HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT?
How much of the energy consumed in a typical building is accounted for by the lighting? If you don’t already know, you’ll probably be amazed that the answer is around 40%! As lighting is such a big contributor to the energy bill, it’s clearly an area that’s well worth looking at when it comes to making savings. But when considering economies, there are some important requirements and regulations to bear in mind, says Julian Grant of Chauvin Arnoux.
We all need light to work and, as an online search will quickly confirm, any number of studies have shown that good lighting increases worker productivity and wellbeing. So perhaps the 40% of your business’s energy bill that pays for lighting is money well spent? Maybe, but when such a large amount of expenditure is involved, it’s important to be sure. And, in reality, a little investigation will often reveal ways in which energy costs for lighting can be significantly reduced while maintaining or even improving the lighting environment.
Since lighting is so important for efficiency and safety, it might be expected that there would be statutory requirements for workplace lighting levels. In the UK at least, this is not the case, although it is important to bear in mind that the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require lighting to be “suitable and sufficient.” Rather more detailed and helpful guidance is, however, provided in the publication “Lighting at Work” (HSG38), which is available as free download from the Health and Safety Executive website (www.hse.gov.uk). This publication includes, for example, a table showing recommended minimum lighting levels for various work locations.
Further guidance on lighting is available from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) which publishes a code for lighting that is supplemented by a range of guides covering specific types of buildings such as offices, hospitals and sports facilities. These publications can be purchased from CIBSE.