Northwest UK focus on ultra-efficient lighting in the public sector

A meeting in December informed UK companies of ways to participate in public-sector interest in LED-based lighting.

Jan 16th, 2009
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Ultra-Efficient Lighting (UEL) was the theme of the recent Innovative Procurement Road Show organised by IST (Media) Ltd on behalf of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) at the Holiday Inn, Haydock, England.

The event attracted a significant number of public sector organisations interested in gaining more knowledge about the financial and environmental benefits of converting to ultra-efficient lighting technologies, alongside representatives from right across the UEL supply chain.

Forge Europa at the workshop
As part of its role in supporting business development, the NWDA held the event to ensure that the Public Sector was aware of the Northwest’s strengths in UEL technologies and that industry were informed about forthcoming procurement opportunities.

Peter Batchelor of BERR (Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) started the proceedings by talking about the lighting revolution and the resulting market opportunities for ultra-efficient lighting companies, with specific reference to the “Innovative Procurement Programme” initiated by BERR, which is designed to accelerate market adoption of innovative solutions to environmental problems by identifying substantial procurement opportunities in the public sector.

Delegates were updated on the Rotherham Hospital Future Ward project, a pilot refurbishment project with a UEL component worth up to GBP2 million.

Nigel Dunstan of the Northern Strategic Health Authority followed with an overview of the NHS in the northwest of England, as well as the Sustainable Development Work Programme, which covers all aspects of the NHS, including sound management of facilities with low environmental impact and social benefits. By 2010, the NHS aims to cut energy consumption by 15% compared to year 2000 levels. Offering a patient experience and a healing environment is of great importance to the NHS, which is where UEL technologies have distinct advantages over existing technologies.

Road show delegates particularly welcomed the participation of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), who outlined the EST’s various support programmes for manufacturers and retailers. Of great interest was the Energy Saving Recommended (ESR) Programme, a free product accreditation scheme for lighting and other products which adhere to strict energy saving criteria.

Alex Stuart of the EST also talked about the Environmental Transformation Fund field trial of LED lighting in communal areas of social housing. The trial concluded that some LED products currently on the market would be suitable to replace existing lighting solutions.

With somewhere in the region of 4 million homes in the UK owned by local authorities and housing associations, any legislation or guidelines which are introduced as a result of such work would mean a significant boost to the UK UEL industry. The Carbon Trust also talked about their UEL initiatives which will be launched within the course of 2009.

After lunch, Neil Haigh of Blueside Photonics delivered a lively and captivating perspective on the UK’s LED and UEL industry, which highlighted and explained the inevitable demise of conventional lighting technologies. On the one hand, the prognosis was positive due to the significant market growth forecast for the UEL industry over the coming years, as well as the significant advantages of SSL over existing technologies. However, the presentation also contained a precautionary message about the technical, psychological and other hurdles facing UK SMEs.

Last but not least, Savenergi offered delegates insight into energy-saving technologies, including voltage control, ancillary controls and alternative fittings. In a real-life case study, simply using 10% lower voltage was shown to deliver an overall energy saving of 25%.

David Sales, at the Northwest Development Agency and event Chair, commented: “We were delighted with the success of the event, which demonstrated the strong presence of UEL companies in the Northwest region and our regional excellence in innovative lighting technologies. We feel confident that by bringing industry and the Public Sector together opportunities for UEL companies will emerge”.

The presentations from the NWDA road show event and the BERR-sponsored event on the 29th September are available for download for a limited amount of time at www.nwda.co.uk/photonics.

Any public sector organisations eager to learn more about BERR’s Innovative Programme or establish links to the UK’s UEL industry are encouraged to contact Geoff Archenhold.

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