By Greg Shreeve, Energy Consultant, Future Climate.
One of the easiest places to start reducing the running costs of your business is lighting. Five years ago, over two thirds (68%) of industrial electricity costs were spent on lighting. Since then, efficient lighting products, like LEDs, have dropped in price. Yet in case-study after case-study, Smarter Choices assessors have found SMEs could be saving thousands of pounds each year with more efficient and better lighting design. Here are some of the ways efficient lighting can benefit your building.
With the rapid decline in cost, LEDs have become the world’s leading lighting technology. They are significantly more efficient than incandescent, halogen, halide and compact fluorescent lamps and more efficient than linear fluorescent lighting. Compared to earlier bulbs, the quality and distribution of light from LEDs has improved, making them suitable alternatives to every type of light fitting.
Their lifetime of up to 50,000 hours reduces replacement costs. In the manufacturing sector where nominal use is around 4,000 hours per year bulbs won’t need replacing for over a decade. In an office this could be up to two decades.
LED bulbs provide full output from the moment they are turned on and can also be dimmed. This means with daylight sensors and motion controls they can respond rapidly to lighting demands to help reduce unnecessary energy use.
Before heading straight for replacements of the lighting arrangement, an assessment of your building’s lighting requirements and a design plan will help to optimise savings and improve the visual conditions for the building occupants.
Good lighting design serves to provide the right kind of lighting in the right places at the right time. It should reduce fatigue caused by lighting being too dark, too bright or varying in contrast between spaces.
Studies have shown lighting to be an important factor for staff well-being, with one study showing office staff productivity improved by 12 per cent following lighting improvements. Smarter Choices can link you to lighting specialists who can assess your buildings and specify the most efficient solutions to meet your needs.
Installing motion sensors in tandem with new fittings will also improve the lifetime of each lamp as it will be on for less time. This can particularly help cut energy use in bathrooms and toilets or other areas that are infrequently occupied. They can also be incorporated with daylight sensors (see below) avoiding lights being needlessly left on.
Our eyes have evolved to function optimally under light provided by the sun. Efficient indoor lighting therefore, should be planned and controlled to leverage as much daylight as possible.
Light level controls provide a cost-effective and simple solution to energy saving. These allow switching and dimming of lighting to maintain the right level of light (luminance) throughout the building whilst using the minimum amounts of electricity.
An opportunity to refurbish
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for nearly all SMEs. The interruption in trading has had its negative effects, but many businesses are now taking stock of their operations and using this as an ideal opportunity to refurbish, saving money and improving sustainability in the process.
Contact us on email@example.com or 0207 721 5031 to see how Smarter Choices can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.