Lighting how to shine bright and still save money and CO2 emissions

by Bruce Rowse*

For most Local Government buildings lighting is the second largest energy user following heating and cooling. One of the easiest, most reliable and inexpensive ways of achieving large energy savings is to delamp.

Delamping is the process of deliberately removing fluorescent tubes (lamps) from double or triple fluorescent fittings.

Most fluorescent light fittings have two lamps in them. Removing one lamp halves the energy use of the fitting. It also reduces the amount of light coming out of the fitting. This however can be compensated for by putting a mirror like reflector behind the remaining tube, which increases the amount of useful light it provides.

If necessary the remaining tube can be changed over to a brighter tube that uses no more power but produces more light.

Over the lifetime of a typical double fluorescent fitting delamping will save $400 on power bills and two tonnes of greenhouse gas.

The cost of delamping is usually around $50 per fitting, including reflector, a new bright tube and labour, providing a payback on investment of around two years.

Another benefit is reduced waste – once you have delamped only one tube needs to be disposed of instead of two.

*Bruce Rowse, energy efficiency engineer, is Director of CarbonetiX, an engineering consultancy specialising in carbon reduction. Contact Bruce via his blog at