Energy Savings VS. Maximizing Energy Savings

The secret is out. Everyone knows and wants light emitting diode – “LED lights”. This technology has been “all the buzz” since 2008.

The benefits of LED are very attractive and clear cut. You can remove a standard table lamp light bulb, say 60 watts with a 1,000 hour life expectancy and replace it with a 10 watt LED that touts a 25,000 hour lifespan. Easy math, right???

But, what many have missed, is realizing there is saving energy – similar to the example listed above- and then there is MAXIMIZING the savings available. Given our expertise, we know all lighting upgrade projects have saved energy, but MOST have not MAXIMIZED the energy savings potential.


Imagine Office Building in ‘Anywhere America’ taking on a lighting project. Currently, they have 200 fluorescent, 2×4 light fixtures that draw 115 watts each. The project calls for the removal of these existing fixtures and the installation of the same number of LED fixtures that only draw 40 watts each. That is a 65% reduction. The install is completed, project is deemed a success, on to bigger and better things, right?

Not so fast.


What was not addressed was considering using lighting controls, and/or using less light output, drawing less energy, hence saving more money.

Our scenario did not take into account adding sensors to reduce the energy output when the space is vacant for a period of time. Wireless controls allow to pre-set lighting to shut-off, or ramp down, on off hours like evenings or weekends.

Many times the decision to simply replace what exists ‘one-for-one’, without any further thought is made. Using today’s best practices in the scenario above where we saved 65%, we could actually save more than 90%, by having the space properly designed. That’s an additional 25%+ savings missed. The 65% savings project is now deemed to be NOT a success and we should not move on to bigger and better things just yet.

Here are the two reasons why so many projects- and this was just one small, easy-to-understand example- do not reach maximum energy savings:

  1. The first is how clients are fixated on ‘first cost’. The archaic 3-bid system is a race to the bottom that no one wins.

The project ends up not being able to take advantage of best-in-class products, best practices or even things like lighting controls, that will increase the savings, because the up-front cost is all that matters when creating/turning in the project to ownership.

  1. The second reason is there were -and many still exist- start-up lighting companies anxious to catch the LED wave. They simply haven’t learned the intricacies our industry has – which can be very costly to the client.

Optics, rebates, properly specifying for each application instead of one-size-fits-all mentality, is what these startup companies lack.

Expert Lighting Group focuses on delivering projects that MAXIMIZE energy savings by using well-vetted products, industry best practices and designing to proper light levels for each application. We do not represent any specific product or brand. We decode your facility through our investment grade audit process. We disrupt the industry by negotiating direct-buy relationships and deliver a quality project that maximizes energy savings.