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Lighting the way with energy efficient LEDs

During the summer of 2021, LED lighting upgrade projects were undertaken across all three of our major campuses; London Road, Greenlands, and Whiteknights, with an additional specialist project at Minghella film studios. The new and more efficient instalments have positively impacted energy consumption and lighting load creating huge savings as a result, which has been an effective step towards our net zero for 2030 any other projects strategy. The LED lighting upgrades are a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme project (PSDS), delivered by Salix and funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. This project is just one of many other projects since 2020 that have been enabled by the grant. This LED upgrades have had a significant impact on the energy consumption of the buildings lighting load as well as providing operational benefits in terms of lighting variety, controls and environment.


At our Greenlands campus, hundreds of old inefficient luminaires (a complete electric light unit) have been replaced with 26W LEDs (average per fitting). As a result, the replacements use less energy than the previous luminaires and create a better lit atmosphere across our onsite buildings. The graph below taken from the official report by Dr. Sam Mudie, our energy officer here in sustainability services, shows the amazing energy saving results. As you can see the kWh usage has dramatically decreased in the measured sample location since the new LED installation.

London Road

Similar installations took place at our London Road campus across several buildings, where current type T8 & T5 luminaires were replaced with a more efficient 26W LED (average). Amazingly, the post-project energy consumption was 21,266 kWh less than estimated because of larger than predicted savings; 280,774 kWh (82%) per year compared to 177,261 (67.67%) calculated as a pre- project estimate. This has resulted in a significant carbon reduction of 65.46 tCO2e per year and a £71,036 per year saving. Payback time was also calculated to be three years sooner than expected, due in part to rising electricity costs.

Whiteknights and Minghella studios

At Whiteknights campus, the largest number of luminaires (type CFL and T8) were replaced with a new LEDs per existing fitting. The installations took place across the department buildings of Agriculture, Meteorology and Harry Pitt. The results when compared to the pre-project calculations showed that the buildings consumed significantly less than predicted and therefore the outcome is that the annual savings are also less than predicted in terms of actual kWh per year. However, the post project consumption shows better than expected savings as well, providing an 85.25% saving compared with an initially estimated 71.72%. This has resulted in an extremely positive 85.29 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon equivalent) saving per year. This project will see annual savings of £92,559 per year (at 2022 prices).

The LED studio lighting replacements in Minghella studios were slightly different. Unlike the three above which are normal tube or bulb ceiling lights being replaced with LEDs, this project replaced the old, inefficient tungsten film/theatre spotlights in the Minghella film school with LEDs.

Table below: A summary of the Minghella studios LED replacement results compared with initial estimates.

Calculation Salix Application Actual
Annual kWh Pre-Project 49,920 42,330.32
Annual kWh Post-Project 7,179 5,382.25
Annual Savings (kWh) 42,740.67 36,948.07
Annual Savings (% kWh) 85.62 87.29
Project Cost (£) £170,742.97 £172,918.65
Annual Financial Savings (2020-2021) £6,497 £5,616
Annual Financial Savings (2022+) £10,813 £9,348
Payback (Years, 2021-2021) 26.28 30.79
Payback (Years, 2022+) 15.79 18.50
tCO2e Pa 9.96* 8.61

*Converted from the original carbon factors detailed in the Salix application to use BEIS carbon conversion factors for consistency with other reporting.

The table above demonstrates that not only did we save a huge amount of energy on the lights, but we also saved on the cooling needs as the new LEDs do not emit as much heat energy compared to the old ones. Occupants (students and audience members) had previously complained that once the spotlights came on for the productions, the room heated up quickly, and air conditioning units were too loud and disruptive to be kept on whilst a performance was taking place. Further, there were also a lot of functional benefits to the school as the new lights can be programmed to display a wider colour range (the old lights featured a gel that needed to be applied to change their colours!). As a result, the 93% energy saving from lighting alone is a big win for the university!

Overall, a fantastic energy saving project!

The table below collectively summarises the total savings across all four LED projects compared with the initial estimates, across our Greenlands, London Road and Whiteknights campuses including Minghella studios.

Calculation Salix Application Actual
Annual kWh Pre-Project 1,264,258 1,309,582
Annual kWh Post-Project 369,985 216,504
Annual Savings (kWh) 894,273 1,093,078
Annual Savings (% kWh) 70.74 83.47
Project Cost (£) £1,579,144 £1,625,430
Annual Financial Savings (2020-2021) £135,929 £166,148
Annual Financial Savings (2022+) £226,251 £276,549
Payback (Years, 2020-2021) 11.62 9.78
Payback (Years, 2022+) 6.98 5.88
tCO2e Pa 226.25 254.84

*Converted from the original carbon factors detailed in the Salix application to use BEIS carbon conversion factors for consistency with other reporting.


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