Overview energy efficient lighting

What is energy efficient lighting?

Making lighting more energy efficient in an office tenancy can mean replacing actual light fittings, changing the lighting types or improving the lighting controls – for example, installing motion or daylight sensors, timers, and automatic dimmers. A lighting upgrade can also encompass specialist area lighting and desk lamps, meeting rooms, and bathrooms, as well as the ceiling lights.

Why upgrade lights?

Lighting upgrades can be relatively straightforward, and offer very rapid returns on investment and then ongoing operational savings and reduced maintenance. Many business environments are over-lit compared to the level recommended by Australian Standard 1680 levels. For instance, there are a range of energy efficient lighting solutions that can reduce energy use by up to 82 per cent (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage). The reason that lighting upgrades can save so much energy is that modern fittings do not produce wasted heat which has the added advantage of lessening the load on the office air-conditioner.  


How to improve lighting

In many instances, immediate savings can be gained by simply making minor adjustments. In other cases organisations will benefit from engaging a lighting or energy efficiency professional who will step through lighting identification, technology choices and a business case, including schemes to help finance upgrades. For organisations proceeding with their own audit and upgrade, CitySwitch has created audit tools for lighting and controls and comprehensive information on lighting has been compiled by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NABERS, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Energy Efficiency Exchange - see resources section below.

Alongside technology considerations, there are a number of strategies to improve lighting performance: 

  • behaviour change to encourage a ‘switch-off’ culture
  • use more daylight in place of artificial light
  • get better performance from existing light fittings
  • make use of controls like sensors and zoning areas
  • de-lamping and daylighting for over-lit areas
  • replacing whole fittings or lamps inside light fittings


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.


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