Commercial Lighting Retrofits: A Briefing Report for Program Implementers

Research Report A032


Jennifer Amann and Steve Nadel


Lighting accounts for more than 40% of commercial sector electricity consumption in the United States. Lighting programs to date have achieved tremendous savings through lamp and ballast replacements. Largely through the success of these efforts, energy-efficient T8 lamps and electronic ballasts, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs have become standard practice in some regions for fluorescent lighting in new buildings and most lighting retrofits. Newer programs have turned their attention toward lighting design as a means of realizing the additional possible savings potential. While lighting design improvements can yield significant energy savings, transforming the market for lighting design will require a tremendous investment of time and program staff to reach the diverse and fragmented market. In the meantime, additional savings opportunities are available from the use of improved lighting equipment in several key market segments. Examples include one-lamp linear fluorescent fixtures in offices, high-intensity fluorescent lamps and fixtures in warehouse and industrial spaces, metal halide spot lamps in retail, and simple controls. These fixture replacements and lighting upgrades can take advantage of newer technology that is increasingly available off-the-shelf. These efforts can also play an important role in reaching those customers that are reluctant to utilize the services of sophisticated lighting design professionals.

We recommend that demand-side management (DSM) program operators increase or shift program emphasis to promote new "super" T8 lamps and high-efficiency ballasts, lighting fixture replacements—particularly high-performance one-lamp fixtures (for use with T5, T8, and "super" T8 lamps), high-intensity T5 fluorescent systems, ceramic metal halide lamps, and occupancy sensor controls. Specific program recommendations are outlined at the end of this report.