LED retrofits cut a slice out of NYC's energy costs

Lighting retrofits are yielding substantial savings in the Big Apple.
Written by David Worthington, Contributor
A New York commercial property owner will save US$750,000 over the next three years.

I've often wondered how much energy New York's myriad of buildings could save by doing simple things like replacing light bulbs. One commercial realtor has quantified what would happen if LED lighting was retrofitted into its properties, and the payback that it expects to receive is substantial.

Commercial property owner SL Green intends to install Seesmart LEDs in 21 of its buildings before the end of this summer. SL Green estimates that the retrofit, which replaces incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lights, will save it US$750,000 over three years.

Three years is all that it will take for payback due to lower utility and material/labor expenses. Seesmart builds have an estimated lifespan of 8 years, so the project will more than cover its cost. (Just imagine the savings when there's national energy efficiency standards.)

"Lighting represents approximately 25 to 30 percent of total energy cost in the commercial real estate industry, and addressing lighting efficiency is a key ‘low hanging fruit' cost savings opportunity," Jay Black, director of sustainability at SL Green said in a statement. He added lavish praise for Seesmart.

Retrofits are yielding substantial savings in the Big Apple. The Empire State Building was recently upgraded to reduce its energy consumption by almost 38 percent. At nearly a century young, the building is setting an example for modern day efficiency.

A total of US$2.4 million was saved, and 4,000 metric tons of carbon was kept out of the atmosphere over the past year. There is also a social benefit.

Research in UK public housing found that LEDs make people feel safer. The study's participants described the lighting as "fresh and bright." That's a plus if you're an SL Green tenant.

(Image credit SL Green)

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