The McKnight Group wants to help you see the light as we continue our series about saving money with smart choices for your church remodeling or construction project.

In our prior post, we discussed maximizing your energy savings with the right method of temperature control.

Since lighting is the second-most-costly user of energy in most church buildings, in this post we will be covering ways to save energy—and money—through better lighting choices, with an emphasis on the benefits of LED lighting.

The Evolution of Electric Lighting

First, a quick overview of lighting options over the years. It all started with the traditional incandescent light bulb, first patented by Thomas Edison back in 1879. Even today’s most technologically advanced light bulbs still use 60 watts of electricity to power the highest-wattage incandescent bulb now widely available on the market.

Fluorescent light bulbs were next to appear, beginning in the early 20th century. They have become a very popular lighting option in recent years; in fact, they are the dominant light source in most buildings today. The good news, from a savings perspective, is that a fluorescent bulb that’s equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses only 13 watts of energy to produce the same amount of light.

Understanding LED Savings Advantages

LED stands for light-emitting diode, a technology first created for handheld calculators and similar devices in the 1960s. As with so much technology, these light sources have come a long way in the half-century since, becoming much brighter, more efficient, and affordable.

From an energy savings perspective, an LED light that’s equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses only 4 watts of energy to produce an equally bright light. As a result, LED lighting is typically the most efficient choice when considering lighting options for one’s church building.

There are other advantages to investing in LEDs as well. LED lighting is more durable and longer lasting than conventional incandescent or fluorescent lighting. This means you’re not going to be replacing light bulbs —which is especially important when light fixtures are installed high in the ceiling of your worship center. To that end, longer-lasting LED lighting will also help you save on the cost of hiring a lift to get someone up to replace those hard-to-reach bulbs.

Keeping Your Church Building’s Lighting Up to Date

The average LED light these days will last you about 20 years in a typical church worship center. It’s worth remembering that when those 20 years are up, chances are you’ll not only need to change out your LED bulb, but the entire lighting fixture to keep up with the latest technology.

That may sound daunting, but think about it this way: Nowadays, would you want a computer that’s 20 years old? Just as computer technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, so will lighting technology continue to advance at a rapid rate. By the time you need to replace any LED lighting you install in your new church building—or as part of a church remodeling upgrade—you’re going to want the superior level of energy savings that the latest lighting technology will provide.

New Technology, New Webinars

Part of why we share our free i3 webinars each year is to keep you up to date with these types of technologies. When it’s time to upgrade your church building or begin a new church project, we want you to know the latest information, such as how to save money with high-quality fixtures.

So, plan to sign up for our 2018 i3 webinars—which will be announced soon; visit our website to find all the latest details—and stay tuned for the next installment in this series, which will describe how to save money on structural systems for your building.