Commercial Lighting, Energy Efficient Lighting for Businesses

Energy Efficient Lighting Design for New Businesses

energy efficient lighting business guide retail office restaurant pub warehouse

Whether you’re opening an office or store in an already-built space, are renovating an existing space to suit your new venture, or you’re building from scratch, as a new business, you are in a prime position to start things off right and set your company up for big energy savings with LED lighting. Here’s how to get your business off to a good start with an energy efficient lighting design:

Consult interior lighting design experts

Early on in your quest for energy efficient lighting, you should consider consulting with lighting and interior design experts, especially if you are planning your interior lighting design from scratch and have the blank canvas of a brand new building to work with. Lighting design experts can help you realize and articulate what it is you are looking for in your lighting, give you guidance on what energy efficient lighting will work best for your business and your space, and help direct you toward what’s possible. They’ll also be knowledgeable about the various schemes and rebates your company may be eligible for through the government by selecting energy efficient options such as LEDs.


Assess the situation

With an expert on hand to offer guidance, one of the first things you need to do is figure out what type of lighting is possible for your business. For example:

  • If you are moving into an existing location, you will need to take a look at the current lighting plan to see where the fixtures and electrical outlets are, as well as sort out what is possible and what might need to be changed in order to achieve the look you want.
  • If you are building your location, you will have a bit more freedom and control over the type and position of your lighting fixtures. Work with your contractor and lighting design team to build the space you want.

Questions to ask when assessing your lighting needs

Will your employees need good task lighting?Modern office lighting, for example, calls for bright, white lighting at their desks and other task-oriented stations to help employees see what they are doing and stay focused. To make things even easier on your employees, make the light bulb directional and the lamp adjustable so they can easily control where the light is going. Bonus points for making it dimmable so they can adjust the brightness to their specific needs for any given task.
Will you have shop displays in need of good illumination?LEDs are highly directional, making the light easy to control and adjust. Their beam also doesn’t give off any heat, making them ideal for displaying even heat-sensitive products. Plus, they are available in a wide array of colour temperatures and brightness levels, so it’s easy to find something that suits your retail lighting needs.
Will you have a warehouse or storeroom that needs to be well lit? Thanks to their low energy use, you can have more LED light bulbs at less cost, making it easier to space out the lumens and create an even layer of lighting that doesn’t cause harsh shadows or headaches, and doesn’t make it harder to see.
Are you interested in avoiding wasted man hours changing light bulbs? LEDs are notoriously long-lived, saving you the hassle of replacing them regularly.
Do you want to keep your energy expenses low? LEDs use significantly less energy than other types of light bulbs, cutting your energy consumption and costs.

Start by looking at light bulbs and testing them out. Many people have strong feelings about how their light—and by extension, their light bulbs—should look. What is ideal illumination for you may be different from others, as well as from government workplace recommendations, so remember to consider the needs of your workers and customers when making your selections. When weighing your options, you’ll want to look at the following areas:

Type of lighting

Ask yourself, what am I or my employees trying to accomplish in this area? What type of lighting will they need to accomplish that task easily? Then consider the three basic types of lighting:

  • Ambient – also called “general” lighting because it provides a general level of illumination throughout a room or area so its inhabitants can see well enough to move about freely.
  • Task – a brighter, more concentrated level of lighting that can be adjusted and directed easily so that workers can perform detailed tasks without straining their eyes.
  • Accent – a focused light ideal for highlighting promotional signage, product displays, artwork, architectural details, and other important branding elements.

These three types of lighting should be layered around the workplace to create a functional, well-lit space that is both aesthetically appealing and comfortable to work in.

Types of lighting for your business

OfficeWith modern office lighting, your focus should be on providing an even level of general lighting throughout the office, as well as good task lighting at desks and other task-oriented areas.
Restaurant or pubAmbient and accent lighting are top priority front of house where patrons will be dining. Good task lighting is essential in the kitchen and in other spaces where your staff will need good lighting, such as cash registers and the hostess stand.
RetailMuch like a restaurant, retail lighting design should prioritize ambient and accent lighting wherever customers are going to be to help create an on-brand atmosphere. Good task lighting is necessary around cash registers, fitting room desks, and other detailed-work areas.
WarehouseGeneral lighting that doesn’t cast shadows is essential, as well as task lighting wherever workers need high visibility to complete detailed tasks and fill out paperwork, such as prep tables and desks.


Colour Temperature (CCT)

CCT is measured in kelvins. The lower the number, the warmer the light. For example, candlelight is around 2,200k—very warm—whereas daylight is a much cooler 6,500k.

Very or "extra" warm white
Warm or "soft" white
Cool or "bright" white
Lighting has an impact on both mood, productivity levels and purchase behaviour. The colour temperature and brightness of the light bulb you select will affect how workers and customers move throughout a space.

  • Warm, low lighting helps boost creativity, perfect for collaborative spaces where employees will be brainstorming, and other creative areas.
  • Bright, cool lighting helps workers stay alert and focused.

Colour temperature for your business

OfficeDaylight CCT light bulbs will help mimic outdoor light conditions, keeping office workers from feeling fatigued, developing eye strain, and helping them stay on their circadian rhythm so they get better sleep at night.
Restaurant or pubIn a food and beverage service setting, you’re concerned with providing lighting that creates a comfortable environment for patrons, but that is also easy for your employees to work in.
  • Very warm white lighting is reminiscent of candlelight, lending a cozy and friendly ambience to any space and creating a relaxing environment for employees and patrons alike. It also encourages creative thinking, a valuable tool for waitstaff. Lighting that gets warmer as dimmed is ideal.
  • Bright white or daylight temperature lighting suggest “natural” and “healthy” to patrons, so if your restaurant sells vegan fare or specializes in healthy food, cooler lighting is what you should aim for. Daylight CCT light bulbs will also keep employees more alert, making it ideal in kitchen settings.
RetailWith retail lighting, your goal is to strike a balance between creating an inviting ambience for customers that fits with brand aesthetic, and a proper work environment for employees. With LEDs, it’s easy to create different zones to achieve these optimal lighting conditions.
  • In fitting rooms, you want warm, flattering lighting to make customers look and feel their best.
  • In stock rooms, look for something in the daylight range.
  • On the sales floor, the colour temperature you select will depend on your product offering and what suits your shop’s brand identity. Warm lighting creates a cozy, friendly, familiar, relaxing, vintage, or luxurious feeling in a space. A cooler or daylight CCT bulb gives an impression of natural, clean, fresh, low cost, modern, open or airy.
  • Around checkout areas, a daylight bulb will help keep employees alert.
WarehouseWhen lighting a warehouse, your main goal is safety. Daylight rated light bulbs will help keep workers alert and energized throughout their shift.


LEDs are so energy efficient that you can no longer rely on watts to guide you in terms of light bulb brightness. Instead, you’ll need to look at lumen levels: LED Lumens to Watts Conversion Chart - The Lightbulb Co. UK How bright you want your light bulbs to be depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How many lights there will be in the same area
  • What type of work is being done
  • What type of light fixture it’s going to be
  • The age of your employees
  • Factors such as paint colour, which can impact how light spreads—the darker the paint, the brighter the light will need to be. For example, a task lamp for reading should have at least 800 – 1,100 lumens.
LIGHTING TIP: The age of your employees will affect how many lumens the light should have. Age impacts how bright someone needs a light to be in order to easily see. Children need hardly any lumens to read clearly, whereas someone in their 60s typically needs a minimum of 1,300 lumens. In an office setting, consider letting your workers select light bulbs in their own task lamps to help them avoid eye strain and remain productive.

Selecting the proper lumen level for your business

OfficeFor general lighting, you want an even level of lighting throughout the entire space. Not too bright—just bright enough that employees can move about and perform simple tasks. The number of lumens needed for each bulb or panel will depend on the size of the space and number of fixtures, so consult with your contractor or lighting expert. Brighter, more focused lighting should be left to dedicated task lamps—about was 700-1,300 lumens.
Restaurant or pubHow bright you want the lighting to be depends on the type of food you serve, the brand identity of your restaurant, and the area you’re lighting. In kitchens, opt for bright lighting to help workers see clearly and remain alert, as well as task lighting at workstations in case your overhead lighting creates shadows. In the dining area, however, you can adjust the lighting to suit your needs:
  • Dimmer lighting is ideal for conversation and encourages customers to make more indulgent choices, perfect for rich cuisines and decadent desserts.
  • Brighter lighting encourages customers to be more mindful and make healthier choices, ideal for vegan or vegetarian restaurants and health food bars that sell items like smoothies.
  • To accommodate both bright and dim lighting options and keep things flexible, most restaurants include dimmer switches as part of their interior lighting design, allowing them to dim lighting throughout the day to set the mood and encourage more indulgent behaviour and imbibing throughout the evening.
RetailThe level of brightness you need depends on the product or service you are offering and your store’s branding. After all, lighting can signal a lot to customers about your brand and what you are selling. Obviously, you will want it to be brighter in areas where your workers need to see, such as cash registers and stockrooms, but there is lots of opportunity to play around with light levels in other areas of the store:
  • Dimmer lighting suggests a cozy and more luxurious environment, and—as we mentioned for restaurants—encourages customers to make more indulgent choices. Ideal for higher end products and services, and items that people want but don’t necessarily need.
  • Brighter retail lighting gives an impression of natural, low-cost, healthy, clean, and modern. In a brightly lit setting, customers are more likely to make responsible choices. This makes it perfect for stores and services that offer practical purchases and things people need.
WarehouseIn a warehouse, visibility and worker safety are your primary concerns. Even, bright lighting that isn’t overpowering is the goal. You want the light to be bright enough that workers can see what they are doing and move around freely, but not so bright that it creates shadows or causes squinting and eye strain. Again, the size of your space and number of fixtures will affect how many lumens each light needs, so consult with your building team.

To ensure maximum flexibility in your lighting, consider installing dimmer switches so you can adjust the lighting as needed.

Learn more about lumens or how lighting impacts consumer behaviour.

Style of bulb and fixture

The type of light bulb and fixture you select will be dictated by the function of the space and the work being done there. For instance:

  • Is it a dedicated task area, such as an office desk? A directional light bulb such as a GU10 might be exactly what the reading lamp calls for.
  • Is it an area of relaxation, such as an employee lounge? The classic, standard GLS light bulb is an easy way to add lighting anywhere.
  • Is it functional, general lighting that employees need to see what they are doing? Overhead lighting like LED panels might be what you are looking for.
  • Is it fun, decorative lighting that helps enhance the ambience of the store or restaurant? If the bulb is going to be exposed, then you might want to consider something a little more decorative, such as an LED filament bulb.

Filament light bulbs offer the same energy savings as a regular LED bulb, but they have a unique look that can enhance ambience and signal aesthetic cues about your brand. They’re also available in a variety of colours:

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)

If colour accuracy is important to your work or the work your employees are doing, such as colour matching paint or fabrics, photography, or printing graphics or artwork, you will want to get a bulb with a high colour rendering index (80 or higher) to ensure you are getting an accurate read of the colours.



There are so many decisions to be made and options to choose from when starting out as a new business, and trying to find the right lighting that meets your needs and fits your vision can feel overwhelming. Make the process a little (or a lot) easier by:

  • Speaking to lighting experts—they will be happy to answer your questions and make suggestions.
  • Honestly assessing the situation and being realistic about what is possible and what needs to be changed in the space you have to work with.
  • Thoroughly vetting your lighting options to find the right interior lighting design for your business—LEDs can last upwards of 35 years, so you’ll want to make sure you are happy with what you’ve selected.

Read More

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about installing or upgrading to energy efficient lighting.


About Nicky Walker

Nicola is a lighting specialist at The Lightbulb Company with a keen awareness of the important role lighting plays in our everyday lives. She enjoys discovering new ways in which lighting can affect science, mental health and of course, most of all, reduce our carbon footprints.