UK Manufacturers Lose £1.4B a Year on Legacy Lighting

Industry and manufacturing operations in the UK can save £1.4 billion a year on their energy spend and save 10 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to a new paper released by Vita Energia Solutions.

This potential savings could be realized by the replacement or refurbishment of legacy lighting systems by more energy efficient alternatives. Many old lighting systems have not been upgraded since the 1950s and are not nearly as efficient as modern fluorescent solutions. Even recently-installed lighting systems, just a few years old, can reap similar benefits.

Over a 4-year period (2007-2011) Vita Energia conducted in-depth, on-site surveys to study the industrial (non-office) lighting at over 500 companies employing over 100 people in the UK’s manufacturing and warehousing sector. The results showed that industrial lighting energy usage can be cut by an average of 58.6 per cent. This reduction is achieved by upgrading the fittings with specially designed reflectors to increase luminance output and by installing lower-wattage, high-efficiency lamps and ballasts.

“There is continual concern that the UK’s manufacturing industry is unfairly disadvantaged by low-cost labor overseas. Yet it wastes £1.4 billion a year because companies haven’t kept a fundamental service like lighting up-to-date,” said Duncan Stevens, director at Vita Energia. “This is a proven savings for our pressurized manufacturing industry, with an average return on investment time of under 15 months.”

There are several initiatives in place to support companies looking to reduce their carbon emissions. The Carbon Trust Implementation Services and Siemens Financial Services offer businesses a range of leases, loans, and other financing options from £1000 upwards with no maximum to all types of organizations.

“There is an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality within the industrial and manufacturing sectors,” says Andrew Hoy, director at Vita Energia. “However, what many don’t seem to realize is that the investment cost to upgrade a lighting system is modest, and these could afford 58.6 percent reduction in energy usage. In cases of businesses running 24/7, return on investment is nearly always less than a year. There has to be less negative fatalism and more positive action.”

Many manufacturers have already upgraded their lighting systems to reduce energy spend and consumption. Arla Foods, one of Europe’s largest dairy companies, implemented a lighting efficiency initiative at its Oakthorpe and Hatfield sites. Arla is now saving around £100,000 in electricity bills and 1.4 million kWh in total power reduction every year. This equates to saving 700 tons of CO² emissions, with the project paying for itself in just 10 months.

Reducing energy costs is the primary driver for upgrading or retrofitting industrial lighting systems. But there is also increasing pressure to adopt and demonstrate environmentally sustainable operations.

Vita Energia provides retrofit lighting solutions for businesses to convert or upgrade existing industrial or commercial lighting systems to cut energy bills across Europe.