Break down the average commercial building’s electricity use and you’ll end up with a particularly interesting pie chart. Artificial lighting, long thought of as inexpensive and efficient, is the largest slice, taking up 35 percent of average monthly usage.
Air conditioning comes in second with 16 percent, and office equipment behind it at twelve percent. Refrigeration, heating, and others follow. Despite progress in energy efficient lighting, there’s no denying it: artificial lighting is still a major expense for most businesses.
The four costs of traditional office lighting
While most of us associate ‘expense’ with spending, there are far more costs to an electrical lighting system than just its impact on your power bill. Read on to learn about the four biggest costs of electrical lighting for your business.
Electrical lighting is expensive already, and it’s only getting worse. The average US home is spending an additional $300 every year on electricity compared to what it spent in 2005. At $1,419 per year on average – and rising fast – it’s a very worrying trend.
For businesses, it’s an even worse outlook. With a growing number of businesses depending on long hours and computer technology, the cost of keeping an office operating –in lighting bills alone – is creeping up at a rapid speed.
Despite its undeniable convenience, artificial lighting is changing from a tolerable expense into a major financial obligation for businesses.
From broken bulbs to blown out fuses, there’s far more involved in running an office lighting system than most businesses anticipate. From offices to retail shops, it takes a great deal of maintenance to keep a large lighting installation up and running.
A lot of this maintenance is due to the number of parts involved in a standard office lighting system. More electrical components means more time and money spent on routine maintenance that could be avoided with a downsized lighting system.
It’s a hidden cost of running your office on artificial lighting that few consider, but all eventually become aware of.
There’s a hidden cost to artificial lighting: productivity. Offices that use artificial lighting are, on average, less efficient than those that incorporate some form of natural lighting, studies show.
Despite living in a modern world, the human body still operates using a Paleolithic sense of time. The rise and fall of the sun, it seems, has a huge impact on our mood, our energy levels, and our ability to work effectively.
When your office’s lighting system mirrors the behavior of the sun – or uses the sun itself as a source of light – employees are more alert and cognitively aware. When it depends on artificial light, however, work productivity slows to a crawl.
4. Lost Sales
Retail giant Wal-Mart is constantly testing new ways to increase its sales. In the late 1990s, the superstore chain found an interesting truth of sales psychology: shoppers were far more likely to spend money in stores with natural light sources than in stores that used artificial lighting.
The most probable reason for the change in consumer behavior is an increase in our mood when we’re exposed to natural light. Being in the sun, even indirectly, tends to make us happier, more open to new experiences, and more likely to take risks.
If you have a sales team that depends on motivation and goal setting to get by, you might be losing money because of your lighting system. Artificial light doesn’t just lower mood – it also has the potential to lower your sales team’s motivation.
Instead of encouraging sales with aggressive targets or new tactics, try building an office environment that naturally encourages and motivates your employees.
Natural daylighting is an affordable, effective solution
By this point one thing should be abundantly clear: artificial lighting is far more expensive than most businesses assume. From lost sales to expensive maintenance, the true costs of artificial lighting often don’t become apparent until it’s too late.
If you’re tired of the ongoing costs of artificial lighting, you may want to consider a natural, affordable, and productive alternative. Daylighting is become more popular every year as a large number of offices reduce their dependence on artificial light.
From basic daylighting systems to extensive natural lighting plans, you may wish to look into a custom daylighting system to reduce your office’s energy bills, increase workplace motivation, and create an environmentally-friendly place to work.