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Cooling down BMW’s carbon emissions

Lighting is estimated to account for between 25% and 40% of a building’s energy usage and energy costs; a huge sum when considering the amount of energy-using equipment in a modern building.

BMW's flagship showroom in Rome

With this and the increasing costs of energy in mind, many large organisations are taking an active approach to identify ways in which they can enhance their existing lighting installations to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions.

The European Union is eager for all major users of electricity to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions, which is resulting in many companies installing innovative new lighting solutions to maximise savings and comply with government schemes.

As a global brand with an image of efficiency and modernity to maintain across all of its showrooms, BMW is actively investing in looking at ways to improve efficiencies in heating, lighting and air systems to reduce energy consumption and to showcase its sustainability credentials.

The solution
The company’s flagship showroom in Rome is one of the latest showrooms to have been given a lighting ‘makeover’. With strict requirements on energy efficiency, BMW was looking for a new, intelligent lighting system. The solution needed to not only be low maintenance, but have a lifetime of at least five years. In addition, it had to provide brighter lighting on the cars for emphasis, whilst maintaining a greater lighting level overall.

Harvard Engineering’s CoolLED drivers, alongside Xicato Modules and Projection Lighting’s AlphaLED Gyro Cube were chosen as an environmentally sound, high quality lighting solution able to meet the brief.

As LEDs use up to 90% less power than standard halogen bulbs, they deliver greater energy efficiency. With a longer life then other light sources – lasting up to 100,000 hours – it also means that they need to be replaced less frequently, which in turn leads to reduced replacement costs and fewer interruptions to everyday activities. In addition, thanks to their long life and high efficiency, less maintenance is needed. In fact, LEDs are regularly described as a ‘fit and forget solution’.

The CoolLED drivers installed at the Italian BMW showroom as part of an overall solution to regulate the electrical lighting power supply and are set-up to match the characteristics of each specific LED.

Often called control gear, LED drivers can also allow LED lights to be dimmed in order to create the desired ambience in a retail or commercial environment. BMW used this feature to put more emphasis on the cars in the showroom, lighting them at 800-900 lux, with the general surrounding lighting at 600 lux. The fact that the lights were dimmed instead of using two different light sources to create the effect meant that the overall appearance of the lighting was consistent.

The specific driver used for the installation in Rome was the Harvard CL Standard driver, which is available in a variety of output currents from 350mA-1400mA. All Harvard’s drivers are class II and power factor corrected, with a fully isolated SELV output delivering up to 33W of power, which means they are extremely energy efficient with cool operation.

The CoolLED drivers installed at the BMW showroom also include a ‘soft dim’ feature. This ensures that there are no sudden steps in brightness of the LEDs and is perfect for a premium showroom where the level of light needs to be consistent. With up to 88% efficiency (88% of electrical energy is converted to light energy and only 12% is lost as heat compared to 80% efficiency with most LED drivers) Harvard’s CoolLED drivers are claimed to be amongst the most efficient available on the market.

The success of this installation and the benefits gained in the BMW showroom emphasise Harvard’s commitment to gaining a true understanding of each customer’s individual requirements and to deliver bespoke UK manufactured solutions that are effective in the required application.

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