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The Department of Energy has developed an interactive web tool that shows commercial building owners and developers ways to improve interior lighting efficiency and reduce energy consumption, “without compromising comfort, safety, sales levels or productivity.” The Commercial Lighting Solutions tool, now in beta testing, promotes new and evolving high performance technologies. The new options can cut energy use 30% or more, the DOE estimates.

Lighting solutions have been developed and analyzed for five types of retail stores–big box, small box, grocery, specialty market and pharmacy–and solutions for other sectors are planned. DOE officials say the solutions–complete with lighting layouts, specifications, daylighting design, control schemes and commissioning guidance–meet or exceed the savings levels to qualify for Energy Policy Act tax incentives.

The site offers a choice of several design vignettes and lighting control strategies that suit parameters users input for their project. A solution can be implemented as shown or used as a starting point for a design refined to serve particular corporate brand, architectural objective or business need. The tool is free to use.

Lighting is typically the biggest energy expense for small retailers and offices, representing about 26% of total energy costs, statistics show. But new technologies can help cut costs, including solid-state lighting (SSL), which uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes, or polymer light-emitting diodes as sources of lighting rather than traditional electrical filaments or gas. “SSL creates visible light with less heat generation than traditional lighting, which results in less energy usage,” the DOE notes. “Additionally, SSL is more resistant to damage and will last longer than conventional lighting.”

Other options include:

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