Energy-saving lighting specifications for commercial buildings

The Dept. of Energy and the Commercial Building Energy Alliances announced voluntary energy-saving specifications for lighting fixtures and parking lot and parking structure lighting.


The Dept. of Energy (DOE) has announced new voluntary energy-saving specifications for lighting troffers – rectangular overhead fixtures used in commercial buildings – as well as parking lot and parking structure lighting. The new performance criteria were developed by the DOE's Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEAs), which bring together major U.S. companies from a wide range of sectors to identify and implement successful energy efficiency and cost-saving practices. Building operators can voluntarily adopt these specifications for new buildings or building upgrades to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

The potential to reduce the nation’s energy use through better lighting choices is enormous. On average, over half of the lighting fixtures in commercial buildings operate for more than 10 hours a day and collectively consume more than 87 terawatt hours of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the energy used by nearly 3 million homes. These new commercial lighting specifications can reduce energy use by more than 40% compared with conventional lighting and have the potential to save businesses up to $5 billion annually.

The new CBEA High Efficiency Troffer Specification provides minimum performance levels for LED and fluorescent troffers used in commercial buildings, including offices and restaurants. The new specification delivers energy savings of between 15% and 45% compared with conventional systems. The specification also includes an optional section on lighting controls, which can boost savings up to 75% by employing technologies such as motion sensors and timers.

DOE also released updated specifications for high-efficiency parking lot and parking structure lighting. Both public and private organizations are increasingly using systems that meet DOE’s high efficiency parking lot lighting specification. This specification typically reduces energy use by 50% compared with conventional parking lot lighting.

Through the CBEA, the DOE collaborates with building owners, operators, and manufacturers to develop minimum performance requirements that are voluntarily adopted by CBEA members. 

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, 

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