Ironically, one of the most overlooked factors when figuring out how to minimize your lighting costs is the biggest source of light we use: the Sun. Sure, solar energy is taking the country by storm as you read this, but another way to save big bucks on your energy bill isn't by getting your energy from a different source, but by using it in a smarter way. Using the light that the Sun already provides can save you huge on your energy bill, here's how.
The Idea: Daylight Harvesting
Daylight harvesting is the idea that integrating the sun's light into how you light your building can cut your lighting bill by a huge margin. For example, some more open spaces or spaces with intermittent use, like more automated parts of manufacturing facilities, simply don't need to be lit artificially. Rather, dimming or even turning off the lights on sunny days or when nobody is around won't hinder business but will put the brakes on your energy bill for the time being.
How to Implement It
There are two basic ways to implement this cost-saving technique: adjusting your lighting where you need it and shutting it off where you don't need it. As mentioned earlier, spaces with more windows or skylights will inevitably require less artificial light on sunny days. If you don't want a glare to affect productivity, then investing in some light diffusing blinds will help get all that natural light without casting shadows or blinding your workers. On the other hand, some places that might be getting more light than they require in your building include boiler rooms, cold rooms, and break rooms that aren't in use.
How to Automate It
Obviously, you can't have a dedicated member of your staff going around flipping light switches all day. The key to getting the most out of this system is figuring out how to automate it, and thankfully, this step is fairly easy if you know an experienced electrical contractor. The key part of this is figuring out how to make sure that the light sensors are getting enough natural light so that they can sync up with the given amount of natural light being provided. Another consideration to make is to establish zones in your building's lighting scheme so that you aren't investing exorbitant amounts of money in an unnecessary number of sensors, and so that there aren't stark differences in lighting in different parts of the building.