Well-designed lighting creates a productive workplace

A good lighting system can improve efficiency, accuracy, mood and comfort – and slash your lighting energy use by up to 40%.

Hire a lighting expert to assess your needs and recommend energy efficient lighting designs and lamps.

Request a cost-benefit analysis of each option, including details about the return on your investment and ongoing maintenance costs.

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The most efficient lighting is often the least expensive - if you account for it over its lifespan.

Use your natural advantage

Great lighting design makes the most of natural daylight – while avoiding glare and overheating from the sun. Here’s how to welcome sunlight into your workplace:

  • Reduce glare. Avoid glossy finishes for walls, ceilings and furniture. Choose light fittings that diffuse light and fit windows with adjustable curtains or blinds.
  • Choose light colours for walls and ceilings. This maximises reflected light so you get more out of daylight – and it’s more pleasant to work in too.
  • If you have skylights, clean them or replace translucent with clear glass to increase natural light.

Replace with LEDs where you can

LEDs use up to 85% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and are extremely long lasting – generally 15,000-30,000 hours compared to 1000-2000 for incandescent bulbs. They come in dozens of shapes and sizes to suit business environments – including spots, tubes and floodlights.

If you have older fittings in your office or shop – such as T8 fluorescents, metal halide lamps or low voltage halogens, look into replacing them with LEDs. They quickly pay for themselves with energy savings.

3 ways to avoid wasting light

You can use all three in the same space. Make sure all lights can be completely switched off, not just dimmed.

  • Zoned lighting

    Larger offices and industrial workplaces can be divided into different areas with separate switches or sensors, so you don’t waste light in unused areas.

  • Occupancy sensors

    Lights in used areas are automatically dimmed or switched off – a great energy-saver, especially for warehouse aisles, store-rooms and bathrooms. Mount them to walls or ceilings and set the for a 10 minute delay. Choose ultrasonic sensors for offices as they can tell when someone’s making small movements like typing.

  • Daylight sensors

    Lights are automatically dimmed on bright days.

Last out, lights off

Leaving lights on overnight in shops and offices is a huge waste of energy. If you don’t have sensors, remind your staff to switch off when the last person leaves. If you want to light your window display overnight, install separate switching so you can turn off everything else. You can also use timers to switch off completely when there’s no foot traffic.

Measure your light levels

Don’t waste energy making spaces brighter than needed.

You can get a rough indication of light levels from a phone app. Or hire a quality lux meter for more accuracy – especially if you’re assessing stairwells or where machinery is used. They cost about $100 a day.

Take measurements at four or five different points in each space when there’s no natural light – it might be a night-time job.

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Temperature and CRI

Colour temperature and colour rendering index (CRI) are scales for the type of light a lamp produces. Different types suit different work environments. They affect the safety, comfort and alertness of staff, so ask a lighting expert for advice.

Lighting for night shift

Lighting design for night shift workers should focus on comfort and safety, as well as energy efficiency.