In a day and age when saving energy is of high importance, there must be a valuable explanation for why office buildings keep their lights on at night.
As I sat looking out at the city from Darling Harbour the other night, I noticed that nearly all the floors of the big office buildings had their lights ‘on’.
I compared the office buildings to large hotels and apartment buildings that had many of their lights ‘off’— obviously because people occupying those rooms and units turn the lights off when they’re not there. That makes absolute sense, doesn’t it? So why isn’t this same common sense not followed in office buildings?
I started doing some research online to find out. In this day and age when everyone is so conscious of the need to save energy in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, I thought surely there is a perfectly valuable and logical explanation to why all these lights are left ‘on’ at night.
To my surprise, this is what I found from various articles and blogs:
Surely cleaners don’t clean every floor at once all night long, not all lights need to be kept on for security reasons, and high-rise buildings have red blinking antennas on the roof to prevent planes from hitting them. These reasons weren’t convincing, so I dug a little deeper.
I found a study on overnight lighting in London’s non-domestic building stock by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Unfortunately, it explained that the data collected “did not provide reasons for overnight lighting”. However, the study did examine literature that suggests the following possible causes:
Are diffusion of responsibility, forgetfulness due to stress and lack of motivation proper reasons for most city office buildings to be wasting so much energy every night?
If these truly are the reasons for leaving office building lights on, then the solution is simple ... let’s take responsibility and do something about it.
You might work in one of those tall, bright buildings that shine at night. Why not take action and see if you can get the lights turned off on your floor or in the entire building. Here are some suggestions:
If lack of financial resources comes up as a deterrent to installing motion-sensor lighting or a better security system, suggest some research into how much money it costs your office to leave the lights on all night. Investing in energy-saving solutions will likely be a cheaper option in the long run.
Share your thoughts!