COURSE CARE
Saving Money With Energy-Efficient Lighting February 3, 2015 By By John Daniels, agronomist, Central Region

Consider upgrading to energy-efficient lighting options to save money while maintaining good light quantity and quality.

With many golf course maintenance projects primarily confined indoors during the winter months, now is an ideal time to increase the energy efficiency of your maintenance facility. Improve your lighting and you can be well on your way to a more sustainable operation—reducing your electricity consumption and saving money.

Often, even facilities built within the last few years can benefit from upgrading to new, more efficient lighting technology. For example, switching to T8 fluorescent lamps will provide more light and use less energy than T12 lamps. The best way to find out how your facility could benefit is to contact your local electricity provider. Your utility company can often help identify specific electrical improvements and may even conduct an energy audit at no cost. Another option is to have an energy audit completed by a local electrician.

Everything from the selection of fixtures and bulbs to the types of lighting controls should be evaluated. Replacing incandescent lights and dated fluorescent lamps to high-efficiency fluorescent lamps (T8 or T5) or light emitting diode (LED) lights can reduce energy consumption. Modern lighting systems require less wattage and also may improve light quality. It is often easy to forget to turn off a light when employees are constantly coming and going. Using motion sensors that turn lights on when someone enters a room and off when they leave can address this issue. Equipping exterior lights with photosensors to prevent operation during daylight hours is another easy and effective way to conserve energy.

When selecting new electrical components – e.g., fixtures, bulbs, appliances, etc. – look for products that are ENERGY STAR compliant. Energy Star-compliant products are independently certified to reduce energy use without compromising features or functionality. Energy-efficient lighting may cost more upfront, but it can often save big money over the life of the product. Moreover, you might find additional incentives in the form of rebates and tax credits—making the overhaul even more appealing.

Source: John Daniels (jdaniels@usga.org)

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