Phase out of inefficient lighting to drive carbon reductions
Light is essential to us as humans to go about our daily lives and activities. We take it for granted that we can walk into buildings and turn on the lights and get on with our day. Lighting is therefore an incredibly important building service, but one which also uses a significant amount of energy. According to the Carbon Trust, lighting accounts for some 20% of the electricity generated in the UK.
With this in mind, when considering how to de-carbonise, lighting is one area which must be considered. We have seen many successful carbon reduction lighting projects including the upgrade to highly efficient LED lights, as well as the installation of better controls to ensure lights are being only used when needed by automatically turning off when spaces are unoccupied or dimming when there is sufficient daylight. Because of the high efficiency of LED lighting, as well as the added benefits in terms of longer life span and reduce maintenance, LED looks set to be the lighting of choice into the future.
The recent government announcements that other less efficient forms of lighting are to be phased out is therefore welcome news. Most halogen lighting was banned from sale from September, and it has been announced that fluorescent lighting will have to be removed from shelves by September 2023.
The government estimates that the transition to LED lighting will save 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 which is equivalent to removing over half a million cars from UK roads. It is expected that by 2030 85% of all lighting sold will be LED.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BUSINESSES IN THE UK?
Whilst September 2023 may sound a long way off, this will come round quickly. Whilst some businesses may look to roll out LEDs as and when existing lamps fail, in many instances a proactive, planned lighting upgrade to LED’s makes sense for a number of reasons:
- Given the Climate Crisis and the carbon benefits of upgrading to LEDs, acting as soon as possible will be environmentally beneficial. For those business with carbon reduction or Net Zero carbon targets this will contribute towards that journey.
- There are cost savings to be made through reduced energy use. Given the recent increase on energy costs, the return of investment is improved.
- Forward planning allows for a full lighting design to be produced. Lighting design is important to ensure that the lighting is suitable for the space to ensure the wellbeing of occupiers, whilst also designing for the lowest energy use possible. Both of these things should be taken account of, including assessing opportunities for making best use of natural daylight, whilst also looking to reduce glare and design for maximising the productivity of occupants. Design should focus on both people and planet.
- Another consideration for property owners is the impact on Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade. In most instances, upgrading from older, less efficient lighting types to LEDs will see the EPC score improve, which may well shift the grade from one band to the next one up. Even if the lighting upgrade is being undertaken by a tenant, the landlord would still see the benefit of this on the building EPC if the lighting design information is shared and populated within the EPC model. We also advocate having a full lighting design for input to the EPC as the actual design figures (in terms of lumens per circuit watt) are often better than the software assumed default figure for LEDs.
- As well as being lower in energy, LEDs tend to have a higher reliability and lifespan, meaning that additional costs are saved on replacement lamps and maintenance.
In summary, the government phase out of older lighting is welcome. The upgrade to LED lighting should be considered ahead of the official phase out, as there are many opportunities for businesses to see positive outcomes by upgrading to LED lighting earlier. Where possible, such projects should also consider the integration of enhanced lighting controls to further reduce energy and carbon.
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