Study: Lighting Tops Commercial Energy-Efficiency Upgrades


Lighting is a mainstay of electrical construction. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that lighting accounts for 15 percent of the total electricity consumed in the residential and commercial sectors. It stands to reason that any building owner looking to invest in energy efficiency will consider lighting upgrades.


According to a recent study performed by energy-efficiency sales and financing firm Noesis, lighting is the top energy-efficiency upgrade in the United States.


The firm surveyed more than 1,300 projects and found lighting upgrades occurred in more than half of them. Noesis attributes the popularity to its simple, inexpensive implementation, short payback period and strong rate of return.


The report suggests contractors understand the appeal of lighting upgrades; they were the most frequently proposed project in the study. They were proposed four times as much as heating, ventilating and air conditioning upgrades, which ranked second.


Noesis also analyzed data by state and found California, New York, Texas, Ohio and Illinois lead the United States in energy-efficiency projects.


While lighting leads in number of upgrades, according to Noesis’ analysis, it is second in internal rate of return (IRR) for commercial building owners. In this regard, building automation and controls leads the way.


“As America’s infrastructure continues to age, energy-saving upgrades will play an increasingly important role in reducing costs,” said Scott Harmon, chief executive officer, Noesis. “Noesis is seeing several states emerge as highly active, and we expect to see this trend spread nationwide over the next few years.”


With Noesis’ study, lighting upgrade proposals seem to be a given for electrical contractors, but building automation and controls shouldn’t be ignored with the higher IRR. Beyond these two upgrade projects, heating, solar, air handling and cooling were all very frequent and effective upgrades.


About the Author

Timothy Johnson

Editor—Digital

Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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