Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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LIGHTING – Time to rethink lighting? – Appropriate lighting investments offer stunning returns

As the 2018 deadline for compliance with the Energy Act, 2011, nears warehouse operators are paying more attention to their energy costs, by far the highest of which are usually lighting costs. Fortunately, advances in lighting technology mean that huge savings are achievable, offering attractive returns on investment. One, admittedly, exceptional example is Paragon Carpets, whose use of Lutterworth Ecolighting’s product cut lighting energy consumption by a huge 92%. Given that lighting can typically account for 65%-70% of a warehouse’s total energy bill, that is no mean saving.

chazAny improvements from new lighting investment will partly depend on the previous lighting regime, and to achieve optimum energy savings a lighting system must be tailored to the activity taking place within. This, therefore, emphasises the need to conduct a premises’ activity survey, and any of the leading light providers will do this as part of their quotation exercise, with an estimated payback period for the investment. Alternatively, warehouse operators can use the free services of the Carbon Trust for independent, on-site assessment and even ease the pain of a new investment by using their zero interest, unsecured loans of up to £100,000 for SMEs, repayable over 1-4 years. Another incentive for ‘green’ lighting is the enhanced capital allowance scheme that allows 100% of the cost to be offset against tax on profits in the first year. One word of caution, however. While there should be no problem obtaining the most appropriate advice from light providers offering the full gamut of lighting products, there could be risks using a supplier with a limited product range. Highly experienced lighting consultants, therefore, might be a safer route to take. These may also be able to advise on how to obtain the most suitable electricity tariffs, which can be significantly disparate.

So just how good are some of the paybacks from appropriate lighting investments? A payback exercise should not just factor in energy savings. It must also look at other running costs, like maintenance and repairs. A good example of this is Airbus Operations UK’s investment in Ecotronic’s EcoBay 680 Hi-Rack fittings, 156 of which replaced 312 x 400W Hi-Bay fittings. A 50% reduction in fittings means much less maintenance/replacement costs and helped Airbus achieve a 2-year investment payback. These new lights are fully programmable from the ground via a handset. Another Ecotronic client, Games Workshop, cut energy consumption by 81.28%, saving 241 tonnes of CO2 and giving a return on the investment in under 12 months.

The most appropriate lighting investment can dramatically extend lamp life, as Sony found when switching from 400W lamps to 150W induction fittings. Lamp life was extended from 15,000 hours to 80,000 hours and lumen maintenance was still 70% after 60,000 hours. It virtually negates future maintenance. In particular applications, like cold stores, lights can reduce energy consumption in more ways than one, and the need for additional investment. HPS and fluorescent lights, for example, generate much more heat than LED lights and so extra, compensatory energy may be needed and/or investment in air conditioning. There could also be the problem of regular removal of dangerous icicle build-up on ceilings.

While energy cost saving will always be the prime driver for new lighting investments, the other advantages should not be overlooked. These include improved working conditions, better order picking and health and safety issues, particularly pertinent to older forklift drivers who depend on good lighting far more than young drivers. Not least, perhaps, is the benefit to the environment through substantial cuts in carbon emissions.

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