UK higher education institution The University of Essex has worked with leading energy products and services distributor Rexel to reduce its energy consumption in lighting by 77%, making savings of £10,311 a year.

The energy efficient lighting project, estimated at £1m, required replacement LEDs for the external walkways of the entire university campus in Colchester. In addition to lowering costs, the change to LED lighting has reduced CO2 emissions and maintenance as the fittings have a life expectancy exceeding a decade. The lighting levels also had to be high enough to create an environment in which students would feel secure when moving around the campus.

The 150w HQL tubular lamps were replaced with a total of 197 Kingfisher LED-IN1BC4.7. In addition to the huge cost savings made annually and the fall in energy consumption from 133,509Kwh to 30,396Kwh per annum (a saving of 103,113Kwh), the switch from the old lamps to the new LED lighting will also reduce the University’s carbon footprint by 56 tonnes CO2 per annum.

Before the new lighting was approved, Rexel worked closely with The University of Essex to provide samples from various manufacturers, which were then installed in a small area of the campus for testing and comparison purposes. How the products looked and their performance were taken into consideration, and ultimately a cost-effective product was selected. This competitive price enabled a higher number of the street lights to be retrofitted and therefore greater energy savings achieved.

Brian Smithers, strategic development director for Rexel Northern European Zone comments: “Lighting can be the quickest win for organisations wanting to cut bills and reduce their energy consumption. At Rexel we are seeing a significant rise in interest in LEDs from the education sector as well as other sectors such as public housing and commercial office space. As more organisations start to think about their energy costs, lighting is often the first area they address, as installation is quick and painless and subsequent results speak for themselves. At the University of Essex we had to balance energy efficiency targets with the challenge of providing the appropriate lighting levels needed for the students to feel safe around the campus.It’s great to see the project paying off with these fantastic results.”