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Electricity accounts for more than half of energy consumed by commercial buildings–and commercial buildings use more electricity for lighting–38%–than any other end use, new government statistics show. Maybe that’s why industry experts report growing interest in high efficiency lighting products.

A record 21,000 attendees, for instance, are expected at the 20th annual edition of Lightfair International, one of the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade shows. The show, scheduled to run May 5 through May 7 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, attracts design, lighting, architectural, engineering and construction industry professionals from around the world.

Energy experts say the right lighting can save commercial property owners significant sums of money. The Energy Information Administration–the statistical agency of the US Department of Energy–defines commercial property as “any building that is not residential, not agricultural, and not manufacturing.”

And while lighting represents a significant cost in all commercial buildings, the total amount of electricity consumed for lighting varies significantly across building types. Office buildings, for example, use twice as much electricity for lighting than any other type of commercial building, the EIA reports. Office buildings have more lit floor space than any building type and they consume more electricity for all end uses.

According to the EIA, the key is combining high-efficacy adopting light sources with other solutions, including lighting controls and other technologies. The options include harvesting available daylight, with photo sensors and dimming ballasts that automatically reduce artificial lighting when daylight is available, and occupancy sensors–which turn lights off when spaces are unoccupied.

Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, DC, said if all commercial buildings nationwide installed state-of-the-art energy-saving lighting systems, they could reduce lighting energy use by at least 40%.

“In office buildings, the typical fluorescent lighting fixture with four four-foot fluorescent tubes–referred to as lamps in the lighting trade–and two magnetic ballasts uses 160 to 180 watts of power. However, new fixtures with special thin-diameter lamps and electronic ballasts use about 115 watts,” Nadel notes.

“In spaces that are overlit–and many are–further energy savings are possible by switching from four-lamp fixtures to three or even two-lamp fixtures. Special reflectors can be installed to optimize light distribution for the reduced number of lamps in each fixture. The energy use of a two-lamp fixture can be as low as 58 watts, a savings of up to 70%.

“In stores, most displays are lit by incandescent spotlights, typically using 150 watts apiece. Special halogen IR lamps reduce energy waste and burn more brightly, permitting a 60 watt halogen lamp to be substituted for a standard 150 watt spotlight–a savings of 60%. The halogen lamp costs more–about $8.50 versus $2.50–but typically lasts 50% longer and saves $20 in energy costs over its lifetime.”

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has other suggestions to improve interior lighting:

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