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Lighting: towards a more sustainable future

Hugh King, PR and Ad manager at Thorn Lighting discusses changing lighting regulations and the need for lighting for be sustainable and energy efficient

Lighting: towards a more sustainable future

Since the Kyoto Protocol, governments, lighting bodies and manufacturers have been responding to the cry for a new era based on energy efficiency and sustainable lighting practices. To support this process a raft of directives and standards has been produced. For commercial lighting the most important of these being Commission Regulation 245/2009, detailing the ecodesign requirements for fluorescent lamps without integrated ballasts, for high intensity discharge lamps, and for ballasts and luminaires to operate such lamps.
The target is to save 20m tonnes of CO2 per year by setting specific performance criteria, such as limits for lamp survival and efficacy (lm/W). This means the gradual phasing out of inefficient light sources and control gear and the redesign or phasing out of luminaires that incorporate banned technologies.

Consequently, basic halophosphate T8 tubes will be removed in 2010 and T12 tubes and low performance high pressure sodium (E27/E40/PGZ12 caps) phased out in 2012, followed by high-pressure mercury lamps and plug-in/retrofit high pressure sodium lamps in 2015. More significantly, from 2012 all new fluorescent luminaires must be sold with a high frequency electronic ballast capability and in 2017 switchstart (magnetic) ballasts will not be allowed, even as replacements in existing fittings. Given the advantages electronic ballast luminaires offer – no flicker, 20% less energy and in some cases dimmable control – they should already be the first choice in fluorescent lighting.

LEDs: now a mainstream technology

LEDs are also making significant inroads as a mainstream energy saving light source, especially for commercial interiors. Major advances have been made with downlights and more recently with spotlights, modulars and industrial fittings. Aside from low energy and good optical control there are a number of operational and environmental benefits of using LEDs. Their extraordinary long life (50,000 hours) means they need zero maintenance with no light source replacement, thus reducing through life costs. In addition colour is excellent; they emit neither UV nor IR radiation, and contain no mercury.

Changes to the Building Regulations
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) contains a range of provisions aimed at improving energy performance of residential and non-residential buildings, both new-build and existing, taking into account the building type, climate and cost effectiveness. Whilst the EPBD must be implemented by each EU Member State, the actual method is down to individual countries, hence we have the UK Building Regulations which, as far as lighting is concerned, means Part L (England and Wales), Part J (Scotland) and Part F (Northern Ireland).

Significant changes to Part L and Part J came into force in October. As per 2006, Part L splits into four Approved Documents: L1A and B, plus L2A and B, covering new and existing domestic and non-domestic buildings respectively.

There are few real surprises with domestic dwellings (L1A and B) and the revised targets can be achieved with modern equipment.

For new offices (including classrooms), industrial and storage areas, the revised Part L2A requires an improved average efficiency for the building (excluding emergency and specialist process lighting) of not less than 55 luminaire lumens/circuit watt (previously 45) – a major change.

For lighting serving other interior spaces within these buildings, e.g. corridors, the average initial (100h) lamp circuit efficacy changes to not less than 55 lumens/circuit watt (previously 50). Display lighting also undergoes a change, with the initial efficacy target tightening to be not less than 22 lumens/circuit watt (previously 15).

Existing non-domestic buildings undergoing major renovation (LB2) follow the same calculation method as new builds, save for the retention of the lighting controls factor for offices, industrial and storage areas.

There is little doubt that keeping up to date with new regulations can be difficult, but those outlined here should encourage those who use lighting to pay more attention to overall luminaire efficiency – for the benefit of all.

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