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Remove unnecessary lighting by de-lamping


The removal of excess lights by ‘de-lamping’ is a simple and effective way to save energy.

Some common areas in apartment buildings are actually over lit and suitable for de-lamping. The most likely location for de-lamping is underground car parks.

De-lamping involves the removal of light bulbs or linear fluorescent tubes from light fittings while ensuring safe lighting levels to prevent accident or injury. Minimum light levels should still comply with the AS/NZS 1680.2.2 Australian lighting standard.


1. To undertake a de-lamping project you will first need to conduct an audit of lighting levels using a ‘lux meter’. A lux meter is a hand held device that allows you to directly measure lighting levels (measured in lux) and work out if an area is over lit.

You can purchase a lux meter from an electronics store for less than $100 or hire one from a technical rental company. Most lighting contractors have a lux meter and may be able to conduct an audit of lighting levels as part of a quotation for upgrades.

2. You need to take several light readings in one area to determine exactly where de-lamping could be undertaken.

3. Ensure the power is turned off and remove the excess light bulb or tube. It’s a good idea to leave a sticker on the light fitting to inform maintenance people that it has been intentionally left empty. Someone may try to install a new light in the fitting if they are unaware that this has been done on purpose.

4. Once de-lamping is complete you should measure lux levels again to ensure they are adequate and that you still have even light distribution throughout the area.

Key issues

  • Residents will need to be made aware of de-lamping otherwise you could receive reports about faulty lights
  • Some linear fluorescent fittings with twin tubes require both tubes to work effectively so these may need to be checked by an electrician
  • Save the light bulbs that have been removed so you can use them later
  • If you are disposing lights then they should be recycled appropriately

Costs and savings

The cost of de-lamping is essentially just a labour cost. If undertaken by existing maintenance staff then there is no additional cost at all. If suitable staff are not available then it is recommended the work be undertaken by a licensed electrician.