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You could save as much as 80 per cent of the energy used by lighting on common property by adapting light bulbs or fittings, while still maintaining a well-lit environment for residents.

Lighting on common property includes that placed in stairwells, hallways, foyers, car parks, laundry rooms, and around the exterior of the building.


Lighting projects

Most lighting changes are not expensive and often have a payback period of less than four years. This means that you will quickly recoup your costs through reduced energy bills. Because lights with a longer life span do not need to be replaced as often you will also reduce maintenance costs.

Do an audit

The first step is to complete a quick audit of the lighting installed throughout the common areas of your apartment building.

Check with your strata manager or building manager to see if they can give you a lighting inventory for the building. Find out whether lighting replacements are already included in the long-term plan for your sinking fund.

Lighting terminology 

Understanding some basic lighting concepts can be helpful. Parts of a light:

  • Luminaire – the whole light including the light fitting or fixture, the lampholder and the lamp
  • Lampholder – the part that provides electrical connection to the lamp and holds it in place
  • Lamp – the light source mounted within a luminaire - also called the light globe or bulb
  • Control gear – including starters and ballasts - converts the energy supplied to the building into a form that best suits the light source

Things to consider

  • Lights with a lower ‘Wattage’ generally use less energy
  • Lights come in different colours: they can appear warmer (yellow) or cooler (blue)
  • The light produced is measured in lumens and is called luminous flux

The Energy Saver, Energy Efficient Lighting; Technology Report can be a useful tool useful when investigating the best replacement option.


Once you have decided to replace inefficient light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives you’ll want to make the case for funding. Consider not only the upfront cost of the new bulbs but also:

  • The payback period given the energy savings
  • The maintenance savings if the new bulbs have a longer life

Our business case template can help you take it to the next level and make the case for a lighting upgrade. 

Check with your executive committee, strata manager or building manager to see if there is a long-term maintenance plan linked to your building’s sinking fund. The plan might tell you when the existing light bulbs are near the end of their lifespan.

Funding and rebates

Check to see if your light bulb replacement project is eligible for financial assistance or a rebate.

For example, in New South Wales the Energy Savings Scheme creates financial incentives for organisations to invest in energy savings projects. The common areas in apartment buildings are eligible for inclusion because they are included in the definition of ‘commercial lighting’. Find out if your lighting replacement project is eligible.

The Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme subsidises commercial lighting upgrades.