Energy efficiency in lighting – the whole story

With the lighting season almost upon us, our busiest and most influential time, reviewing our approach to lighting solutions has the potential to be most effective

Lighting can be, and often is, a great contributor to energy efficiency, whether measured by consumers in their homes, businesses and organisations in their activities, or by the government when looking at national policies on reducing carbon emissions and use of fossil fuels.

In this context lighting is often seen as ‘low hanging fruit’. It is often the largest user of electricity in a building after heating, and measures to install new lighting equipment are relatively straightforward to implement with the investment cost outweighed by the longer term savings.

However, to maximise the potential energy efficiency and achieve a good quality lighting solution that meets the needs of the user, it is important to take a holistic approach, rather than simply focus on the energy efficiency of the product.

This is true whether it is the user, installer or specifier that buys the product or governments that set the requirements for energy-efficient lighting – for example, in the Building Regulations, Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, European directives or other measures.

A focus on product only will result in positives in energy efficiency itself – a lower wattage lamp is installed, or a luminaire is upgraded from non electronic ballast to electronic ballast, for example.

But the key to maximising energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction is to look at the whole installation.

Consider the following:

  • Professional design for the installation. This will ensure you have, among other things, the right light for each task in the installation, the optimum number of fittings, and the most appropriate light source.
  • Ensuring the lighting installed includes an appropriate control system – one not only aimed at ensuring user comfort, but also turning lights off when not required or automatically reducing light levels depending on daylight.
  • Ensuring the lighting is professionally installed, that users are trained to use it and that a maintenance programme will preserve optimum performance.

There are estimates that suggest simply changing the lighting products in an installation to more efficient products could reduce energy usage by between 20 and 30 per cent. But if a more holistic approach is used, the reduction could be up to 80 per cent (in both cases the saving depends upon the starting point – the less efficient the existing installation the bigger the savings will be).

Benefits of good design

A well-designed lighting installation will also yield other benefits – greater user comfort, improved productivity and a greater sense of well-being, for example. Further benefits can include greater safety, improved tourism and more attractive shopping centres, to name but a few.

The Lighting Industry Federation (LIF) strongly advocates this more holistic approach to improving lighting and works with other trade associations and lighting professional bodies to promote the importance of this approach to the market and the Government.

There will be a strong focus on this approach at the forthcoming LuxLive Exhibition at Earls Court, London, on 9-10 November, which is organised jointly by LIF and Lux magazine. In addition to a range of leading lighting manufacturers showcasing their energy-efficient lighting products and systems, there is an extensive free seminar programme provided by a range of lighting organisations and leading industry speakers. So come along and learn more about the potential for energy-efficient lighting by taking a holistic approach. Support this great event and the future of the UK Lighting Industry.

To find out more about LuxLive go to or to Download the invitation document to read more about the event and pre-register for free entry.

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