Christian Schraft, CEO, Sylvania
Incandescent lighting consumes 75% more energy than their LED alternatives and with 39% of a commercial property’s electricity consumed by lighting, the switch from incandescent to LED remains a vital business decision. Although this change over is not necessarily a new development, LEDs still only make up 10 percent of lighting systems. In light of regulatory deadlines which aim to increase the sustainability of buildings and cities closing in, it is becoming a must for all businesses across the EU.
Under the existing Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all new buildings must be virtually zero-energy by 31 December 2020; public buildings by 31 December 2018. Meeting regulatory guidelines can be seen as a burden, but the benefits of being compliant include reaping energy savings which positively impact the bottom line. However, legislation is a continuously changing process. Businesses must be aware of, and actively keep on top of, developments to stay compliant in a cost efficient fashion.
Going beyond lighting
At a time when energy bills are rising, more efficient lighting has a direct and positive effect on day-to-day operational costs. Lighting is considered the number one way to improve a building’s energy efficiency and can be developed to support existing initiatives including the WELL Building Standard, of which 13 of its 100 features relate specifically to lighting. It is the easiest and least disruptive part of a building’s infrastructure to upgrade, and typically delivers the quickest payback. It also provides the option to incorporate smart sensor technology, enabling building owners, operators and facilities managers to go beyond lighting and collect and utilise valuable data. It’s time to rethink the role lighting plays in your business.
Smart lighting and controls can monitor elements such as building occupancy and footfall, machine functionality, room temperature and energy usage. In turn, this data can be analysed to enable business owners and facilities managers to adapt systems like office lighting, cooling and heating for improved occupancy comfort, or illumination. This can help businesses optimise footfall and increase sales, or improve use of space and reduce pick-up times. All of which can significantly help to reduce operational costs. Therefore, lighting decisions should be informed by the wider commercial drivers of a business. Whatever the focus, like-for-like replacement lamps and fixtures is very rarely the best solution, even if it is the one that provides the least hassle.
Establishing how much energy your lighting consumes, if it is optimised for energy efficiency and its true cost to your business, are all vital before you embark on a lighting upgrade or a refit. Therefore an energy audit of your environment is essential to ensure that you specify customised, business-focused solutions that are fit-for-purpose. With a best in class supplier the audit should be free, making it an obvious place to start.
Smart finance for a smart switchover
The perception of upgrading to smart LED lighting with integrated sensor technology is that it is expensive, and for some, financially unobtainable. This is because the initial capital expenditure required to implement it can be steep. However, there are other ways to finance an upgrade. For example, highly competitive financing models now exist which enable you to pay an off the balance sheet, manageable, monthly rate.
One such approach is lighting-as-a-service (LaaS), the third party management of a new long-life, highly efficient lighting system. A proportion of the money saved on reduced energy bills will cover a monthly repayment comprising everything from supply to installation, as well as management to commissioning.
With more and more customers seeking the convenience of a third party in managing all aspects of their lighting systems, the LaaS model is fast gaining traction, helping businesses to unleash the value proposition of LED technology without any capital outlay. LaaS also solves the issue of missing out on the latest improvements to LED. This is because there are many options that include the price to upgrade to new technology as and when desired, in the monthly fee. This avenue is making the move to connected LED lighting, the obvious choice.
Facilitating a smarter future
Yes, cash flows are tight. Yes, capital expenditure is under increased scrutiny. But, the 1st September 2018 halogen phase out and the continued drive of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive mean that now is the time to rethink the role lighting plays in your business. With smart financing options increasingly available to facility managers and building operators, now is the time to reap the benefits of the very latest in LED with integrated sensor technology.