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Lighting Tweaks Could Save Businesses £700m

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Carbon Trust finds firms could save up to £700m a year and cut carbon emissions with efficient lighting

Businesses and public-sector organisations can save up to £700m per year and significantly reduce their carbon emissions by making lighting systems more efficient, according to the Carbon Trust.

With the long winter nights setting in, the Trust last week launched a guide showing how measures such as lighting refurbishment and sensor-based controls can be used to save 20 percent off lighting costs across all types of organisations.

Carbon savings

Those savings equate to 12 weeks’ worth of carbon emissions for Greater London, the Trust said.

For certain organisations the savings can be even greater, with 30 to 50 percent of lighting costs achievable in industries such as food, manufacturing, retail and office environments through the installation of lighting controls.

Lighting accounts for one-fifth of all electricity consumed across the UK and simple measures such as switching lights off and adjusting basic controls and settings can allow organisations to save up to £350m or 2.2 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.

“From simple reminders to turn the lights off, to installing the latest in lighting technology, there’s £700m and 4.4 million tonnes in CO2 emissions to be saved by UK businesses making its lighting more efficient,” said Richard Rugg, director of Carbon Trust Programmes, in a statement.

WJ Aldiss, a home furnishings retailer, saved £20,000 per year by replacing lighting in its shops and distribution centre, the Trust said. The retailer replaced its T8 fluorescent light fittings with high-frequency T5 fittings and converted other fixtures through the use of low-voltage downlights. The changes also cut the retailer’s CO2 emissions by 181 tonnes per year.

Lighting controls

The Trust recomments installing effective lighting controls, looking into more efficient wiring arrangements and making sure lighting fixtures are well-designed and maintained.

The big savings recommended by the Trust can be further improved by good server management over the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to industry experts. Shutting down non-essential servers and winding others down to essential automatic maintenance levels can cut costs significantly.

Last month the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) said that migrating to the cloud could save UK companies up to £1.2 billion a year in energy costs and reduce their emissions by the equivalent of over 4 million passenger vehicles by 2020.

By shifting 68 percent of infrastructure, platform and software budgets to cloud services, the organisation’s research found that UK companies can cut emissions by 9.2 million metric tonnes annually in less than 10 years, while decreasing capital expenditure on IT resources and improving operational efficiency.

Iris Cheerin contributed to this report.