According to the US Department of Energy, cited in an ad from Fortune, Vol. 160, Sept. 28, 2009 at 55, “lighting is by far the largest user of electricity in commercial buildings. It consumes 38% of the total – more than space heating, cooling, ventilation, equipment, and computers combined.” (emphasis in original).
The ad by Lutron recommends the installation of dimmers, which “can easily reduce lighting electricity by 20%.” Add occupancy sensors and you can cut energy consumption by an additional 35 percent. Daylight controls go even farther.
A further benefit for a legal department that invests in or encourages dimmed lights is that the air stays cooler without air conditioning. “As a rule of thumb, cooling usage is reduced by one watt for each three watts of lighting that are cut.” The article mentions additional benefits from sophisticated lighting systems, such as morale and productivity.
Perhaps few general can revamp their lighting systems on their own, but they should at least be mindful of these conservation measures and push for what changes and awareness that they can.