Choosing the most efficient lights

Selecting energy efficient lights and fixtures is extremely important when seeking to reduce energy use. There are two types of lighting upgrades:

  • a retrofit which changes only part of an existing luminaire system, such as lamp or control gear.
  • replacing an entire luminaire with a new luminaire.

Upgrading controls with sophisticated systems like sensor and timers can reduce the hours of lighting output, but they don’t address the basic efficiency of the light fixture itself.

To help the decision-making process, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Report gives details of lighting upgrade options with associated capital costs, energy savings, typical pay back, greenhouse gas reduction and energy reduction for a given quantity of luminaries. The report is supported by an excel tool to assist in comparing suitable technologies and by a template Request for Proposal document that a company can send to prospective suppliers.

Key terms

  • Luminaire - also referred to as light fitting or fixture, including the lampholder and lamp. The luminaire will also have a means of getting as much light as possible to leave the luminaire and travel in the required direction, for example reflectors, louvres, lenses or diffusers.
  • Lampholder - part of the luminaire that provides electrical connection to the lamp and holds the lamp in place.
  • Lamp - the light source mounted within a luminaire.
  • Control gear - converts the energy supplied to the building into a form that best suits the light source. Includes starters and ballasts.

When selecting products, the choice should also adhere to your sustainable procurement policies. The Lighting Council of Australia provides a list of lighting suppliers.


Related Resources

CitySwitch Energy Audit Toolkits

This Energy Audit Toolkit set has been developed to assist non-technical or semi-technical energy managers in small to medium organisations identify actions to improve energy efficiency through the use of a simple but detailed audit checklist and develop plans for implementing energy efficiency actions.

LED Lighting article

It could be as easy as LED.

Improvements in technology over the last couple of years make complete LED fitouts a cost-effective solution. This article provides useful information and resources for LED lighting upgrades.

Energy efficiency certification scheme

This certification scheme offered by the Energy Efficiency Council certifies professionals that can lead comprehensive energy retrofits of commercial buildings. Certification helps building owners and managers find professionals they can trust and provides a benchmark for energy efficiency professionals.

Calculite: an online calculator for lighting

The calculite calculator helps businesses make an informed decision about energy efficient lighting for your site. It is an online tool to identify savings, providing upgrade options and generic technical specifications to take to suppliers.
Webinar: cutting through the lighting technology jargon

Webinar: cutting through the lighting technology jargon

Working out where to begin with lighting upgrades can quickly become an overwhelming prospect from choosing products to funding and implementation. This free three-part lighting webinar series helps get the most out of your office lighting retrofit.

Quality Scheme for Solid State Lighting (LED)

A a quality scheme for Solid State Lighting (also known as LED). This is a voluntary industry scheme that provides confidence that a luminaire carrying the Scheme’s label matches certain performance claims made by the supplier. Products are listed in a database on the Australian Lighting Council's website.

CBD Lighting Assessment Guidance

A tenancy lighting assessment is an important component of a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) required under the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program. The guides and forms required are available here. 


Lamp recycling can help reduce the amount of mercury being sent to landfill. FluoroCycle is a voluntary product stewardship scheme that seeks to increase the national recycling rate of waste mercury-containing lamps.

Energy Gov Au: lighting technologies

Energy Gov Au provides a range of information and practical advice on energy saving for households and businesses including a rebate sorter for available assistance from Australian, state and territory governments for energy efficiency improvements.


Search resources

Latest Case Studies