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Switched on to energy savings

EPA takes a look at the impressive energy and cost savings that have been achieved from a retrofittable energy-saving lamp project

Switched on to energy savings

Stretched budgets mean that colleges and schools are looking to cut costs by saving energy. The College of North West London, for example, chose to retrofit its existing light fittings to ensure they are compatible with the latest energy-saving lamps.

The college secured funding through the Government’s Salix initiative to improve its energy efficiency. The funding requires that the money spent on energy-saving measures must be recovered through cost savings in at least five years, so the college needed to chose carefully which energy-efficiency changes it made to its buildings. It enlisted the help of
electrical contractor, Electrical Management Services (EMS).

"When the college contacted us, we researched the situation, in order to find the most appropriate energy-saving solution," said Chris Allum, managing director at EMS. "We recommended that it use a plug-in lighting conversion device, ‘Save It Easy’, to install energy-efficient lamps. We knew that this could provide the college with combined energy savings in lighting of more than 45%."

Save It Easy units, developed by Energys, allow an electromagnetically-ballasted luminaire to be transformed into a high-frequency electronically-ballasted one. Instead of replacing the whole light fitting, the ballast converter and end cap converter are fixed onto the ends of the new, energy-efficient T5 lamp. Save It Easy operates the lamp at high frequency, in the process consuming much less energy, meaning that energy savings are achieved from both reduced ballast losses and from the more efficient T5 lamp.

Previously, the only way to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting was to replace the light fittings. This involved huge disruption and meant that serviceable fittings had to be sent to landfill. Furthermore, when taking on the lighting upgrade, there was a need to minimise any disruption to the college’s working hours, while also making sure health and safety was kept to a high standard.
By using the Save It Easy conversion units, the college was able to replace 359 luminaires in four separate buildings in just nine man days. EMS timed the dates of the installation so that all the materials were ready to go during the summer break.

The new Colour 840 lamps used at the college have improved the colour-rendering and visual clarity of the buildings’ interiors. Yet, when used with the Save It Easy units, they use less electricity than the old ones. Indeed, the college was able to achieve payback on its capital investment in just two-and-a-half years.

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