Why In The World Do Businesses Leave Their Lights On At Night?


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I had to run out and do some errands late last night and I was amazed that every single office building I drove by had at least 70% of their lights on at 10pm. Why is that? And on top of that, people had even left their monitors on as well, using even more power when no one needs it. Granted, I will give some excuse to a few of them as it is indeed possible that the janitors were inside cleaning up. But I guarantee that even if I had gone back out at 3am most of the lights would still be on. Is there a reason why businesses don’t tell the last employee out to hit the lights?

In the United States alone, businesses lose $5-10 Billion dollars per year on lighting their buildings at night. And for what? So I can look inside and see the diploma from Harvard on the wall? Add the environmental cost of the energy used all night and it all adds up.

So do us all a favor…if you work in an office building, try and turn off your lights in your office or cubicle before you head out for the night. Turn off the monitor and at the bare minimum put your computer to sleep as well. Maybe you can start a trend and get other people to do the same. Personally I kind of think it should be a law or something that businesses must turn their lights off at night unless they can show a good reason not to..like they are a bank or something. But I seriously doubt that the hundreds of companies in the building down the street need anything to be lit up for 12 hours at night.

Really…does anyone know why companies leave the lights on? I heard the rumor that it was so airplanes don’t hit the buildings, but if that is the case, why not just leave the lights at the top on? And why bother having the red blinking antenna on the roof?

Sorry, had to vent. Hope you don’t mind, it’s been bugging me….

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  1. My call center is open 24 hours, there are always people here. Two Friday’s ago at about 2 pm, the lights in my building went lower. That will happen sporadically but usually they come right back up. This time they didn’t, and it happened again last Friday. So it seems that the company has decided to save energy on the weekends. Actually the lower lights are great, since we are all on computers, but they won’t keep them lower all the time.

  2. My university, which is a giant tower, automatically switches off lights in a room when it hasn’t sensed any motion for 5-10 minutes I think. It’s great! Means that even if someone forgets to switch the lights off after they leave, it’ll do it automatically anyway.

  3. While I can understand call centers, I am willing to bet that most lights left on in a building are not call centers nor 24 hour businesses. Take a city like NY with all the lights on…maybe 10% of those lights in the skyscrapers are on for work reasons.

    I am glad to hear that your company is trying to save energy…and it is so much easier to use a computer when it is a little dimmer!

  4. There are also programs that companies can install that will shut down a computer after a certain hour. If a computer is on then, it will display a message informing any users that the computer will shut down if ‘cancel’ is not clicked in a certain amount of time. If no one is there to tell it to stay on, it will shut down automatically. That way, if someone leaves it on by accident, it can be shut down by the program.

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