Be smart with your lighting

Holger Engelbrecht, product manager, reichelt elektronik.

Energy resources are being put under greater strain as towns and cities become more populated. Coupled with the focus now placed on living sustainable, energy-efficient lives, homeowners and businesses are seeking cost-effecitve ways to reduce their energy consumption. One key way of doing this choosing smarter lighting solutions – it can be as simple as changing your light bulb.

Make the LED switch in homes

LED light bulbs consume less energy than traditional bulbs and can be a viable solution to keep those costs to a minimum. There is a demand for this type of lighting in the UK and energy savings are more important to Brits than design or price when it comes to buying LED lights. A third rank energy savings as the most important factor, with just 17 per cent saying they are influenced by price, highlighting a shift in consumer attitude towards energy costs. Energy savings are of greater concern than luminosity (21 per cent) and colour (9 per cent)*.

Furthermore, energy efficiency is the most important factor for a quarter of Brits when buying any light, as consumers seek the long-term cost savings on offer versus conventional bulbs. Efficiency is of particular concern to over 35s, with 37 per cent of over 55s saying it influences their choice of lighting.

In the workplace

Offices and businesses can also reap the benefits of switching their lighting to LED. Not only do they produce bright and unadulterated white light, they are also flexible to use. Their energy efficiency makes them ideal for small and medium businesses who may need dozens of lights in their offices. When properly implemented, energy savings of between 50-80 per cent can be achieved. This is a significant saving especially in these challenging, uncertain times for businesses with Brexit details still to be confirmed and the weak pound.

However, many companies are still hesitant to switch to the more energy-efficient and long-term cost-effective option of LED lighting.

The biggest barriers for businesses against making the switch cited include:

  1. Expensive price point
  2. Concern over lighting temperature
  3. The benefits of switching aren’t clear
  4. It’s too much effort

This highlights a lack of understanding of the benefits of LED lighting versus conventional bulbs. Whilst LED lighting has historically been more expensive, technology advancements have made bulbs much more affordable. In addition, the long-term cost savings vastly outweigh the upfront costs. Companies need to start considering and installing alternate options to achieve any sustainable energy targets.

Barriers for Brits

However there still seems to be plenty of uncertainty about choosing LED bulbs over traditional bulbs. 17 per cent of UK households have completely switched to LED lights but that is still a small proportion, especially considering the EU halogen bulb ban that is due to be enforced in September this year, and despite the evident environmental and energy saving benefits that can be achieved.

So what’s holding people back from making the switch? Pricing remains the biggest barrier, cited as a reason by 27 per cent in the UK. Electrical retailers must address this need quickly to cater for the new demand for affordable, energy efficient lighting and those customers who now seek the long-term cost savings on offer versus conventional bulbs.

Don’t underestimate cost savings

But it’s not just homeowners, companies are also hesitant to switch to LED lighting because of high pricing, despite the long-term cost savings vastly outweighing the upfront costs. In fact, LED bulbs consume 80 per cent less electricity than incandescent bulbs, drastically cutting electricity bills. Companies that are currently using lighting in offices spaces believe they are saving as much as 21-30 per cent since switching from conventional lighting. This is in stark contrast to the perception that only 6-10 per cent can be knocked off current energy bills, and some organisations who expect no savings at all.

Smart savings

Let’s not forget the rise of smart lighting either. Whilst smart technology is taking off in homes, there has been a slower uptake in businesses seeing the value of investing, highlighting how smart technology in the workplace are misunderstood or not valued, with over 50 per cent saying they will not be investing in the next 12 months. But these businesses that are yet to upgrade their systems are missing out on the efficiency and cost saving benefits. Of the companies that do use smart tech, 74 per cent chose to do so to save electricity, ultimately reducing costs in the long term.

Many that have already invested are most commonly using smart technology for smart lighting. One of the main reasons for choosing to implement smart technology is to save electricity and reduce long term costs**.

A secondary reason for installing smart solutions was to improve safety for employees. Having sufficient lighting for employees to be able to safely carry out their work is incredibly important, as well as providing a secure environment. This is where smart lighting that can be automatically controlled and tailored to improve wellbeing and smart security systems add value.

To make the significant energy savings through lighting solutions, LED and smart lighting options must be considered.  Waiting too long or failing to adapt and integrate prolongs the expense.

 *reichelt LED lighting research, conducted by OnePoll, 2017

**reichelt Smart Office research, conducted by OnePoll, 2018