US Department of Energy backing commercial lighting upgrades

The US Department of Energy has launched an initiative to help commercial, educational and retail building operators upgrade their existing lighting to more energy-efficient technologies.

The programme, called the Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC), aims to replace 100,000 fixtures in the first year.

Lighting accounts for 20 per cent of US commercial buildings' energy use, DoE said. By upgrading typical T8 fluorescent fixtures to more modern luminaires, commercial operators could cut energy use by 25 per cent, it noted.

'Upgrading 100,000 fixtures can reduce energy use by 5 million kilowatt-hours, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3,000 metric tons of carbon, and save $500,000 in electricity bills annually,' DOE added.

DOE said it 'is working with key stakeholders and end users in both the public and private sectors to install and demonstrate advanced technologies', but it did not specify exactly how it will help building operators with their indoor lighting

The ILC initiative is part of the broader Better Buildings Challenge, launched in 2011 to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in commercial buildings, which DOE defines as offices, schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and shops. Those buildings cost $200 billion a year to power, and account for 20 per cent of the country's energy consumption, DOE said.

Better Buildings' projects include energy-efficient heating and cooling, as well as 'green' financing partnerships with lenders.

It's part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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