clean light fixtures

To Save Energy, Look Up

Clean Light Fixtures Can Save Facility Managers Money

Several years ago, the International Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) conducted a study that found Facility Managers could save as much as 10 percent on their lighting costs, just by cleaning light fixtures.  While it is an older study, much of their findings are as relevant today as they were when it was conducted. In fact, as we shall discuss, they may be even more relevant today. 1

Led by Luminaire Dirt Depreciation, an organization that works with light bulb manufacturers, designers, architects, as well as Facility Managers, the study found that facilities could reduce their lighting needs and keep building users happy, just by cleaning soiled light bulbs and fixtures.  Additionally, this can help light bulbs last longer, both of which can produce cost savings for Facility Managers.

According to both organizations, the loss of light due to accumulated dust, has become even more of a problem today than it was years ago.  This is because so many facilities now use LED technology.

Traditional bulbs or fluorescent bulbs can last several months to three years, but LED bulbs last between five to ten years.  This means they are attended to less often, resulting in a much greater potential for dust to accumulate over time.  This reduces brightness levels, and since the loss is so gradual, Facility Managers typically do not notice it until building users complain about adequate light.

Another factor that has resulted in today’s light fixtures getting dustier faster, is the fact that facilities are typically totally enclosed.  Whereas older buildings had windows that opened and depended less on air-conditioning, most of today’s facilities do not have windows that open and are entirely dependent on HVAC systems year-round.  Even if the filters in these systems are changed regularly, they still can generate dust that tends to collect on light bulbs and fixtures.

New or old, “all lighting systems lose light as they operate; fixtures get dirty,” says Robert Levin, a corporate scientist with Osram Sylvania.  “So initially you provide for more light, which means more expensive installation [and] more energy consumed, which also means higher operating costs.”

Some contract cleaning companies will clean building light fixtures either as an add-on service, or it may be included in the agreements with their customers.  Because Medallion is so sustainability-focused, we encourage our clients to have their fixtures cleaned at least once per year; more often in busy locations, used by many people.  The results are greater illumination, less energy consumption and happier tenants.

Put Service by Medallion to work for you. For more information on this topic or help with any building cleaning and operating need, contact a Service By Medallion Business Solutions Specialist at (650) 625-1010.


  1. 1. “Cleaning Fixtures Improves Illumination,” USA TODAY, June 1999
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