Bright Idea: Better Light with Less Energy Usage

Posted on Sep 19 2012 - 5:52pm by Brent Hardy


Saving energy is always a smart concept, but when you can do it and have better lighting in the process, that’s a bright idea! I recently told you about the energy-efficiency lighting improvements on the exterior of retrofitted properties, so now it’s time to take a look inside at some bright lighting solutions implemented at Extra Space Storage.


Transitioning to Brighter, More Efficient Lights

Most of our lighting output takes place in hallways, so it’s important to get that right. During retrofits, we replace the T12 magnetic ballast lights in hallways with T8 lights, which operate with an electronic ballast. The change is significant – we’re not just going with a prettier light. The old T12 magnetic ballast lights run old, inefficient technology, while the new lights are better at regulating electricity through wires.


Each transitioned light uses about 28% less energy compared to the old T12 lights. Not only do the T8 lights use less energy, they also shine more brightly. We’ve completed these lighting improvements at about 220 properties, creating a lot of energy savings!


Going Natural and Free with Sunlight

We’re also continuing our efforts to reduce energy consumption in our retrofitted properties by making use of daylight harvesting with skylights and photoelectric sensors.


The sensors can detect when there’s enough natural light coming in through our skylights during the day. When ample sunlight streams in from the roof via our skylights, the sensors save energy by not turning on unnecessary lights. Not only is the sunlight available free of charge, but it’s more enjoyable than artificial lighting. Skylights and photoelectric sensors aren’t exactly new technology, but they’re still some of the brightest solutions for saving energy and money.


Sensing Motion and Saving Energy

Why have a lonely light shine? When customers leave their storage units, the boxes and teddy bears don’t care if it’s dark. That’s why we replace inefficient twist timers with motion sensors that shut off after 15 minutes unless more movement is detected.


The twist timers can be set for 30 minutes, but most customers don’t stay in their storage units that long. Customers tend to set the twist timers for much longer than needed, while motion sensors save energy by staying in tune with the actual needs of customers. When it comes to lighting up a storage unit, that actual need, or sweet spot, seems to be just 15 minutes. Of course, motion will keep the lights on longer for customers who take a bit more time among their boxes and bears.


Whether it’s updating lighting, installing motion sensors, or skylights for daylight harvesting, at Extra Space Storage we’re consistently evaluating ways to save energy and reduce our impact on the environment.


What changes have improved your energy efficiency in your business or household?  Have you noticed changes in energy like motion sensor lighting in hallways or solar power being used by other businesses or local governments?


Brent Hardy