Green Guidelines: Energy-Efficient Lighting

Interior lighting represents about a third of electricity consumption in hotels, so energy-efficient bulbs can can significantly reduce electricity consumption and result in significant savings. Further savings can come in the form of reduced heat throughout the interior of the hotel and reduced labor costs for bulb replacements since energy-efficient bulbs typically have longer lifespans.

Types of Energy-Efficient Lighting

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs

CFLs are spiral-shaped bulbs that use the same sockets as incandescent bulbs, use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and have a lifespan of about 10,000 hours.  

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs are similar in size to incandescent bulbs and use the same socket, use approximately 87% less energy than halogen lamps and have a lifespan of 25-50,000 hours, which means an LED lamp run 24/7 will last nearly six years. The same fixture using a halogen lamp would have to be replaced once a year. LEDs also result in less pollution upon disposal.  

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent lamps are typically long, cylindrical tubes currently available in three diameters, with smaller diameters indicating greater efficiency:

  • T12 lamps are 1.5” in diameter and have a lifespan of 7,000+ hours

  • T8 lamps are 1” in diameter and have a lifespan of 15,000+ hours

  • T5 lamps are 3/8” in diameter and have a lifespan of 20,000+ hours

High-performance T8 lamps combined with newly designed ballasts that use high-frequency and solid-state circuitry instead of heavy copper, are setting new standards for low power consumption, low lifecycle costs and illumination that more closely resembles natural light.

Sample Savings from Energy-Efficient Lighting

The following examples assume a typical 300-room hotel with an average 72% occupancy rate and use the national average of $.12/kWh for electricity costs.

Savings from LED Lighting

For a hotel with 480 lamps, replacing MR16 halogen 50-watt lighting with MR16 LED 7-watt lamps saves 180,806 kWh per year for a total savings of $21,696 annually.

If the cost of lamp installation, labor included, is $39 per lamp, that represents an $18,720 investment — an investment recouped in less than a year based on the savings calculated above.

Savings from T8 Lamps & Electronic Ballasts

In this scenario each bathroom has two 40-watt fluorescent lamps that can be converted to 25-watt T8 lamps with an electronic ballast. However, the biggest opportunity for savings in this size hotel is back-of-house, where 290 lamps (national average: 18 hours of operation daily) can be converted.

Replacing all 890 lamps would save 45,621 kWh per year for a total savings of $5,475 annually.

If the cost of each lamp is $14.25, labor included, that represents an investment of $12,683, which would be recouped in 2.3 years based on the calculations above.

Resources on Energy-Efficient Lighting