average. Over-lighting can mean unnecessary eyestrain for occupants and higher energy costs for companies. Instead, GE recommends a layered lighting design offers advantages.
A study by the California Lighting Technology Center and the California Energy Commission PIER Program found that utilizing low energy-consumption, LED-based localized task lighting as the primary layer of light in offices resulted in a 50 percent savings in lighting energy usage, and overwhelming user satisfaction. That’s proof that even a simple lighting design change can make a significant difference.
2. Retrofit for ROI
Sometimes a simple re-lamping can be a straightforward path to savings. In thousands of office buildings across America, millions of legacy linear fluorescent lighting systems are costing companies uncalculated amounts of energy. What building managers might not realize is that reducing energy use just a few watts per fixture can add up to dramatic savings.
For MetLife, a more efficient T8 lamp and ballast system will yield an annual $196,000 cost reduction at its St. Louis administrative center and less interruption to workflow from maintenance on old, energy-draining T12 fixtures. Re-lamping with more efficient linear fluorescent lighting can be an easy path to annual energy savings.
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3. Look Out for Savings
Jo-Ann Stores, the nation’s largest fabric and craft retailer, reduced lighting costs in its 777,000-square-foot headquarters parking lot by $28,000 a year with outdoor LED lighting fixtures from GE. Advances in LED lighting technology have ushered in a new generation of efficient systems utilizing innovative optics to better “aim” light where it’s needed – meaning LED fixtures using 200 watts or less can effectively do the work of traditional 400- and 1,000-watt high-intensity discharge (HID) systems.
4. Take Control
Building managers increasingly rely on smarter lighting control systems to help regulate the use of light. Occupancy sensors, for instance, make it easy to ensure lighting is only on in active areas of a workspace. That saves energy. The U.S. General Services Administration recently evaluated the performance of occupant-responsive lighting technology in five federal buildings and realized annual energy savings of 27 to 63 percent, varying by site.
5. Give Control
Studies also show that occupants feel more satisfied when given individual control over lighting in their workspace. Allowing employees to adapt their surroundings to their personal preference may seem inconsequential, but it can go a long way to improving mood and inviting collaboration throughout the office. The New York Times Building in midtown Manhattan is a case study in the benefits of task lighting and its potential influence on worker productivity in a cutting-edge work environment.
6. Simplify Your Ceilings
An integrated lighting and ceiling system can distinguish a new building or bring sophistication to outdated office space. This approach adds visual interest to a room by creating channels of light that run the length of the ceiling – the result is an uncluttered, uninterrupted look that can be unlike anything clients or customers have seen before.