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Six things to consider when choosing low energy lighting

There are two ways to reduce your running costs for lighting: first, replace your existing lights with ones which use less energy and second, if they aren’t needed turn them off.

1. Replacing light fittings can be expensive.

As the aim is to get a return on your investment, ask how any return has been calculated, make sure that the sums add up and look out for the following:

•    How many hours your new lights are calculated to be in operation. Make sure you agree with the proposal, for example, presence sensors ensure your lights are only turned on when you need them, but any reduction in hours of operation of your lights needs to be discussed and agreed.

•    Check that the unit cost of electricity
on the proposal matches what you actually pay – this can be found on your electricity bill. Remember you pay a peak and off-peak tariff.

•    Check the sums yourself!


2. Consider the level of lighting you currently have, is it good enough?

Could you do with more light? Is it even within the recommended level? If you are unsure, look online for the HSE recommendations.

Although your existing lights may cost more to run, they may also provide a lot of light, so ask for the existing lighting level to be measured and for the new lighting levels to be calculated and provided as part of any proposal.

Do you keep up with the maintenance of your lights? Old discharge lights deteriorate with time and won’t provide you with anywhere near the same amount of light as when they were new. Installing new lighting may give you more light at a reduced running cost.


3. How can the savings be checked and proven?

Well, if your lights are supplied from a single distribution board, the installation of a fixed, permanent or temporary energy meter prior to replacing your lights would be a straightforward way to confirm this.

4. Is there a warranty?

Check for the warranty on the light fittings that are being proposed – we install light fittings with a five-year guarantee.


5. Are they fit for purpose?

If you run a food factory, for example, you will need a light fitting that has no glass – or go for T5 lights with food-grade shrinkwrapped tubes.


6. The three main types of low energy lighting are...

T5, LED and Induction. They each have pros and cons:

T5 Lamp

Ideal replacement for: Regular T8 fluorescent lighting of 18, 36 or 58 Watt.

What is it?
A T5 lamp is a fluorescent-lamp that is more energy efficient and lasts longer than a traditional fluorescent-lamp (T8). The lamp is both thinner as well as shorter than the T8, and therefore contains fewer pollutants. Being a high frequency lamp, it produces a more pleasant and steady light.

Frequent switching
When a T5 lamp is switched on and off frequently it will age more rapidly.

Instant Start
At first use, T5 lamps have to burn for several hours to reach full capacity. When used in a T5 adapter or in a luminaire with an electronic ballast, they will start up immediately.



Ideal replacement for: halogen lighting, incandescent light bulbs, spotlights such as track lights and focused lighting such as downlights. Suitable for the replacement of light sources up to 100 to 120 Watt max.

What is it?
A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a semiconductor in which electric energy is transformed directly into light. As the lighting
works without any moving parts, the amount of hours is significantly longer than that of incandescent- and halogen lamps, and fluorescent lighting.

Frequent switching
The aging of an LED is not affected by switching it on and off.

Instant Start
Yes. An LED does not have to warm up and will switch on immediately.

Induction Lighting

Ideal replacement for: MHL, HPS and HPM lighting with high wattages (250 or 400 Watt). Because of their extremely long lifespan, they are especially suited for hard-to-reach places.

What is it?
The electrodeless induction lamp is a special type of a fluorescent lamp. Due to the absence of electrodes, which sets the lifespan of ordinary fluorescent lamps at maximally 20,000 hours, these lamps can have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. So they are ideal for locations where the cost of replacement – and maintenance – is high.

Frequent switching
When an induction lamp is switched on and off frequently it will age more rapidly.

Instant Start
Induction lamps burn at full capacity right away. Also, the lamps do not need to cool off before they can be switched on again.

Need advice on low energy lighting? Telephone: 01924 283 737



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AES Guide to Energy Reduction

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