Lighting accounts for 20 per cent of all the energy consumption in the UK*, which means it also accounts for a significant chunk of energy bills. Indeed, it can rise to up to 40pc of a building’s electricity bill**, meaning any way to make that lighting more efficient can dramatically cut costs.
Valued for their crisp white glow, LED (light-emitting diode) lights won their inventors the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics3. LEDs are ‘instant on’ lights unlike many fluorescent lamps and do not need time to warm up before they work at full strength.
Consuming less than 80 per cent of the electricity of traditional incandescent bulbs, LED lights can shave pounds off electricity bills. Many of us already have them in the home, but the potential use for businesses are much greater – along with the savings.
How LEDs work
Unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, which emit light as a current is passed through the metal within them, LEDs pass electrons through a semiconductor and consequently have no filament to wear out (which also means they don’t get as hot).
They can produce light in a variety of colours and like the white fluorescent tubes that light many offices, can do so without a great deal of glare. Unlike fluorescent tubes though, they can be readily turned on and off without diminishing their lifespan.
The market for LEDs
LEDs pass electrons through a semiconductor and consequently have no filament to wear out
In the global market,5 sales are expected to reach around $30.5bn (£23bn) this year, or roughly 36pc of the total value of global lighting sales. It’s a remarkable achievement for an innovation that reached the mass market only in 1997.
Energy Company E.ON is in the middle of a drive to replace much of its buildings’ lighting with LEDs, in a scheme that will save 178 tonnes of carbon emission each year, and pay for itself in savings within 7 years.
Advantages of LED lights
The benefits of LED lighting are becoming widely appreciated by customers as they replace standard filament, halogen and fluorescent strip lights. For a start, LED lighting can be more attractive, energy efficient, cost-effective and durable than existing methods.
Mark Wray, B2B large energy solutions sales manager at E.ON says “a cutting edge lighting solution will help the customer make significant energy, cost and CO2 savings while improving the overall working environment, comfort and productivity.
“This can be a simple one-for-one retrofit, right the way through to a complex full redesign.”
Wray notes that some projects E.ON has delivered have seen up to 90pc reductions in lighting costs thanks to LEDs, but stresses that to get the greatest efficiency it’s important that businesses tailor any approach to their specific site, as a poorly implemented LED swap will not necessarily lead to savings on its own.
Generally though, it isn’t difficult for a new lighting solution to make a difference in the bottom line relatively quickly. In terms of energy efficiency, a standard 50W halogen lamp uses just 10pc of the electricity it consumes for producing its light.
In a commercial building filled with halogen bulbs, swapping out these bright but inefficient lights could see businesses reduce their lighting bills by a massive 90pc.6
Although their prices are falling rapidly, LED lights are initially expensive to buy compared to fluorescent tubes. However, some LED lights have an operating lifespan of some 70,000 hours, which is eight to 10 times longer than standard lamps, according to Philips LUMEC.7
And since there are no filaments, LEDs can withstand a greater intensity of vibration and shock than standard lights and can be exposed to rain and snow – which is why Maglite, the manufacturer of rough-and-tough torches, has taken to using them in its products used by the US police and military.
In addition, LED lights are more eco-friendly, since they contain no mercury or other harmful gasses or emit any harmful UV rays – both minor but nonetheless real concerns for users of easily broken fluorescent strip bulbs – and crucially, few LED lights contain glass. And when it comes to the environment, a 13w LED light emits 68pc less carbon dioxide than a standard 40w incandescent bulb, running 10 hours per day.8
Follow the council’s example and let your business benefit with achievable savings of up to 80%
With an energy saving of up to 90% compared to filament bulbs, LED technology is the most efficient light source on the market. They boast an impressive life span of roughly 50,000 hours versus filament bulbs at 1000 hours and energy saving bulbs which last 6000 to 15,000 hours. Their lengthy life cycle is of obvious appeal to consumers as they require less frequent replacements, reducing the need for upfront spending.
The County Council is working to reduce its energy costs and impact on the environment through a rolling programme of energy efficiency work at its corporate buildings.
Under the latest phase, low-energy LED lighting has been fitted in public and back office areas at Horsham, Hassocks, Rustington, Storrington and East Preston libraries.
The new fittings and bulbs will improve lighting for library users and staff, reduce annual energy consumption by more than 48,000 KWh and cut carbon emissions by 21 tonnes per year – contributing towards the County Council’s 2025 50% carbon reduction target.
The work will also save an estimated £6,000 off the authority’s annual energy bill. With LED lighting requiring significantly less ongoing maintenance, these improvements are also expected to make savings to the County Council’s maintenance budget.
The library improvements form part of the authority’s long-term commitment to reducing its energy consumption, increasing energy efficiency and generating renewable energy which is set out in the West Sussex Energy Strategy.
This year, solar panels will be installed at 50 schools (under a £3 million programme agreed by councillors in March) and further LED lighting upgrades will be carried out on some buildings, including County Hall, Chichester. The County Council’s second solar farm will also come on stream, by the end of 2017, generating clean energy for the grid and use in WSCC buildings.
The County Council’s energy projects are project managed by Your Energy Sussex, the WSCC-led council energy partnership, and delivered by local contractors, which provides a boost to the local economy, jobs and skills.
Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I am delighted that the County Council continues to lead by example on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The lighting projects show how, by investing a little up-front, we can improve the buildings that our residents use. While saving energy and reducing costs. The fact that the projects pay for themselves over time, and support local businesses to thrive, is a real bonus.”
The West Sussex Energy Strategy, agreed by County Councillors in 2016, sets out the key actions which need to take place to build secure, affordable and sustainable energy for the county. This includes ensuring energy is used more efficiently, throughout the council, as well as by businesses and residents.
If your gym is still using traditional lighting fixtures such as CFLs, metal halide bulbs or fluorescent lights, you are without a doubt consuming more power than you need. If you want to reduce your operational costs, you need to start replacing these fixtures with high bay LED lights or other suitable fixtures.
Despite the increase, the UK recorded the largest decline in emissions amongst the Member States. Both the UK and Germany have accounted for 48% of the total reduction in EU emissions over the last 25 years. For 2015, the UK reduced emissions by more than 19,400kt of CO2 equivalent, a 3.7% decrease, more than the combined reductions of the eight other nations that recorded a decrease in emissions in 2015.
Lower emissions in the UK were attributed to the “liberalising of energy markets” and the switch from oil and coal to gas in electricity production. In fact, the UK’s electricity and heat production represents the largest emissions reduction across the bloc, accounting for 7.5% of the overall reductions.
The EU recorded a 4% decline in emissions in 2014. However, 19 Member States saw emissions increase in 2015, with Spain, Italy and Netherlands accounting for the largest increases. Rising emissions in these countries were triggered by “substantial” increases in coal generation and the use of gas in the residential sector.
In order that Greenlight-Led are able to cope with increased activity in the Basingstoke, Bristol, Reading and Exeter areas, we are delighted to welcome new Team Members Mark, Ricky and Caroline to manage the Berkshire, Devon and Somerset territories. Demand for LED lighting in Berkshire is particularly high and we are currently working on several high profile projects in Bracknell, Newbury, Slough and Reading. These together with installations currently in process will soon be reported in the case study section
“Sainsbury’s has partnered with GE to install the latest LED energy efficient lighting solutions,” GE said on the Current website, which claimed that the LED lighting will cut energy usage by 59% compared to conventional lighting and save 180 tonnes of CO2. It also extolled the uniform light quality from the new lights.
It made similar claims for its other new all-LED retail lighting deployments:
Philips says its ArenaVision LED stadium lighting can help UHD cameras “capture the smallest gestures and emotions of players.” (Source: LaPresse.)
“The Philips ArenaVision pitch lighting system meets the needs of TV broadcasters and football federations which need high-quality lighting to meet the needs of ultrahigh-definition television and superslow-motion action replays,” Philips said.
UHD television is a format defined by the International Telecommunications Union that calls for either 4096×2160 pixels (4K) or 8192×4230 pixels (8K). Both mark a big leap from conventional high-definition television. But UHD cameras require high-quality lighting. Philips implied in its announcement that HID does not support UHD.
In order to make the ArenaVision LED stadium lighting work with UHD, Philips uses drivers that minimize flickering. Although flicker is undetectable to the human eye, it can nullify the benefit of the high-frame-rate cameras used for UHD. Conventional HID stadium lights generally have too much flicker to support slow-motion UHD, unless they are modified, With ArenaVision’s flicker avoidance, “The camera can capture the smallest gestures and emotion of players for ultrahigh definition,” a Philips spokesperson told LEDs Magazine. “This allows broadcast also to send ultraslow-motion shots.”
In another benefit, the LEDs do not have to warm up before rising to their full brightness, as was required with the HIDs, Philips said.
The ArenaVision lights will also provide an average of 30% energy savings, it noted, although Philips did not emphasize energy savings as a reason for lighting a stadium with LEDs. Rather, it focused on broadcast quality.
The upper limit of capital contributions available will reduce from a maximum of £10,000 to £5,000 per entity for all new applications received on or after 10th August 2017. The percentage of project costs available under the scheme will also revert back to 15% from the current rate of 30%. No changes to the application process will result from this change, however the revised percentage may mean that applicants without an offer in place, and with a smaller project value are no longer eligible. With the contribution at 15%, and with the smallest contribution available at £750, this means that projects must exceed £5k in total value to be eligible. Everything else will remain as it currently is with regard to the application process and requirements.
Who can apply?
The Green Business Fund is an energy efficiency support service aimed primarily at small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in England, Wales and Scotland. SMEs are defined as such if they meet two of the three following criteria:
• No more than 250 employees;
• Annual turnover not in excess of £25.9m; or
• Annual balance sheet not in excess of £12.9m
and if they are not more than 25% owned by an entity which does not meet the criteria.
Franchises are also eligible providing they have a different registered company number and are a separate legal entity to their managing partnership.
Are you currently looking to upgrade and think you qualify for the grant? Get in touch now to find out more. 01202 862679 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As Bob Karlicek, the director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA), noted, “We don’t have the expression ‘mood lighting’ for nothing.”
But in the last few decades, scientists have come to a firmer understanding of how the spectral content and intensity of light can alter biological processes. Many studies have shown a connection, for instance, between blue-rich white light and the suppression of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, leading to many warnings about using LED-lit gadgets and computer screens, or even general illumination LEDs, at night.
Conversely, recent research has shown that blue wavelengths can excite a pigment called melanopsin that resides in the eye’s non-visual photoreceptors (known as intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells or ipRGCs) and sends stimulating signals to the body’s master clock that resides in the brain.
With such impressive science, it seems that lighting is on the cusp of a new human-centric era, in which we can use the same light we use for general illumination to encourage physiological effects such as sleep and stimulation. White light with a strong red spectral makeup might help us sleep. Blue light might help us stay alert and learn. And so on.
What makes the possibility all the more likely is that LEDs lend themselves to delivery of different wavelengths. “The LED allows us to be a little bit more precise than incandescent because you can tune the spectrum,” noted Mariana Figueiro, acting director of Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center (LRC), a sister research center to Karlicek’s LESA. “You can change the spectrum over the course of the day.”
Nurses Leanne Langhorn (l) and Lone Moeslund (r) pushed for a circadian lighting system at the brain trauma ward at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark to help patients recover faster. The technology seems to be working, as patients are resting better and are less stressed, among other benefits.
But exactly how the concepts proven in laboratory studies might work across homes, workplaces, offices, factories, hospitals, care homes, schools, and the like is something that is still in its early days and largely unproven on a broad operational level.
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