INTERVIEWS

Environment manager, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow

Energy is very important to us

My role in the hospital is to reduce the cost of utilities and take charge of energy-saving projects. Energy is very important to us. The more ef cient things are the more money the trust saves and that way we can spend more on patient care. If you think about the number of clinics and theatres, lighting is quite expensive – I think it’s about 45 per cent of the monthly utility bill.

You’ve got to reduce maintenance

A lot of our decisions came down to maintenance. With a T5 you’ve not got a guaranteed life. If you’re putting LEDs in you’ve got reduced maintenance and you’ve got a four-year guarantee – which is great. If any of them go, we can change them free of charge within the period.

Salix couldn’t believe our savings

Getting the funding wasn’t really dif cult, but it was frustrating. It was frustrating trying to get [funding body Salix] to understand the savings. We had two weeks of back and forth with them. We had to do the cost of ballast, of maintenance and of the fittings just to get the consultants to understand where the savings were coming from. Salix and its consultants just couldn’t believe how huge our savings were. We were showing them about 82-84 per cent cuts in lighting bills.

We test luminaires before we buy

We’ve had one of ArmadilloLED’s lights on test 24 hours a day for three and a half years, and it’s still running today. It’s in one of the store rooms. What we did was put the light in and take the switch away. It’s still running perfectly, that’s how we knew it was worth installing.

We need good lighting to find veins

The LEDs have made everything look fresh and clean. Once we get into the operating theatres, the lighting will be far, far better. The quality of light will help doctors and nurses  nd the veins. The 5000K ArmadilloLED has been recommended. It’s not a blue-white sort of light, it’s a nice clean light.

Lighting can mean life or death

Emergency lighting is so important. If the power goes and you’ve got to evacuate patients, people must be able to see where they are going and follow escape routes. This could come down to life or death. With the LEDs we installed, we get up to seven hours’ battery life instead of the standard three. We’ve tested this ourselves.

We need to know we’re saving money

So far payback has been great. Where we replaced the fitting and the tubes, payback is 2.2 years. Where we’ve only replaced tubes it’s is 1.8 years. We need to know we’re saving money. We’re looking at microwave sensors for the corridors and we have a couple on trial.

The idea is that staff come along and the lights switch on automatically, rather than staying on throughout the day. This will give us even bigger savings than we’re getting now.

We want to work with someone who can do it all

When it came down to who to work with on our latest project, it all boiled down to the fact that we found a company who would do almost everything. We worked together and they did the design, they did the fittings, they helped us choose the right things for different areas.

I believe you get what you pay for

You’ve got to be careful what and who you buy from. Go and pay two quid for an LED in a DIY shed and in six weeks’ time it’ll be gone. You get what you pay for a lot of the time, but even then you can’t be sure. That’s why we put the lighting on trial  rst, to make sure that it achieves what they say it does.

You can save money on cheap gear, but will it last four or five years? It’s worrying to know that in four years, or just over four years, we’ll have to replace all the tubes. But it’s like your flat screen TV; they were £2,000 and now they’re down to a couple of hundred. LED will be so advanced in four years; they’ll be cheaper and more efficient, so they’ll last even longer.

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