There have been tremendous improvements in the efficiency of lighting over the last 20 years. The movement from older technologies such as incandescent, halogen, CFL, and fluorescent with magnetic ballasts has given way to the use of LED and high-performance T8 fluorescent options. As a result, new office building projects are being designed with lighting power densities that are around .5 watts/ft, a dramatic drop from what was possible even a few years ago. Still, lighting, in most buildings, remains the second highest energy user, and lighting controls remain one of the best options to improve efficiency.
Of course, there are also additional benefits to lighting controls including improved occupant support (i.e. comfort) by helping to provide the desired lighting levels. As states move to adopt the latest energy codes, the use of lighting control will become a requirement and no longer just a “nice to have.”