Daylighting, de-lamping and optimisation

There are a number of strategies to improve lighting energy efficiency that can be implemented alongside a technology upgrade.

Switch-off behaviours

Improving staff switch-off practices for lights applies to meeting rooms and bathrooms as well as at night and over the weekends. The techniques and tips provided for behaviour change all apply to lighting as well as equipment. For lighting in particular, energy managers may need to explain to staff that leaving fluorescent lights on does not save energy compared to switching them off and on more often. Other methods like stickers, signs, and appointing people to switch off at the end of the day can all prevent energy waste.

Contact your local CitySwitch program manager to request your free CitySwitch Switch Off stickers.

Reduce demand for artificial light

Also known as ‘daylighting’ there are a number of techniques for making use of available light rather than artificial. Techniques include choosing light colours for internal surfaces and walls, skylights, shading device control, glare reduction and electrochromic glazing. Giving more access to daylight has also been shown to increase productivity.

Optimise existing lighting systems

As well as switch-off behaviours, there are other ways to get the best use out of existing lights. For example:
  • Cleaning off dust build-up from lamps, reflectors and diffuser panels.
  • Installing light switches in individual offices,  rearranging lighting circuits to align with work areas or to group lights in daylit areas.
  • Replacing discharge lights (e.g. ballasted mercury vapour) with lights with a shorter time to switch on after power interruption (compact fluorescent or LED light fittings).
  • Making use of lighting control systems where they are installed, that can program lights according to time of day, daylight and occupancy.
  • Creating smaller zones (100m2) so that one switch controls fewer lights.


De-lamping means removing lamps from fittings where the light output exceeds what is required. If the light fitting is inefficient, it can be improved with a reflector. Many fluorescent light fittings hold two tubes so reducing the number of lamps saves up to 50% in lighting energy. De-lamping can result in significant energy savings at very low costs and also reduce air conditioner cooling loads, reduce lamp replacement costs, and decrease circuit loading due to lower electricity demand. There are good de-lamping opportunities in toilets, kitchens, offices, corridors, stairwells, meeting rooms (often over-specified for lighting), copying rooms, waiting rooms, store rooms, and near windows in buildings not used at night.

The steps to undertake de-lamping are:
  • measure  existing illumination levels (using a lux meter and building plan)
  • compare illumination levels with minimum recommended standards and identify over-illuminated areas
  • de-lamp appropriate areas.

More detail and data to help diagnose when de-lamping is appropriate are included in the CitySwitch Energy Audit Toolkit set.  (See toolkits on Lighting and Controls).

The Commonwealth Government's Energy Efficiency Exchange and the NSW Lighting Technology Report also have user-friendly guides to lighting.

For de-lamping exercises, disposing toxic waste from mercury vapour and fluorescent tubes can be avoided by a number of recycling schemes.


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