Bright Ideas in Lighting for a More Productive Workspace

Innovative Lighting Ideas Can Save Money and Enhance the Work Environment 

Business owners and managers are always racking their brains for ideas to trim expenses and improve efficiencies. Utility bills are typically high on that list, especially lighting costs. But if the business has already upgraded to LED lighting – and if it hasn't, that's the place to start - managers might wonder what else can be done to improve electrical efficiency while keeping workers happy and productive.


While the underlying technologies available aren't exactly new – LED bulbs have been around for decades, and motion sensors and timers just as long or longer – the ways they are used and advances in lighting control networking, data collection, and intelligence capabilities are giving businesses greater flexibility, enhanced workplace productivity, and more energy savings. In fact, modern lighting solutions and controls are helping to redefine lighting from a "utility" to a "business asset."


Lighting advances that create a smarter office:


Here are some of the latest ways businesses are turning on to new lighting concepts (or in some cases rediscovering the value of old ideas):


  • Controllable, colorful LED light strips: Looking to enhance office aesthetics with more color, while also adding more ambient lighting? LED light strips provide a flexible enhancement to your office environment and can include smart connectivity with controls through a smartphone.
  • Human-centric lighting: Truly a futuristic concept, human-centric lighting creates lighting that imitates natural daylight and enhances human performance, improving comfort, and overall health. Human-centric lighting is aimed at enhancing vision, and it also can improve attentiveness, hormones, lethargy, and the circadian rhythm. An example of human-centric lighting is a cyan-enhanced spectrum, which can suppress melatonin and increase productivity.
  • Supply home workers with ring lights: With so many more employees working remotely, the popularity of video conferencing has skyrocketed. Ring lights provide even, diffused light throughout the room and on the employee. Ring lights eliminate dark corners and background shadows, and the soft, even flow of the lighting is more flattering, highlighting the facial features of the employee on camera. In addition, ring lights emit no heat, which aids in the comfort of employees working remotely.
  • Maximize natural lighting: Natural lighting is not a new-age concept. However, thinking of windows as a free light source and placing desks and chairs to take advantage of natural lighting will reduce energy consumption. Ensuring well-maintained, energy-efficient windows will also help to contain cooling and heat inside your office.
  • Layer lighting controls to increase savings: Installing more sophisticated programmable controls and modern networking lets you go beyond an old-fashioned "dumb" timer. Program lights to go on only when people are in the office (even with unusual hybrid office hours) or automatically adjust on/off schedules as daylight changes through the seasons. Managers can even experiment with dimming lights; many people don't even notice a 20% reduction, but your electric bill will.

Think beyond the bulb and get creative:


There are many more examples of newer lighting equipment that could improve your office environment. Consider adjustable desk lamps and floor lamps that can add some style and brightness to the workplace. Looking for something more innovative? How about blue-light glasses that block sleep-depriving blue lights? While you are at it, check out blue light blocking screens that fit over a computer monitor.


And of course, solutions will vary depending on the business. A manufacturing plant may need very bright lighting at workstations, and motion-sensing lights in little used spaces. A retail business may want spotlights to feature products, or dimmable lighting to set a sophisticated mood. Whatever the need, there's a bulb – and money-saving control options – to meet it.


Xcel Energy can help:


While investigating new lighting enhancements, remember Xcel Energy offers instant rebates, and bonus rebates to help with the cost of upgrading your equipment, and free assessments to help to evaluate your needs and make enhancement recommendations.


Xcel Energy Advisors are on hand at 855-839-8862 to help with various programs and rebates.


Visit bizenergyhq.startribune.com to view more tips from Xcel Energy and discover how your business can get started saving money and energy today!




Sponsored Content is paid for and provided by advertisers and published in collaboration with Star Tribune Advertising. Star Tribune’s News and Opinion departments are not involved.