Britain can save £700 million per year with better lighting technology

December 7th, 2011 by Carbon Trust

Christmas lights hang above Smith Street, St Peter Port on 22 December 2009 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

As Christmas lights are turned on up and down the British Isles, the Carbon Trust has revealed that British businesses and the public sector can make their own lighting more efficient and save up to £700 million per year.

The Carbon Trust has launched a lighting technology guide offering British businesses guidance on how to choose the most energy efficient lighting without compromising on the quality of the light emitted.

The guidance shows that cost-effective measures such as lighting refurbishment and sensor-based controls can lead to annual cost savings of 20% across all organisations. This is the equivalent of 12 weeks worth of carbon emissions for Greater London.

Installation of lighting controls can cut electricity use by 30 to 50% across industries including food and manufacturing, retail and typical office environments.

Lighting accounts for a fifth of electricity generated in the UK, and so even straightforward no or low-cost measures such as switching lights off and adjusting basic controls and settings, could still save up to £350 million or a very significant 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Carbon Trust Programmes Director Richard Rugg said “As the Christmas lights go on and the days grow shorter, I’m urging businesses to think about the huge savings they could make by boosting the efficiency of their lighting systems.

“From simple reminders to turn the lights off, to installing the latest in lighting technology, there’s £700 million and 4.4 million tonnes in CO2 emissions to be saved by UK businesses making its lighting more efficient.

The Lighting technology guide demonstrates how businesses can dramatically reduce both their carbon output and their bottom line. During this dark time of the year the advice the guide offers couldn’t be more relevant and implementing these simple measures will result in reduced costs across your business.”

Norfolk’s largest home retailer WJ Aldiss received a carbon survey and a business loan from the Carbon Trust, and achieved annual cost savings of £20,000 by replacing lighting in both its stores and its distribution centre.

The existing T8 fluorescent light fittings were replaced with T5 high frequency fittings, while other fixtures were converted through the introduction of low voltage downlights. The changes have subsequently cut WJ Aldiss’s CO2 emissions by 181 tonnes a year.

The Lighting overview guide is part of the Carbon Trust’s Expert in Energy series.

The Carbon Trust is also running a free webinar at 12.00 GMT on 14 December 2011 on how to significantly reduce running costs and improve the lighting in your building.  Visit the free webinar page to sign-up for the free web-based seminar.

The Lighting Technology Guide provides the following advice:

  • Install effective lighting controls. They are the key to ensuring that the right light is provided in the right place at the right time. It does not matter how efficient a luminaire might be – if it is not controlled it will waste energy and money, and lead to unnecessary CO2 emissions.
  • Don’t rule out a more thorough refurbishment. It may appear difficult to replace existing wiring arrangements but the benefits of making a deeper refurbishment often outweigh the cost and inconvenience.
  • Think about luminaires, not just lamps. Lamps are housed in fixtures called luminaires. Make sure they are designed to avoid glare on computer screens and consider illuminating the walls and ceilings so that the user’s whole visual field is considered and not just their desk.
  • Maintain luminaires regularly. This includes cleaning, especially the reflectors and panel diffusers, and ensures the lighting performs as it was designed.
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