Alex Morton, Operations Manager at Amitex LED, describes the LED lighting upgrade he carried out when the company recently expanded into new premises.
When Amitex LED moved into new premises at Newcastle Airport recently, one of the first items on our ‘to do’ list was to upgrade the lighting to LED, using our own products, of course.
We’re constantly promoting the benefits of LED lighting, so this was an opportunity to practice what we preach, and to reap the benefits of some of our latest products. The existing lighting was, in any case, very poor, bordering on unusable in places, so it was a priority to sort it out.
What did we discover?
What we found when we moved in is typical of commercial premises built in the late 1990s/early 2000s. The offices were lit by 600 x 600 modular CAT2 louvre luminaires, each fitted with 4x18W T8 fluorescent tubes. There were 52 fittings consuming a total of 3,744W. These are cheap to buy and they do the job, but in an open-plan office there’s always at least one tube in need of replacing at any given time, and they have an annoying habit of flickering before the lamp dies. In our case, many of the fittings were off – it’s fairly typical to delay calling in the maintenance person until there are several to replace, but it makes for a very dull working environment.
We decided to replace the CAT2s with our Classic Plus 40W panel. One of the benefits of LED is that it can deliver more lumens per fitting, so we were able to replace 52 CAT2 luminaires with only 36 panel lights, which use 1,440W in total. The overall reduction in energy consumption is over 2,000W, a 62% saving.
How did we decide how many panels to use?
We use lighting design software from Dialux when creating lighting schemes, and adhere to the CIBSE recommended lux levels for different tasks. For the offices, we were aiming to achieve a minimum of 400lux at a 750mm working plane, and that determined the number of panels required. Because the panels have the same dimensions as the traditional CAT2 fitting, it was a simple task to replace the old fittings with the new. We opted for our AX492 which gives a natural white light (CCT >4000) and delivers 100 lm/watt. The redundant fittings were replaced with ceiling panels.
We were very keen to use some of our new correlated colour temperature (CCT) changing products in the building, so we installed our 40W Zeta panels in the main meeting room. This allows us to switch the lighting between warm and cool white (3000 – 5000K) or anything in-between, and dim down to 10% – excellent when making presentations or just to change the ambiance. It’s also very useful to demonstrate to visiting customers. The panels are controlled by a remote but it’s also possible to use a simple wall switch.
In our warehouse, the original lighting was a mix of 400W SON Low Bays, 8ft fluorescent tubes and 500W halogen floodlights. In combination they were using around 4,800W and gave a pretty poor quality of light, with the SONs taking a while to warm up.
We replaced them with 13 of our 200W High Bays, which are mounted at 8 – 8.5m and provide 500 lux at working plane. They use only 2,600W, which is a 46% saving. Not only that, the quality of light in the warehouse has been transformed. Good lighting means it’s easy to read product codes when assembling orders and creates a much more comfortable and less tiring working environment.
How long did it take?
The whole project was completed in three working days. We did the work before we moved in, but it could have been done with minimal disruption during working hours or over a long weekend. And, now it’s done, we won’t have to replace any lamps for several years – all our products have a three or five-year warranty, though we expect them to last significantly longer.
Switching to LED is one of those projects which is often postponed because it’s not essential. But the sooner you make the switch, the sooner you start saving on energy costs. Even in the summer months we use a lot of lighting during working hours. Although we have large windows in the offices, which allow us to make use of natural daylight, the north-facing aspect means the lights are on most of the time. In the warehouse we have the lights on permanently since daylight through skylights is limited. I calculate that during the winter, when all our lights are on for eight hours a day, we’ll be saving over £100 per month on our electricity bill.
We know there are thousands of buildings up and down the country which could benefit from a similar upgrade – so next time you see one, why not take the time to talk the occupier through the benefits? It could be a productive conversation.