Lighting the way to energy savings

What does the future hold for lighting? According to recent changes to the Code for Sustainable homes, new dwellings must now adhere to strict new regulations regarding lighting in order to meet government targets to reduce damaging CO² emissions.

Lighting expert Amanda Speight of JG Harrison & Sons Ltd discusses the different options available to address the environmental regulations and also shares her top tips on choosing lighting when developing properties

The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) continues to test property developers as ambitious UK targets ensure that building regulations see energy and CO² emissions reduced more than ever.

Specifically, lighting is a high contributor to dwelling emissions and traditionally, lighting accounts for around 15 per cent of the energy bill in most homes, and around 25 per cent in commercial buildings. This is because in standard light bulbs (or incandescent bulbs), only 10 per cent of the electrical energy is converted to light; 90 per cent is wasted as heat.

According to current building regulations, 75pc of the lights in a new build must now be energy efficient to tackle the issue of energy consumption and consequent carbon dioxide emissions

This means that light fittings must produce a total of at least 400 lumens, have a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt and be over five circuit watts. Fittings under five watts are excluded from the overall count, so too is any exterior lighting.

In order to adhere to these environmental regulations and ensure low emissions, avoid energy guzzling traditional incandescent options. Traditional fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are low energy but with traces of mercury and harsh lighting, LEDs are the better choice.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
LEDs are small, solid light bulbs that are lit by the movement of electrons in a solid semi-conductor material as electricity is passed through it. They are also known as ‘solid state lighting’, because they use a solid material, as opposed to gas (CFL) or filament (incandescent).

LEDs are extremely energy efficient, lasting over 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and up to 10 times longer than CFLs. They have low heat generation, low power requirements, and are highly durable because there is no filament or tube to break.

Thankfully, LEDs are shedding their reputation for being too bright and ugly to fit into a home’s décor and today there is rarely a case where you can’t get an LED alternative to an incandescent.

While they are more expensive than CFLs, the price of LED technology is rapidly dropping, and combined with their energy savings over their lifetime, their cost is soon recouped, sometimes in as little as 24 months.

Speak to a reputable supplier for the latest technology advances – some LED filament bulbs that are now available provide a traditional look and feel, while delivering high quality light and distribution patterns; both important considerations for both commercial and residential decorative applications.

Top tips
To ensure that you choose the most appropriate, low energy lighting when developing properties, consider these top tips:

  • Plan each room’s lighting accordingly: Make sure to have a plan and gain an understanding of the use of each room and what time of the day the room will be most used. The living room is used as an area to socialise, entertain and relax in. Current trends have seen traditional living rooms move from having a central pendant to more downlights, floor and table lamps.
  • Get your ambient light right: the most basic of illumination is ambient lighting that imitates the effects of natural light. Softer than harsh halogen lighting, ambient lamps and wall lights are used to create a calming effect within a room and are usually used within living and dining rooms as well as the bedroom where soft focus light for relaxation is required.
  • Enhance your accent lighting: Putting character features in the dwelling is great but don’t stop there. Make sure to add drama and emphasise particular features and draw attention to them through lighting, for example, by positioning spotlights to light up ceiling coving, alcoves or an elaborate chandelier for a large space which requires grandeur.
  • Consider natural lighting: The most sustainable lighting is natural daylight and careful architectural design is required to maximise natural light in a building while maintaining indoor temperature regulation and reducing direct light glare. The orientation of the house and each room will dictate where the most light enters and strategically placed windows, skylights, light shafts, atriums and translucent panels will work with other building components to ensure that light is reflected evenly throughout internal spaces.
  • Compliance and regulations: choosing the right, low energy lighting is key to getting the balance right between aesthetics and adhering to the strict CSH. Make sure to find a wholesaler who offers a good selection of products that fit the bill, visit a showroom and see the lights in action before purchasing.

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