Money in the Stairwell

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Money in the Stairwell

Psst! Hey Buddy, wanna save a few bucks? Here’s a quick and easy way to find some money in your existing building: there’s always money in the stairwell. And I’m not just talking about the loose change that has fallen to the floor of the bottom level.

Remember we have two ways to save money with lighting?

  1. Reduce watts
  2. Reduce hours

A stairwell offers the perfect opportunity to save money both ways.

Reduce Watts
Existing 2-lamp T12 fluorescent stairwell fixtures consume over 80 watts per fixture. Newer fluorescent technology will provide some energy savings while LED options may offer even more savings due to reduced wattage. This LED stairwell light from Lutron consumes only 15-30 watts per fixture. Or try this one from Acuity Brands Lighting with options ranging from 13-43 watts per fixture.


Reduce Hours
Did you know the typical commercial building stairwell is illuminated 24/7 but only occupied 3% of the time? The more exciting feature of both of the above light fixtures is that they also offer built-in controls to turn off lights until someone is in the space. If your stairwell has windows, save even more by using daylight sensors to keep the lights off during daytime hours.

Hey, it’s no banana stand, but there’s always money in the stairwell. C’mon!

Where do you find easy money in your building? Have you already found all of the money in your stairwell?



Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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