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LEGAL UPDATE: Light ENERGY SAVING

Facilities managers must adapt their lighting design and provision to comply with the government’s new energy legislation.


8 March 2012


Artificial lighting accounts for up to 50 per cent of the total energy bill of a building. A staggering 20 per cent of the world’s energy resources are consumed by lighting demands. It’s no surprise, then, that lighting has received increased government attention, with it taking steps to encourage organisations to reduce their energy use.

Light legislation
The government has adopted a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to reducing organisations’ energy bills.

The ‘stick’ is Part L(2) of the Building Regulations for non-domestic premises in England and Wales, plus the new Scottish Building Standard. Both demand a reduction in the wattage output for lighting per square metre of corporate buildings.
The ‘carrot’ is the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, which provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for investments in equipment that meet published energy-saving criteria, such as light fittings.

Illuminating empty offices
In the mid 2000s, newspapers published photos of empty yet lit buildings shining like beacons across the urban landscape to illustrate widespread energy wastage. The Department for Trade and Industry was berated in the press for lecturing about the need to cut emissions, while its own headquarters were seen to be all lit up at the weekend 
with no staff on site.

Energy efficiency
In October 2010, the new consolidated Building Regulations, which govern the amount of energy that can be lost through buildings, came into force. There were many changes to the 2006 requirements, with the aim of upgrading energy efficiency 
by 25 per cent.

Part L Conservation of Fuel and Power requires there to be reasonable provision for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings (new and existing domestic and non-domestic). This is to be achieved by limiting heat gains and losses and by providing fixed building services, such as energy efficient lighting having effective controls, and are commissioned by testing and adjusting as necessary to ensure they use only a reasonable amount of energy in the circumstances.

A fine thing
Companies who fail to comply can be subject to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (£5,000) and to a further fine not exceeding £50 for each day on which the default continues. This may be an inconsequential amount for some businesses, but the reputational damage could potentially be far greater.

FMs staying switched on
So how can facilities managers ensure their companies comply? FMs must get advice on implementing the best efficient lighting solutions from a member
of the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL), the senior professional body representing lighting professionals.

Recommendations may include a fluorescent lighting system with fittings using ‘miro’, which is a highly polished aluminium that improves luminance. If one fitting produces higher light output, then fewer fittings are required. This cuts down on raw materials and delivery costs, while fewer fittings will need to be replaced and recycled.

Using a Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) lighting system allows employees to control the lighting at their individual work stations and they display the energy consumed by an area.

A few businesses are also installing LED lighting, which is more energy efficient than fluorescent solutions. But the downsides are the cost – LED systems can be as much as three times the initial cost of their fluorescent equivalents, along 
with involving colour rendering issues. These issues will be resolved in the near future, as LED systems will become the preferred lighting solution.

The 2010 Scottish Building Standards demand the reduction 
in the wattage output for lighting per square metre of corporate buildings by requiring a minimum of 75 per cent of a building’s 
fixed light fittings and lamps to 
be low energy.

The ECA scheme
The government’s ECA scheme provides businesses with 
100 per cent tax relief for investments in equipment, such as light fittings that meet already-published energy-saving criteria.
The Carbon Trust’s guide to eligible equipment offers the following advice:
  • Use compact fluorescent 
lamps instead of conventional tungsten lamps
  • Use compact metal halide (for example CDM) lamps instead of tungsten halogen in display lighting
  • Use more efficient PLL and T5 fluorescent tubes with high frequency electronic ballasts
  • Use efficient luminaire types with a high light output ratio
  • Use appropriate lighting controls, which include daylight-linked photo-electric control, presence detection with occupancy sensors, time switching and flexible manual control, for example, using hand held remote controls. Savings of 30 to 40 per cent can be expected when lighting controls are used.

The future’s bright
Some say that the present measures aren’t enough. CIBSE has produced a consultation paper with detailed proposals on Part L of the Building Regulations, which includes a move towards ‘zero carbon’ standards for non-domestic buildings, and tighter performance standards for existing buildings. In the near future, FMs may be called on to further adapt their lighting design and provision to meet their legislative responsibilities.

Conclusions
1. Part L(2) of the Building Regulations for non-domestic premises in England and Wales 
and the new Scottish Building Standard both demand the reduction in the wattage output for lighting per square metre of corporate buildings.

2. The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for any investments in equipment that meets energy-saving criteria.