Reduce your energy consumption by rethinking your lighting

The average annual energy bill for UK businesses is just over £2,500, a cost that can be dramatically reduced by making a few small changes. For example, research has found that the simple act of switching off lights, computers, and heating when not in use, can result in a 10-20% reduction in annual energy consumption.

Lighting in particular presents huge cost saving potential for businesses, especially for those that leave the lights on round-the-clock. It’s estimated that on average, lighting accounts for 20% of all energy used in commercial and industrial buildings each year, but that cost can be reduced significantly by replacing old, power-hungry bulbs with modern, energy efficient LEDs.

LED bulbs offer energy savings of up to 90% in comparison to traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, and up to 50% savings over fluorescent tubes. In addition to the improved energy efficiency, the lifespan of an LED bulb is approximately 50,000 hours (about five and a half years!), which is almost 50 times longer than many traditional bulbs. Consequently, LED bulbs don’t have to be changed as regularly, resulting in further savings through reduced maintenance costs, and less wastage.

So what’s the catch? Put simply, LED bulbs are more expensive than most other bulbs, and this can deter many business owners, particularly when purchasing in large quantities. However, like with any good investment, the long-term gains far outweigh any short-term pains. In fact, an LED refit project can essentially be self-funding, if spread strategically over multiple stages: Savings made from phase one can be used to fund phase two, and so on. This process makes it possible for even small businesses to upgrade to LED, without a large one-off upfront payment.

Of course, every business is different and there are many considerations to factor into savings calculations – including the cost of energy consumption in a particular area, the size and layout of the building, the number of light fittings and bulbs, and the length of time during which they will be illuminated – but whilst the upfront cost of these bulbs may be a little higher, the extended lifespan will more than make up for the initial outlay.

LEDs and office design

LEDs may be lauded for their energy efficiency and cost-cutting capabilities, but the benefits don’t end there.

Various studies have shown that LED lighting can play a vital role in creating a comfortable office environment, which can have a major impact on the perception, mood, and performance of employees. A study by Cornell University revealed that 24% of office workers point to eye strain and discomfort caused by poor lighting as a major factor in loss of work, resulting in a 2% loss of productivity per year for each individual (about one week of paid annual leave per employee). The study concluded that LED lighting has the potential to improve workplace productivity by up to 5%.

Another advantage of LEDs is their flexibility. Because of their compact size, directional beam, and minimal heat output, LEDs are well suited for illuminating hard-to-reach areas in the workplace, such as small offices, meeting rooms, and dark corners. LEDs also have an impressive dimmable range, meaning light output can be adjusted right down to as little as 5 or 10 percent, giving business owners full control over their lighting. Where widespread lighting is required, LEDs can be combined together in multiples and set at varying angles for greater coverage, giving them a distinct cosmetic advantage over traditional fluorescent light bulbs which rely heavily on inefficient reflectors and louvres.

Whether looking to cut costs, gain greater control over lighting, improve employee productivity, or all of the above, LEDs can help. Switching to LEDs needn’t be difficult, but to ensure the multiple benefits of LED technology are realised, business owners interested in making the switch should first seek advice from experienced lighting experts.

Lyco was established in 1995 and, by consistently exceeding customer expectations, has grown to become one of the UK’s leading lighting suppliers. For more information please visit