Home Energy Management Green Lighting 101: A Rundown of Energy-Efficient Lighting Types

Green Lighting 101: A Rundown of Energy-Efficient Lighting Types


NATIONAL REPORT—Lighting plays a key role in the hospitality experience, from enhancing architectural effects to providing security and directional functions. Recent technological advances in the lighting industry have also made it an increasingly important consideration in sustainable design and building practices.

New light sources have emerged that are both cost-effective and that perform up to or better than older technologies. While some of the newer light sources may cost more initially, the resulting electrical and maintenance savings often equate to an impressive 30 to 600 percent return on investment.

The energy programs and policies of any hotel, motel or resort should begin with a thorough evaluation of its existing lighting systems. An upgraded lighting system not only quickly recoups its cost, but continues to provide significant energy savings for years to come. Increased energy efficiency in the property’s lighting system can also help offset higher energy costs from other sectors such as fuel prices or a general increase in utility rates.

According to GE Consumer and Industrial Lighting, the U.S. lodging industry spends $1.41 per square foot on energy annually, with hotel utility costs averaging approximately 3.9 percent of total revenue. Energy-efficient lighting solutions can reduce these energy expenditures by up to 75 percent, simply by replacing outdated inefficient lamping.

Maintenance Benefits

After energy, maintenance ranks as the second largest cost, representing about 9 percent of total lighting costs. Since lamp life drives maintenance costs, installing longer-life lamps is a great way to minimize maintenance dollars and thereby reduce labor and operating expenses.

From guestrooms to large public areas such as lobbies, corridors, restaurants, spas, meeting rooms and conference facilities, a multitude of spaces—each with its own characteristics and requirements—must be considered in a given hospitality project. Lighting must also be specified for exterior facades, landscaping and parking areas in order create a cohesive look.

Incandescent—The traditional incandescent bulb ranks as the least energy-efficient light source, and is gradually being phased out by many properties.

Halogen—Halogen offers a longer-life, more energy-efficient alternative to incandescent, as well as crisp, clean color rendering. Low-voltage halogen can provide both decorative and accent lighting in lobbies, retail areas, restaurants and lounges.

Fluorescent—Fluorescent lamps are designed to meet a building’s luminary needs while significantly lowering operating costs. When compared to incandescent, fluorescent lasts up to 20 times longer and is up to six times more efficient.

Compact fluorescent—Upgrading to compact fluorescent can save up to 75 percent in energy costs without sacrificing quality of color rendering. Where to use it: From table, floor and reading lamps in guestrooms and recessed and vanity lighting in the bath, to corridors and hallways, wall sconces and recessed downlights. Because they can be used in traditional light-bulb sockets, compact fluorescent adaptors are the preferred choice for retrofits of existing incandescent fixtures.

T8—This generation of fluorescent lamps provides long life and high performance, which translates into reduced maintenance and disposal costs.

T5—The latest models to hit the market offer more power, increased light output, and efficacy up to 90 lumens per watt, in addition to longer life and high lumen maintenance.

High Intensity Discharge—HID lamps offer the highest efficiency with more lumens per watt and the longest life cycle.

Metal Halide—These lamps offer an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent and halogen, while providing white light with better color rendering than other HID lamps. Where to Use It: Spot lighting or flood lighting, accent or display lighting, or general lighting applications such as exterior façades, parking lots, walkways and pathways.

High Pressure Sodium—This golden-amber light ranks among the most efficient light sources available, with some of the most lumens per watt. Where to Use It: Outdoor applications where high efficiency is a priority, and white light is less important, such as parking areas.

Low Pressure Sodium—This highly efficient HID lamp is not typically considered to be a practical light source for most hospitality applications due to poor color rendering.

LED (Light Emitting Diodes)—Once primarily used for signage and specialty applications, the latest LEDs boast 50,000-hour life cycles with up to 50 lumens per watt. LEDs are emerging as a mainstream light source as technology advances and costs continue to drop. Other LED uses include exit signs as well as nightlights in guestrooms.

Induction Lighting—Induction lighting has broadened its appeal with new advancements that offer incredibly long life cycles and high lumen output. While presently at a cost premium, 100,000-hour induction lighting provides exceptional maintenance savings, making it ideal for use in difficult-to-reach applications. Where to Use It: Restaurants and lounges with specialized lighting effects, or as an accent to exterior architectural elements and facades.

Howard Levine is president of Luraline, which for 40 years has provided quality, high-performance lighting fixtures to the lodging industry. Luraline offers of broad range of fixture styles with energy-efficient light source options. For more information, visit www.luraline.com.