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Stretched budgets throughout the public sector mean that colleges and schools across the country are looking to save energy as a means of cutting costs

The College of North West London chose to retrofit its existing light fittings so that they were compatible with the new-generation, energy-saving lamps, netting considerable electricity savings.

The College of North West London is a further education college in Willesden and Wembley that prides itself on helping students take their next steps towards employment or higher education. Last year, the college was able to secure funding through the Government’s Salix initiative to improve its energy efficiency, in order to allow the college to run more economically while reducing its carbon footprint.

Salix funding, however, requires that the money spent on energy-saving measures must be recovered through cost savings in at least five years. For this reason, the college needed to chose carefully which energy-efficiency changes it made to its buildings. It enlisted the help of Middlesex-based electrical contractor, Electrical Management Services Ltd (EMS), winners of Electrical Times Contractor of the Year award.

“When the college contacted us, EMS researched the situation thoroughly, in order to find the most appropriate energy-saving solution,” commented Chris Allum, Managing Director of EMS. “We recommended that the college use a plug-in lighting conversion device, ‘Save It Easy®’, to install energy-efficient lamps. We knew that this could provide the college with combined energy savings in lighting of more than 45%. I’d seen the Save It Easy® product featured in publications like Electrical Review and Electrical Times, and it was clear that it was a market leader.”

Save It Easy® units, developed by lighting specialist Energys Ltd, allow an electromagnetically-ballasted luminaire to be transformed into a high-frequency electronically-ballasted one. Instead of replacing the whole light fitting, the ballast converter and end cap converter are fixed onto the ends of the new, energy-efficient T5 lamp. Save It Easy® operates the lamp at high frequency, in the process consuming much less energy, meaning that energy savings are achieved from both reduced ballast losses and from the more efficient T5 lamp.

Previously, the only way to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting was to rip out and replace every single light fitting. This involved huge disruption, dust and noise. It also required that perfectly-serviceable fittings be sent to landfill. This sort of wastefulness undercut the sustainability at the heart of energy-saving lamps. Furthermore, since the college is such a busy place, when taking on the lighting upgrade, there was a need to minimise any disruption to the college’s working hours, while also making sure health and safety was kept to a high standard.

By taking an innovative approach and using the Save It Easy® conversion units, the College of North West London was able to replace 359 luminaires in four separate buildings in just 9 man days. EMS timed the dates of the installation so that all the materials were ready to go during the summer break when the college was at its quietest.

As a result of the installation, the new Colour 840 lamps in use at the college have improved the colour-rendering and visual clarity of the buildings’ interiors. Yet, when used with the Save It Easy® units, the new lamps use dramatically less electricity than the old, inefficient lamps.

In fact, the cost savings were so substantial that the college was able to achieve payback on its capital investment in just two-and-a-half years. This means that it not only complied with the terms of the Salix grant, but going forward, the college has also netted permanent savings on its bottom line. Funds are no longer draining away on exorbitant lighting costs. They can instead be diverted to pay for all-important educational equipment and staffing for the college.

www.saveiteasy.co.uk