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Other Ways You Can Save on Energy Cost Without Replacing Lamps

If you want to reduce energy use, don’t reach for that CFL first. Instead, update the lighting system to permit adjusting light output manually or automatically.

For incandescent lighting in a small area, simply swapping out the light switch with a dimmer control is often enough. For other lamp types, you’ll need to see if the available dimmable lamps and ballasts will work in the application.

Dimmers can do more than reduce energy consumption. They can soften lighting when you need to create a certain mood, focus attention on a specific spot (e.g., the speaker dais), or work in conjunction with daylight to provide a consistent lighting level—among other things.

One catch with dimming is the dimming threshold. For some lamp/ballast combinations, you can’t dim below 50%. The typical threshold, however, is a much lower 20%. The energy savings decrease nonlinearly, and disappear completely near the dimming threshold. To compensate for this problem, you might use a programmable lighting control system capable of managing individual lamps (and just shut some off).

An inexpensive way to adjust the lighting is to use a light level switching control. It changes the light output in discrete steps (typically high, medium, and low). You can automate by wiring this with a timer, photo eye, and occupancy sensor. For example, when daylight is present, the warehouse light output, normally on low, goes to medium. When someone enters the warehouse, it goes to high and then back to medium after 15 minutes of not detecting someone.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection