With the ever increasing rises in energy costs and the increased pressure on organisations to reduce their carbon footprint, now more than ever is there a need to consider energy efficient solutions.
Over the next few months we shall consider many types of energy saving products and how they can be integrated into the business environments.
The first item we shall consider is lighting. Lighting can consume a significant amount of the electricity used in the running of an organisation, and this can be as much as 50% of the total demand dependant on building type and use.
It is commonplace to see buildings at night with many or all light fittings glaring away with minimal or no occupancy within the specific rooms. Furthermore in daylight periods the same fittings will more than likely be switched on in the morning and rarely go off until the cleaner goes home after hours regardless of the requirement for lighting. The advent of open plan office areas also means large areas of buildings are controlled in a uniform way with no deference to the ambient light levels or occupancy.
We have been in some of the largest Comms Rooms in the UK and witnessed every single light fitting on in an un-occupied space (which also raises the heat load of the room, which in turn increases the load on the Air Conditioning or Chiller systems which has to work harder to keep the room cool thus using more un-necessary electricity!)
So what can be done as the standard notices stating “please turn off the lights” appear to have little effect in certain environments?
The only answer is to remove the human element with the installation of automatic controls that recognise the occupancy levels within the work space and adjust the lighting provision to suit. This could be as simple as a retro-fit to existing fittings, or a new installation of “smart” fittings that will not only take occupancy into account, but will also allow for the natural light levels and adjust the light fitting output to achieve the desired illuminance thus reducing further the electrical cumsumption.
Not all existing fittings will be suitable for retro-fit of controls but if a replacement scheme is viable and the fittings correctly specified the payback of investment can be as low as 12 to 18 months whilst also achieving a significant reductions in CO2.
Electricity will, unfortunately, only get more expensive and the drive has to be to get consumers to reduce their demand. Energy efficient lighting is a simple first step in achieving this goal.