Crown pub moves to all-LED lighting as part of Blue Sky overhaul

Oct. 13, 2009
A pub in the UK has reduced its energy consumption by 30% following an overhaul by Blue Sky Energy Solutions, which involved a switch to LED lighting inside and out.
Crown pub, Richmond The Crown pub in Richmond, Surrey, UK has become what is thought to be the first pub to use LEDs for all its interior and exterior lighting. The installation was part of a series of energy-saving projects that have allowed the pub’s operators to use 30 percent less energy compared with 2008.

The pub operators engaged Blue Sky Energy Solutions, also based in Richmond, to take an integrated approach to energy-saving. Blue Sky defines each individual aspect of how a business consumes energy and water using an audit process and on-line sub-metering. An energy-saving plan for the business and physical infrastructure is devised selecting those projects with the most attractive paybacks.

In this case the projects included ultra-low-energy LED lighting throughout the entire pub, insulation of the loft and selected walls, rainwater harvesting and turf roofs to resolve a drainage issue and an innovative beer-cooling scheme that exploits the natural chill of cold mains water and cool outside air minimising the use of the compressor.

Energy-saving projects Alan Spangler, head of Blue Sky, says the Crown Pub is likely to achieve payback in about three years and gives an internal rate of return of 16% over the projected life of the improvements. “Energy efficiency makes economic sense. In this case the pub has significantly reduced its operating cost, will generate a return on the money invested in itself and has reduced carbon emissions by about 15 tonnes per year.

“The pub is brighter and more comfortable for our customers, our utility bills have reduced significantly, and we continued operating the pub while the energy savings work was undertaken” says Joanna Keegan, operator of the Crown. “One very visible feature in the pub is an easy-to-read meter that shows everyone how much energy the pub is using at any time. This has become a focal point for pub staff and customers, and helps keep the business aware of its own energy use in real time.”

LED lighting

Dining area Spangler says that the bar area was the initial focus for the lighting part of the project. For example, shelving to display bottles was lit with 50W halogen downlights that made the top shelf very bright, but did not light the lower shelves. “Strip lighting works much better,” says Spangler. Also, heat reduction is an advantage behind the bar where there are lots of chillers and cooling systems.

“Next we focused on the exterior lighting, and replaced metal-halide floodlights and fluorescent signage lighting,” says Spangler. “We reduced the energy consumption from 2 kW to 600 W, and it was brighter as well.”

Having already converted about two-thirds of the lighting to LEDs, it was decided to use LED lighting for the interior spaces as well, taking advantage of features such as dimming in conjunction with passive infrared (PIR) sensors.

Information sign lighting A number of LED spotlights were supplied by PhotonStar LED, a UK-based lighting manufacturer, which are rated at 7W or 10W depending on the driver, and can also have different beam angles.

Spangler says the lighting strategy was not based merely on replacing existing lamps with LED retrofits. There are some “swap-outs” but not many, he says. One advantage of taking an integrated approach to energy savings is that the lighting can be installed at the same time as changes are being made to the heating or cooling systems. This can make it much easier and cheaper to run cables, for example.

The 3-year payback quoted above is the overall figure for the whole pub. "The outdoor lighting will have a 3-year, but the best payback is for the bar-area lighting, where it will be 2 years," says Spangler. "Overall the LEDs consume about 60% less energy than the previous lighting scheme."