Stairwells – Saving energy one step at a time

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Posted By:
Hal Brownstone
LEED AP/Green Light
United States
Property Management Services

Commercial buildings stairwells must be fully lit at all times, so they can be safely used in emergencies.  It’s a good building code idea, but maybe there’s a better solution that uses less energy.

 In northern California, one of our managed buildings worked with the local municipality to allow “bi-level lighting.”  When stairwells are not in use which is, thankfully, almost all the time, lighting levels are low to save energy.  When anyone enters the stairwells, motion detectors immediately shift to high level lighting.

 Is it worth the effort? 

The $60,000 project will return $16,500 in lower energy costs and utility rebates for a payback of 3.6 years. 

For buildings looking to save energy, it might be a good first step.

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