Lighting for the real world

A good retrofit lighting retrofit scheme can slice 70 per cent from energy consumption if it’s done right

Blimey. Another lighting publication. But this one is different. Really. Firstly because Lux is the official publication of the Lighting Industry Federation. We are here to further the aims and values of the Federation and its members and to assist the industry in communicating with its customers and the wider community.

Secondly, at Lux magazine we want to address the 99 per cent of lighting projects that aren’t light art installations or some chi chi London eaterie that’s had the designers in. You know, the ones where people actually live and work and shop. The silent majority of lighting installations. The ones we need to address if we are to achieve our projected 80 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2050.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like having lunch in chi chi restaurants. But the problem with eye-candy pictures of designer architecture and lighting is that well, you don’t learn an awful lot. But if we are to progress we need to share learnings and best practice, which is why we will celebrate exemplar schemes where energy has been reduced though good design and technology.

Did you know that 66 per cent of 2050’s building stock already exists? That’s 26 million buildings, of which 18 million will need refurbishment. Liz Peck of the Society of Lighting and Lighting has done the maths: that’s 500,000 refurbs a year. That’s 50 buildings an hour for heaven’s sake! So we need to get moving. Technology is part of the answer. So is design – there’s no point having a Breeam excellent rating if the lit environment isn’t somewhere you’d want to be. But legislation has a big role. We need a little stick to prod those with large estates of installed lighting to take out their T12s, switch start gear and MR16s.

For new buildings there’s Part L of the Building Regs, but oh, where to start? It’s clumsy but better than nothing. The complicated-but-clever LENI metric is better: it’s more nuanced and encourages the use of controls. For existing buildings, there’s the CRC (See page 40). This was a carrot-and-stick scheme but last month  George Osborne took the carrot for himself. But it remains a powerful tool that will encourage the UK’s 4,000 largest organisations to cut their carbon.

Lighting can do much of the heavy lifting here. With HVAC, you’re lucky for a retrofit project to yield 15 per cent savings. With lighting, a good retrofit scheme can deliver 70 per cent if it’s done right. It’s all about putting the right light in the right place at the right time. Enjoy this first issue of Lux magazine – and don’t forget to give us your feedback at editor@archive.luxmagazine.co.uk.

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