How To Make Your Restaurant Lighting More Energy-Efficient

This post is the second in a series on energy-efficient lighting. We’re reviewing all kinds of spaces in homes and businesses to help you save energy.

According to Pacific Gas & Electric’s Food Service Technology Center, restaurants are the biggest energy users in the retail world. Did you know that lighting accounts for about 13% of all energy used in the average restaurant? This sounds like an industry ready for some energy savings.

If you’re still using traditional filament lamps to illuminate your eatery, cafe, or diner, 75% of the energy your lights consume – of the energy you pay for to power those lights – is wasted, given off as heat.

By making easy upgrades to energy-efficient lights in your restaurant, you can save upwards of 75% of the energy used to operate your lights. Plus, newer, innovative light sources can give your customers an elegant and memorable dining experience.

Restaurant Lighting

Here are a few simple suggestions to save energy and hard-earned cash with your restaurant lights: 

Update Your Light Bulbs

Still using standard incandescent light bulbs? The fastest, simplest thing you can do to save energy is to update them. Whether they’re the ubiquitous A19 lamps, reflector lamps for your track lights, chandelier light bulbs in hanging fixtures, or decorative globe lights in the bathroom, you have tons of new energy-efficient options:

  1. CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) are an easy to find, affordable alternative, and they only use about 1/3 of the energy required to power an incandescent. They’re available in a variety of color temperatures, so you can always find one to fit your restaurant’s aesthetic. 
  2. CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) are another great choice for restaurant lighting. They offer similar energy savings to CFLs, but they last about 40% longer and unlike CFLs, are easily dimmed. This lets you save even more energy, and create the ambiance you love.
  3. LEDs (light emitting diodes) are probably the most accessible, energy-efficient light source you can choose to illuminate your dining room. A 12-watt LED A-lamp produces the same about of light as a 60-watt incandescent. Some LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours, which means you won’t have to waste time and money replacing light bulbs either.

Swap Out Your Exit Signs

Changing your incandescent and fluorescent exit signs to LED can really save you a bundle. Consider these numbers: It costs $39 to power an incandescent exit sign for one year. For $11, you can operate a fluorescent exit sign for that same year, but for only $2 each year you can operate and LED exit sign. Each sign will fulfill its required role, but the LED won’t need any maintenance for its rated life of 10+ years! No light bulb replacements, no labor costs. That’s more energy saved and more money in your pocket.

Click here to learn more about LED Exit Signs >>

Add Lighting Controls

Another way to save power with your lights is to adjust them with proper lighting controls.

Put the dining room lights and bar lights on a dimmer to control them for ambiance and time of day. By dimming a light bulb, you extend it’s life and use less energy. Just make sure that if you’re using CFLs or LEDs, you have a dimmer that’s compatible with those light sources.

Occupancy sensors are great to use in closets and bathrooms where people may otherwise leave the lights constantly on in the hustle and bustle. If you have large windows or skylights in your space, you can also set them to detect a certain light level and automatically turn the lights off when not needed.

Click here to learn more about Lighting Controls >>

Rethink Your Accent Lights

If you use display lights or picture lights to accent artwork, photographs, or display cases, consider switching them to LED. Just like LED light bulbs, LED display lights will reduce your space’s energy consumption even more. Added bonus: LED lights come in new and innovative styles. They tend to be sleeker and more polished than older fixtures.

Click here to learn more about Accent Lighting >>

Retrofit Your Recessed Lights

Here’s yet another way to use LEDs to save energy at your eatery: Update your recessed cans with LED retrofits. These fixtures take minutes to install and will last 12-17 years! They’re dimmable, and generate much less heat than older lights, making it easier for you to keep your staff and guests cool and comfortable. (And did I mention they come in tons of decorative styles??)

Click here to learn more about LED Retrofits >>

Have you made any energy-efficient changes to your restaurant or retail space lately? We’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comment section below, or show us a photo on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more energy-saving tips!

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.