As the SEC contemplates new ESG regulations, your decision on a lighting vendor today can have great implications for the future. Choosing a provider with a proven commitment to sustainability can help ensure your company’s ESG efforts stay on track.
Today, more companies than ever before are keeping tabs on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. The need to track and report ESG performance heavily impacts the commercial real estate sector in particular, as companies answer to investors who are increasingly interested in ESG. But even private companies are paying closer attention to the business decisions that determine how sustainable they are as a company.
In the commercial real estate industry, lighting design can have a huge impact on energy costs as well as carbon emissions. In our experience, commercial lighting represents up to 80% of all energy costs for an average open-air shopping center. Reducing energy use through smart, sustainable LED lighting upgrades makes good business sense because it reduces costs, improves profitability, and makes a strong statement to the customers and communities you serve.
LED upgrades can have a tremendous effect on carbon emissions, since high-efficiency lighting and controls reduce energy use from the grid, thereby slashing Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions (those associated with the generation of electricity). However, not all LED upgrades are created equal, sustainably speaking.
To make sure your commercial LED lighting upgrade project delivers maximum sustainability benefits, here are five key aspects of smart and sustainable upgrades:
Your lighting design should provide optimal lighting at the most efficient cost and energy output. Many commercial lighting companies “over light” projects to increase their value. Does your service provider review photometric layouts to ensure they are achieving the best lighting with the fewest number of fixtures? Fewer fixtures adds to sustainability benefits of your LED upgrade by further reducing energy usage, reducing the need for service calls (and associated carbon emissions) and lowering the overall cost of ownership.
ESG Data Visibility
Does your lighting provider track and report environmental data associated with your projects in a unified way? Can you see the impact of your upgrades in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions? At WLS, we make ESG reporting easy for clients tracking carbon emissions through netLiNK Controls. The simple, secure, web-based portal reports on energy and environmental impacts from LED upgrades across your property portfolio.
Are you able to optimize your energy savings (and your environmental impact)? LED lights are inherently more efficient, but with a well-designed monitoring system such as netLiNK Controls, you can increase your savings. Shopping malls, retail centers, school districts and other properties can manage and monitor individual poles, groups of poles, signage lighting or specific parking areas to dim, turn on or off at specified times. This kind of granular control typically nets our customers a 35% incremental increase in energy savings through the use of netLiNK in addition to the savings from the LED upgrade itself.
Many products made outside the U.S. don’t have good track records when it comes to labor and human rights. Sourcing US-made products creates well-paying jobs domestically and avoids emissions associated with shipping overseas. WLS recommends US-made products for most of our projects, unless clients’ needs specify otherwise.
Finally, the lighting fixtures themselves should be best-in class, offering high performance and a warranty of at least five, preferably ten years. Does your provider do their due diligence when it comes to recommending products? Do they review product spec sheets to understand their performance, warranty and where the products are manufactured?
While lighting needs differ for every customer, ensuring that your lighting design is as smart and sustainable as possible will provide a higher return on your investment in the long run. At WLS Lighting, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality, most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution for every customer challenge.
Learn more about our approach.