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The cost of electricity is going through the roof. Tough times ahead for us all.

But there may be a silver lining in environmental terms as my guest in the online panel debate this afternoon, Thursday 15th September at 4pm UK time (Drivers for Change: ESG – Can Light Really Boostt Environmental Performance? )  UN Special Advisor on sustainability and lighting Fred Bass points out: rising energy costs might just drive some changes in the way we use lights.

Every company worth its salt boasts about ambitious Net Zero Environmental Performance Targets. The lighting industry’s manifesto and practical guide to sustainable lighting – TM66 – made the headlines when it was launched earlier this year. But there is precious little evidence that it has made any difference to purchasing decisions in practice. So what will it take to drive a real change towards lighting that delivers those promises?

How do the people who write the cheques justify the inevitably higher up-front costs of a more ‘sustainable’ solution? Environmental performance is not an exact science and can be is hard for even the most green-minded end-user to see the wood for the trees. ‘Lumens per watt’ or energy in use is a convenient benchmark but it is a blunt instrument: The most energy efficient light source of all is surely one that is off, lasts longer and can be repaired or repurposed at end of life.

If you design, specify or buy lighting solutions – or sell them – and want to find out if any of this ‘eco’ lighting business really can deliver a return on investment or just another greenwash gimmick, this conversation is for you. 

Fred will be joined by Theben’s Paul Foulkes who will make the case for controls and Paul Garbett, Cost Management MEP from Arup with a hard-hitting value-engineering perspective. Gauri Talathi-Lamb completes our panel with her unique background that combines private equity, consulting engineering, construction and building services.

Register here to add your voice to the debate – it promises to be a lively one!  The link in ‘clear’ at the end of this email in case the link drops out in your email filter 

In the meantime, if you like me are passionate about making a difference, however small, to your carbon footprint, here is a paper you might find interesting,

Better light and lower bills – a win-win or greenwash?
An estimated one-third of the EU’s building stock is over 50 years old – and only increasing by around 1% per year according to the IEA. Around 75 % of those lighting installations are over 25 years old and in dire need of an upgrade. Lighting and controls technology is finally starting to deliver reliable and affordable integrated solutions for retrofit. This is a unique opportunity to cut the energy bills for hard-pressed business, reduce the carbon footprint and improve working conditions for millions of people heading into a harsh winter – Lighting Retrofitting: Improving Energy Efficiency and Lighting Quality

This study of six offices back in 2015 tested the options that a facilities manager might face:
1/ retrofit with LED luminaires with inbuilt active dimming controls
2/ retrofit with LED luminaires without dimming
3/ old lighting system as reference.

Energy savings due to new luminaires without dimming were 38% of the pre-retrofit power consumption while the new luminaires with active dimming brought 68% savings. User satisfaction improved across all measures.

It should be a no-brainer. And yet, as this study points out, the fact that the people who buy the lights rarely pay the electricity bill means that it is hard for providers of capital to make a reliable business case for investments in green technology – Bridging the transparency gap in energy efficiency financing by co-designing an integrated assessment framework with involved actors

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