Reduce lighting costs in your business

Last updated: 9 February 2021

Lighting can account for 10–25% of your bill. For some businesses, it can be as high as 50%.

There are ways you can reduce the amount of energy you use to light your business. Upgrading your lighting can:

  • reduce your energy bill
  • reduce maintenance costs
  • improve safety and work conditions for your employees
  • lower your business’ carbon footprint.

The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.

Measure your current lighting levels

There’s an Australian standard (AS/NZ 1680.1:2006) that determines what illuminance light levels are required in certain work areas.

To measure your current light levels, hire or purchase a quality light meter and compare the results with the recommended illuminance in the following table.

Recommended illuminance (Lux) Areas and activities
40 Corridors, walkways.
80 Change rooms,<br> cleaners' rooms, internal stairs, loading bays, locker storage, toilets.
160 Bathing rooms, cafeteria and kitchen area, entrance halls, lobbies and foyers, waiting rooms.
240 Food preparation areas, medium woodwork, photocopying, training and seminar.
320 Meeting rooms, office work.
400 Fine woodwork.
600 Colour matching, drafting, fine machine work, inspection tasks, laboratories, painting.
800 Colour matching of dyes, fine inspection tasks.
1200 Extra fine bench work, graphic arts inspection.
1600 Jewellery and watch making.

Ways to reduce your lighting consumption

The goal to reducing your lighting consumption is to optimise your existing system to get the maximum efficiency out of it.

1. Switch to LED lighting

LED lighting is more than 60% efficient than fluorescent and halogen lighting, and significantly reduces your maintenance costs.

A LED downlight can last up to 50,000 hours, which is 25 times longer than a halogen light.

Not only are LEDs more efficient, but they’re also safer. Halogen downlights can heat up to 370°C which can be a fire risk and impact your air-conditioning costs.

The cost of switching to LED can take less than two years to pay for itself.

On average, switching to LED lighting will:

  • cost less than $14,000 to implement
  • save more than $4000 annually
  • take less than 3 years to pay back
  • save more than 30 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

2. Switch off lights

Lighting a room you’re not using is a waste of energy.

Encourage your staff to switch off lights every time they exit a room or leave for the day. Add ‘switch off’ stickers near light switches and building exits.

3. Install motion detectors and timers

Instead of relying on your staff to switch off lights, install a system that will do the work for you.

Motion detectors can save:

  • 15–35% in an open office
  • 20–65% in meeting rooms
  • 30–90% in toilets
  • 50–90% in warehouses
  • 45–80% in storage rooms.

Though installing motion detectors and timers will cost money, they’re guaranteed to save money.

On average, installing motion detectors and timers will:

  • cost less than $3000 to implement
  • save more than $1000 annually
  • take less than 3 years to pay back
  • save more than 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

4. Zone your lighting

If you have multiple lights in a large area controlled by one switch, an electrician can section your lighting into zones. This allows you to only light areas that are being used.

5. Remove unnecessary light globes (delamping)

A cost-effective way to lower the lighting levels in areas that are overlit, is by removing globes or lamps.

6. Maximise daylight

Natural light is free to use. To make the most of it:

  • keep your windows clean
  • install skylights, solar tubes or translucent roof sheeting
  • move workspaces to naturally lit areas
  • move cupboards, bookcases or anything that blocks natural night
  • use light colours on walls and ceilings
  • install photosensors to automatically adjust lighting depending on the natural light available.

For more information about lighting, download the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage guide to lighting (PDF, 235kB).

What else can you do?

Get an energy audit

The best way to get a clear idea of what’s using the most energy in your business is by getting an energy audit. An energy auditor can review your energy bills and the way your business operates, to identify where you’re losing energy and what you can do about it.

Find an energy auditor near you.

Get recommendations for an energy upgrade project

Our energy upgrade tool does the hard work for you. It recommends opportunities and funding options, and calculates return on investment for your business.

Use the energy upgrade tool.

Upgrade your lighting at a discount

You may be eligible for discounted energy-efficiency products and services, including lighting, through the Victorian Energy Upgrade program.

To get started, contact an accredited provider.

Then, you can pay for the remaining cost with energy-specific finance.

Subscribe to our newsletter

We’ll send you the latest sustainability information, tailored for business, including:

  • grants and funding
  • professional opportunities and events
  • energy efficiency and waste avoidance tips to save you money.