Energy Efficient Lighting Solutions and Systems

Energy Efficient Lighting

Contrary to what many box shifting businesses would have you believe, energy efficient lighting is not just about LED.

Remember, before you do anything with your lighting, “The right amount of the right light, in the right place, at the right time.”

Now then, if your lighting is very energy efficient, but doesn’t do a good job of lighting up the required area/task, then you might as well have not bothered changing anything in the first place.

There are three clear elements to energy efficient lighting:

• Design – Getting the right light levels in the right place.

• Light Choice – Which light you use is mainly a compromise between the cost of the lamp, the amount of light emitted, the power consumed, the costs of maintenance, and a few other factors.

• Lighting Control – Minimising the amount of time the light is on, or reducing the amount of light/energy when appropriate.

Lighting Control is such a big factor that we have written a separate paper about this. If you are looking at energy efficient lighting, please read that paper in conjunction with this one.

We’ll assume that you might be looking at which types of lighting might be suitable to help keep your energy bills low.

What about the design part?

Well, it’s a bit of overkill to involve a lighting designer every time you want to change from one light bulb to another. However, if you are making changes for an office, factory, warehouse, school, etc then you should really involve a professional.

You have to weigh up the risks. If you are changing a few bulbs at home and you make it worse, it may only have cost you £10s and you can always put it back to how it was. If you are undertaking a large project, then you are risking £10,000s – and then it might pay to get some help.

The Most Common Types Of Lights:

Incandescent:

The traditional, popular filament light bulb. These are not very efficient. So much so that 60W and higher have been banned from many developed countries. However, it does give out a lovely colour of light and isn’t all that far off a daylight equivalent.

They are also fragile – I’m sure we’ve all replaced a good number of these… Most of the power is turned to heat, and that’s why they are not an efficient light source.

Tungsten Halogen:

These are most common as downlights illuminating kitchens and homes around the world, and in flood lights. They are also in-efficient at turning power in to light. They produce a lot of heat too. They have been described as ‘the worst sin the lighting industry ever unleashed on the general public’. But they do have a nice colour of light too…

Fluorescent Lamps/Tubes:

These are still quite efficient. Swapping these to LED is only really justifiable when the lights are on close to 24hrs a day. However, there may be other reasons to change them, such as maintenance, heat, etc.

They can take a little while to get up to full brightness, but do come in a range of colours from yellowy white to very white.

One thing to be aware of when considering changing these to LED is that very few are actually suitable as a one for one replacement. Be very dubious about claims made by manufacturers about the amount of light they emit, and for how many years they will emit it (that is different from Xyrs guarantee). Ask us for a bit of help on this, and to select LED lights which are up to scratch.

High Bay Flood Lighting:

These are usually metal halide or sodium lamps. The efficiency is OK.

Just like with fluorescent lights, many LEDs claim to be a suitable replacement, giving viable energy savings, but in reality, failing to give enough light. Again, we can help you avoid this scenario.

LED Lighting:

Yes, these are very efficient. Yes, LEDs can reduce maintenance costs. But these benefits come at a cost, in £s/€s.

The problem we have with LEDs is that there is so much poor product out there, with misleading performance claims, and people can end up paying a lot of money for something which doesn’t perform as it should. It’s not as simple as sending it back – you have probably spent a lot of money installing it, you probably can’t put your old lights back up, getting your money back can be difficult, there can be lots of small print in the guarantee Ts & Cs, and many LED lighting companies have already gone out of business. Plus the hassle of dealing with all this and the lack of lighting in the meantime!

There are some fantastic LED installations, saving thousands of pounds every year. But unfortunately there are a lot of bad ones too. Please use the benefit of our experience to make sure that yours in one of the good ones.

How To Make Your Lighting More Efficient:

• Consider when your lights need to be on.

• Investigate possible alternative light sources.

• Undertake a trial area, to be sure. (* See notes below).

• If possible, measure actual energy consumption before and after, to validate savings.

• Review the lighting solution – does it do the job?

Trials of LEDs: Be wary of relying on just trials. If you do, ensure that the LEDs have been independently tested to validate the level of lumen depreciation you can expect. LEDs gradually get

dimmer over time. Poor LEDs will get dimmer faster. It could be that your trial looks fine when the lights go in, but within months the light levels have fallen dangerously low, and you’ll need to buy lights all over again…

Summary:

The size of the project you are undertaking will determine how much help you will need.

Consider lighting control as well as changing to energy efficient lights.

Embrace LED Lighting solutions, but be cautious about it.

How Lighting Projects Can Help:

We can incorporate all of the above, and more, it into a design, supply and installation project. Some clients just need just the design service, or design and supply.

We have completed many successful energy efficient lighting installations and have testimonials from pleased customers. We would love to talk to you about yours.