When beginning the process of going green in your multifamily or multi-tenant project, a great place to start is energy efficient solutions to lighting. Lighting is a necessary element that has the capacity to drive energy use, and therefore expenses, up.
Even though you might not have control of your tenant’s energy usage, there are ways to help reduce energy cost both from tenants and overall building use. Before we begin to detail the areas that you can cut energy use, we need to orient ourselves with the newest in lighting technology.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Most maintenance supervisors have begun moving over any luminaires using screw based configurations from incandescent lighting to compact fluorescent lamps because of the tremendous savings from a usage and lifetime replacement standpoint.
According to the Energy Star website each incandescent bulb replaced with a CFL will save around $3 a month. If an average unit has 10 light bulbs in a multiunit building with 25 units, that is a savings of $750 per month from switching to a CFL. That is $9,000 a year for a multiunit building of only 25 units, image if you have 250 units! A 250 unit building could expect a savings of around $90,000 a year.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are currently gaining popularity for many eco-friendly renovation projects because of their energy savings and lifetime use capabilities. Previous LEDs were far too expensive and only had unidirectional lighting capabilities, but those days have passed. Today LEDs are hard to distinguish from CFLs and their cost has dropped considerably.
At current pricing LEDs only beat CFLs out by a couple dollars over their lifetime. But an LED will last on average 50,000 hours where a CFL lasts only 10,000 hours, saving labor and resources. Therefore many maintenance supervisors have chosen to go this route despite the initial expense.
Ways You Can Save and Be Eco-Friendly
When beginning a renovation project for your multifamily project, there are two main areas to gain savings from with energy efficient light fixtures:
1. Individual Units
As we said in the beginning, you cannot control your tenants’ usage of lighting. You can, however, cut costs by using efficient lighting such as CFLs or LEDs. Most properties use CFL’s when doing their turnovers but they cannot guarantee that a long term tenant will continue to use these bulbs. At least this is true if you don’t use pin-based CFLs. By using pin-based lighting fixtures you require that the tenant use CFLs and therefore keep costs down. This is something to consider in a multifamily renovation project or as a retrofit during your turnovers.
2. Common Areas
Using CFLs and LEDs in common areas can help in reducing energy costs but there are other steps that can further your savings. By using lighting controls such as occupancy sensors you can save energy usage in closets and rooms that will be used intermittently. This is also an option for common bathrooms on your property, but Title 24 requires that these be manual-on/automatic-off.
Lastly you can switch from incandescent exit signs to LED or photoluminescent which charges from ambient light and can be 100% reliable if it is installed correctly.
As we continue our series in what to consider for your multifamily unit renovation project, we at Regal Commercial Services find that our clients benefit greatly from utilizing eco-friendly and energy efficient light fixtures to begin going green and saving some money too!
For more information on making your properties, not only green, but cost effective, call Regal Commercial Services at 714.744.1106 or email us via the Large Yellow Contact Us button at the top of this page.