The hotel sector is more wedded to the incandescent light source than many others, but this Cornwall hotel and spa is breaking ranks, as Pennie Varvarides reports

Hotels, possibly more than any other type of building, are wedded to the
incandescent lamp. Such lamps are on for a long time – many for 18 to 24 hours a day. This not only drives up energy use and bills, it means the rate of lamp replacement is often frighteningly high.

Estimates suggest that a large hotel can get through no fewer than 1,400 lamps a year. That’ll set an operator back about £30,000 in parts and labour.

As wedded as many hotel operators are to the incandescent source, hotel punters are ever more likely to be leading ‘green’ lifestyles. There’s a marketing opportunity there as well as a chance to save some money. And the government is not averse to bunging operators a few quid if they upgrade their lighting.

Halogens out, LEDs in

With the advent of solid state light sources, some hotels have leapfrogged the unpopular compact fluorescent lamp – and its historical reputation for poor colour rendering and slow start-ups – and moved straight from GLS and halogen sources
to LEDs.

St Michael’s Hotel and Spa in Falmouth, Cornwall has gone all-LED with PhotonStar luminaires in a £4 million refurbishment, reducing energy costs from £29,236 to £2,741. Before, the 50-bedroom hotel was predominantly lit by halogen MR16s, which consumed large amounts of power and had short lifetimes — between 1,000 and 3,000 hours.

Statistics show that electricity use for lighting in corridors dominates hotel energy consumption

The LED lighting scheme will not only save St Michael’s thousands of pounds in energy costs, but also encourage visits from environmentally aware guests. The LEDs will last a lot longer than the halogen lamps – they have expected operating lives of 80,000 hours, cutting maintenance costs.

The CeilingStar LED downlight replaced 35 and 50W halogens in parts of the hotel. Illumination is equivalent to 50W MR16 fittings, but consumes only 7-10W, with efficiency up to 79lm/W and total delivered output of up to 741 lumens.

Savings over five years – including capital costs — exceed £111,000, with a payback period of less than 14 months. The carbon footprint for lighting in the hotel is reduced by 80 per cent from 74.6 to 15 tonnes per year.

LEDs are used where conventional sources would be rejected

Corridor consumption

Corridors are the real electricity guzzlers in hotels, but the introduction of sensors and the PhotonStar lamps reduces energy use from over 70,000kWh a year to under 20,000kWh (see graph, page 14).

But it’s not just about saving energy – there are other benefits. The refurbishment has brought extra functions to the hotel’s lighting systems.

These include ‘instant on’, which works alongside occupancy sensors to save more energy. Instant on has been implemented in the bedrooms, en-suites, corridors, toilets and spa/changing rooms.

Dimmable lighting has been introduced in the restaurant and bedrooms, and LED fittings are installed where more conventional sources would be rejected such as the swimming pool and the kitchen, where they reduce excess heat build-up.

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