If you ask an energy consultant for the best ways to save electricity in buildings, you can expect LED lighting to be on the list. A lighting retrofit can be completed quickly and with minimal disruption, and the upfront costs are very small compared with long-term savings.
LED lighting can achieve synergy with solar panels and other onsite renewables. In this case, your building is not only generating its own electricity, but also using it more efficiently. The low power consumption of LEDs also leaves plenty of clean electricity to be used by other building systems.
Here we will discuss the main reasons why LED lighting is an excellent investment for building owners in NYC, especially with regulations like Local Law 97 of 2019.
1) LED Lighting Offers an Excellent ROI
Each dollar invested in an LED upgrade is recovered multiple times in the long run. As a building owner, you get many types of savings with energy efficient lighting:
- The electricity consumption of your lighting system is reduced directly, saving on power bills.
- Air conditioning costs are also reduced, since LEDs emit low heat.
- You will save many lamp replacements over time - some LED products are rated for over 50,000 hours of use.
- When LL97 comes into effect, the carbon reduction associated with lighting savings will help you avoid penalties.
The cost of LED lighting has decreased significantly over the past decade, while electricity prices tend to increase over time. The upgrade makes sense based on electricity savings alone, and the outlook is even better when you consider the other types of savings achieved.
- The NYC Urban Green Council analyzed energy benchmarking data for thousands of multifamily and office buildings.
- They found that the median payback period of lighting upgrades is less than 3 years in both types of buildings.
For example, there are 2’ x 4’ LED fixtures with a power consumption of 40W or less, which replace 3-lamp fluorescent fixtures that consume around 90W each. In this case, the power consumption is decreased by nearly 60%.
2) LED Fixtures Improve Lighting Quality and Comfort
Older lighting installations often suffer from issues like flickering lamps and humming ballasts, causing discomfort and distraction. There are also buildings that don’t have adequate lighting for the activities carried out inside. For example, offices should have a uniform light distribution to prevent glare, avoiding concentrated light sources that cause visual discomfort when working.
- LED lighting is completely silent, and lamps can operate for a very long time before replacements are needed.
- Since LEDs are very small, lighting manufacturers can design fixtures with the ideal light distribution for each application.
There are now LED fixtures that can adjust their color temperature (CCT), producing the exact lighting tone you need for each application. They are also compatible with dimmers and other control systems, which results in a very adaptable lighting system.
If you’re a landlord, commercial spaces and apartments with adequate lighting will be much more appealing for potential tenants. The energy efficiency of LED lighting is also a selling point, since tenants will associate it with lower energy bills.
LED lighting is also a safer option. LED fixtures can be manufactured without glass and other fragile materials that break into sharp pieces. They can also activate immediately, without warm-up or flickering, which is useful if you need to illuminate an area quickly. Thanks to their low energy consumption, LEDs can also run longer on backup power during an emergency.
3) LED Lighting Can Help You Meet NYC Local Laws
New York City is known for its demanding building codes and laws, and LED lighting can also help you with compliance. The following table summarizes how LED upgrades can help you meet local laws that have come into effect in recent years, and also laws that will be applied in the near future.
NYC Local Law
Requirements Where LED Lighting Can Help
Reporting the energy and water consumption of your building each year - LED lighting can reduce the energy consumption reported, which helps you meet other laws.
Installing lighting systems that meet the NYC Energy Conservation Code by 2025 - LED lighting is compliant with the code.
Calculating a building energy grade based on your ENERGY STAR score, and displaying it publicly - thanks to its high efficiency, LED lighting can help improve your grade.
Reducing building emissions below a specified limit (calculated per building), or paying a penalty of $268 per metric ton of CO2-eq above the limit - LED lighting reduces electricity consumption and the associated emissions.
As you can see, LED lighting offers many types of savings, while making your building more comfortable for tenants and other occupants. An LED upgrade can help you meet Local Laws that deal with energy consumption and carbon emissions.