Facility Management

Energy Management, Church Lighting and the 23 SECOND RULE

Switching lights on and off is a big part of our daily life and as such we need to consider the importance of making smart decisions with lighting.

Colby May  ·  April 3, 2018

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There was a study done by the Myth Busters a number of years ago that studied the myth about turning off lights. 

The myth focused on the surge of electricity that takes place when we turn lights on and off.  To summarize many people believe that the surge of energy is so great that it is not worth turning off lights when the room is unoccupied.  The myth was busted.  Yes, there is a small surge of energy, but the payback is 23 seconds.  If you are gone from your room longer then 23 seconds it pays to turn off your lights.

According to Watt Watchers the average classroom can save $50-$75 per year by turning off lights on an average of two hours or more per day.

I wanted to focus this article on the importance of making smart decisions with lighting.  I am not a lighting firm, point being I am not trying to sell you a service or product in this article.  My hope is to give you advice from a neutral third party. 

Lighting is a very big part of our daily decisions, yet we do not give it much thought.  If we were to break down the average building electrical use, lighting would make up about 15-20 percent.  I would increase that percentage for churches.  It is a big part of our worship services, depending on the church of course. However there are a number of ways we can impact our lighting use through little or no cost.  Before I break down practical examples I wanted to share a quick example.  I was performing an energy audit of a 500,000 square foot facility that had an annual electric cost of $1.2 million.  This facility, a museum, is open to the public only about 6 to 8 hours a day, however their lights were on for 18 hours a day.  Lighting in a museum is vital to artwork, suffice to say their lighting load was significant, and made up about 25 percent of their electrical use. 

If all the facility did were modify lighting hours (meaning no investment) then they would save over fifty percent on their total electric costs.  This equates to over $150,000 by simply changing behavior. This is an extreme example and there are a number of factors I left out of this equation, but the fact remains—managing our lighting load makes a very big difference.

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Colby May
Colby May is a Certified Energy Manager, having performed ​o​ver 1,000 energy audits at facilities across the US. ​A graduate of Gordon Conwell​, he has a specific interest in enabling the faith-based community in sustainability and stewardship in order to empower change. Colby​, the CEO of LIT www.consultlit.com​, is also a husband of ​thirteen years and father of ​two​ adventurous sons.
Contact Colby May: colby@consultlit.com ·  View More by Colby May

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