Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Effective, Energy-Efficient Lighting for Small Commercial Spaces
By Keith Toomey
New York Energy $mart

The Lighting Research Center is assisting the State of New York in promoting effective and energy-efficient lighting in small commercial spaces. The New York Energy $martSM Small Commercial Lighting Program (SCLP) promotes effective, energy-efficient lighting solutions that allow people to see more easily and cost less to operate. SCLP, operated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), helps lighting contractors, distributors, designers, specifiers, and other professionals to design and implement lighting improvements in small commercial spaces.

The LRC works with NYSERDA and project partner ICF International to design and implement program requirements that help to ensure that these lighting improvements are at least 10 percent more efficient than mandated by the state's energy code. The lighting must also reduce glare and provide good color rendering, illuminance uniformity, and appropriate light levels. Contractors who design spaces that meet SCLP requirements receive financial incentives.

The SCLP program was born six years ago out of a need to encourage contractors to install energy-efficient lighting in small commercial spaces of about 25,000 square feet or less. Research had shown that these smaller commercial buildings were largely being ignored by entities such as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and others who would typically work with building owners to make lighting improvements in larger commercial buildings. NYSERDA saw this as a missed opportunity to save a significant amount of energy.

SCLP Web site
SCLP Web site

Lighting for energy savings and comfort

One of the components that makes SCLP successful is its emphasis on promoting lighting solutions that are efficient and effective. "A unique feature of the Small Commercial Lighting Program is its emphasis on promoting lighting that not only saves energy, but that also helps make the lighting more comfortable for people using it," said Dan Frering of the LRC. "This helps to ensure that end-users will be happy with the results of the lighting installation." 

As part of the program, the LRC designed and implemented a Web-based project qualification tool, which assists contractors to qualify their projects for the programs, and helps them to make adjustments where needed to improve the lighting they are installing. SCLP also provides education, design tools, and other assistance to lighting contractors, distributors, lighting designers, manufacturers and their representatives, and other "allies" who help to implement the program. To date, these program allies have helped NYSERDA to reduce electric demand in New York state by over 7.2 megawatts, and energy use by over 29,000 megawatt hours, in over 4.5 million square feet of commercial space. 

NYSERDA has extended SCLP though June 2007, making additional incentive dollars available, and providing "bonus" incentives for projects that are done for customers of the Consolidated Edison Electric Company. As part of this project extension, the LRC will also provide additional training for lighting designers and other program allies to help them to better implement effective and energy-efficient lighting projects. NYSERDA is also working to promote the value of effective, energy-efficient lighting among building owners and other "end-users" through a statewide media campaign. For more information about the Small Commercial Lighting Program, visit the SCLP Web site.

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute