It is a well known fact that one of the most straightforward areas to focus on when trying to reduce the energy wastage of a building is its lighting. Newey & Eyre has recently set up a new division, Energy Saving 24/7, and its business manager Steve Kearney gives his view on some of the technologies available and how they can be used to reduce emissions and cut wastage

In the present climate the onus is on businesses to reduce both costs and carbon emissions. And, addressing energy consumption in relation to lighting is one of the most effective methods of doing this.

A premises can be made much more energy efficient by installing new lighting and lighting controls. In particular, replacing existing lamps and light fittings can make a significant difference to a building’s running costs.

A job worth doing

Recently we have seen significant advances in lighting technology with new developments offering increased benefits for a wide variety of buildings including schools, hospitals, offices, shops and warehouses. With energy consumption accounting for up to 88% of lighting costs, evaluating the existing set-up and looking at how this can be improved upon can prove to be extremely worthwhile.

Potentially one of the first steps that can be taken is to utilise the latest generation of T5 fluorescent tubes that run on electronic ballasts, rather than conventional electromagnetic or switch start ballasts associated with older tube technologies.

Previously, this would have meant replacing the luminaires as well as the lamps, but a straightforward solution is to use a retro-fit technology such as the ‘Save It Easy’ plug-in ballasts. These can be fitted directly onto the ends of standard T5 tubes and will provide the appropriate ballast and increased tube length to enable operation with existing fittings. This solution avoids any inconvenience and disruption caused by installing new luminaries and the use of these products can offer energy savings of between 25 and 56%.

Changing standard 50W dichroic lamps to 5W LED alternatives can provide a reduction in energy consumption of up to 90%. An additional benefit is that LED lamps will normally last up to 25 times longer, giving around 50,000 hours compared to 2,000 hours of use. Effectively, the cost of LED retro-fit lamps will have paid for themselves within 12 months based on energy savings alone. Maintenance costs will also be significantly reduced over the product’s life.

Further alternatives

When looking at energy efficient alternatives to SON or metal halide light sources, selecting long life, energy saving induction lamps can offer a number of advantages. Where amenity or warehouse lighting is required, particularly when fittings are difficult to reach or where replacing the lamp causes costly disruption, induction technology offers excellent energy saving with extended life of up to 100,000 hours. This is a significant benefit in reducing maintenance and recycling costs associated with other technologies.

Induction lamps will provide energy savings of up to 60%, compared with standard fluorescent/metal halide alternatives and because there are no electrodes they can be used with PIRs to further reduce lighting loads and provide light only when required.

Where changing traditional SON or metal halide lighting systems is not an option, there are still technologies that can reduce wastage associated with lighting loads. Energy systems, such as the E-Box from Newey & Eyre Energy Saving 24/7, can enable savings of up to 45%.

Through a combination of voltage optimisation, power factor correction and harmonic filtration, they reduce the energy consumption by stopping wastage.

The E-Box

In the case of the E-Box, it is single phase operation and sits in line either at the distribution board or applied to individual circuits where it monitors load and regulates the supply voltage. By introducing digital capacitance to the inductive load created by lamps, it is possible to solve the poor power factor issue often found in lighting circuits and improves it to be as close to the ideal as possible. The additional filtration of all bad harmonics and removal of harmful spikes combine to give substantial savings.

An automatic bypass ensures that power continues to the lamps if a failure occurs or if the power environment changes from that set at commissioning.

Developments in technology are happening at an incredibly fast pace as demonstrated by the development of LED lighting solutions – wasted energy is now regarded as a design flaw in a building. Energy managers selecting equipment are now taking into account the overall lifecycle and this is being driven by legislation such as the WEEE Directive.

Being aware of carbon emissions associated with lighting is increasingly important and as environmental pressures grow, saving energy and in turn, reducing costs, is something that needs consideration. Electrical manufacturers and specialist suppliers can offer much in the way of expertise to smooth the way to a hassle-free project and most importantly, the desired end result.