Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to play a leading role in the UK economy, accounting for more than 99.9% of UK businesses. As the country continues to unlock following the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their overheads.
The need for lighting is ubiquitous across all businesses and industries and can account for up to 60% of a business’s total electricity consumption. Yet lighting is something many often neglect to consider when identifying methods of improving the bottom line.
The advent, development and widespread adoption of LED lighting technology has created significant opportunities to reduce lighting energy use, minimise energy costs, and decrease associated carbon emissions. Not only have recent studies shown that LEDs can reduce lighting costs by up to 50%, but there is also a wealth of additional benefits that can be realised by upgrading to LEDs.
What are LEDs?
The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today's most energy-efficient and rapidly developing lighting technologies. Compared with conventional light sources that first convert electrical energy into heat, and then into light, LEDs convert electrical energy directly into light, delivering efficient light generation with little wasted electricity. Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer better quality light than other lighting types.
How are LEDs different?
As LEDs convert energy directly to light, they emit very little heat and thus require less energy to operate. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat. This is inefficient as well as unsafe.
Tyrone Garrick of LED Lighting Futures explains, “LED lighting is free from UV and other harmful gases that are present in fluorescent, halide and sodium lighting. As LEDs are free from harmful gases, they are environmentally friendly and easy to be disposed of should there be a need.”
Additionally, LEDs have no warmup period, resulting in instant illumination and a greater degree of control when used in conjunction with timers and sensors.
Is it expensive?
Although LED light bulbs have a reputation as expensive, their cost has declined considerably in recent years, and technological developments have improved both efficiency and lifespan so that they are more cost effective over the long term than traditional lighting types such as fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.
At first glance, the cost of a single LED bulb is higher than that of a comparable fluorescent bulb – roughly £14 for a 9W LED, compared to roughly £4 for a fluorescent alternative. Yet LED bulbs can last up to 50 times longer, meaning far fewer replacements over time. Additionally, LEDs consume significantly less energy to achieve the same illumination, resulting in lower running costs.
On an annual basis, with electrical consumption and purchase costs considered, an LED light bulb is 12% cheaper to operate than an energy efficient fluorescent bulb, and 74% cheaper than an incandescent bulb.
What are the benefits of LEDs?
LEDs offer a better quality of light and therefore a more comfortable environment for both staff and clients. They are generally safer to operate, have a wider range of applications, require fewer replacements and are one of the easiest measures to help reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Tyrone concludes that “modern and efficient LED lighting solutions offer a wide range of sustainable benefits to businesses, ranging from energy efficiency improvements to lower electricity bills combined with lower operational costs.”
How can the Low Carbon Workspaces team help?
Low Carbon Workspaces offers small and medium-sized businesses in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Milton Keynes grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to a third of the cost of upgrading existing lighting to LEDs.
The Low Carbon Workspaces team is on hand to support you at every step of your application and can also support you with a free Green Diagnostic, to estimate how much energy you can expect to save from your LED lighting project.
Register your interest & check eligibility.