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King’s College London saves 34 tonnes of CO2 with sensor lights

• Lighting left on in empty corridors was identified as a key source of energy waste.
• Steinel sensor-lights reduced energy consumption and cut maintenance burden.
• Annual savings: 63,493 kWh; £6,349 in energy bills; 34.6 tonnes of CO2.

Leading Higher Education Institution King’s College London has slashed its lighting energy use in its halls of residence by a staggering 87% as a result of a project to install RS PRO 500 and HF 3360 sensor-controlled indoor lighting from Steinel (UK) Ltd.

King’s has a long history of commitment to carbon reduction. Many landmark projects have helped promote the College into the vanguard of environmentally-proactive education facilities. In fact, it was one of the first colleges to receive the EN 16001. Over the last few years, the pressure to cut carbon has only increased, with the new burden of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

Targeting energy waste

In order to further drive down emissions and meet its CRC obligations, King’s Energy & Environment Manager, Keith McIntyre, decided to look carefully at any areas of on-going energy waste. The College’s halls of residence, where lights were habitually left on in the corridors, became a prime target.

At the Great Dover Street Halls of Residence, 769 en-suite single bedrooms are located in 113 apartments served by a network of totally enclosed corridors, which provide no natural light. Lights were often left on around the clock, 365 days a year.

Beyond behavioural change

One of the biggest challenges at universities and colleges is behavioural change, especially considering that the turnover of students in residence is so rapid. No sooner has one cohort absorbed the thinking, than they have been replaced by a new intake. The answer was to use ‘intelligent’ lighting.

“We had quite a demanding specification,” admits Mr.McIntyre. “We wanted a light with an integral control system, as well as energy savings. Initially I couldn’t see anything on the market suitable, but then I saw the Steinel RS PRO 500 high-frequency sensor light at an exhibition – it was just being launched and it struck me there was nothing else like it.”

In 2009, the College carried out a trial of the Steinel RS PROs, installing 200 sensor-lights within the corridors of one six-storey building.

Problem solved

“The RS PRO 500 has totally solved our problem,” says Mr. McIntyre. “The students have some low level background lighting [from the 3w LED module] with the main low energy lamps [2 x 13W] activating as soon as someone enters the corridor. Further lamps activate as the person moves along the passage. The lamps remain on for 15 minutes before switching off automatically.”

Each Steinel RS PRO 500 features state-of-the-art high-frequency sensors that guarantee detection accuracy in 360°, at a distance of up to 8m. The sensors do their work regardless of ambient temperature or direction of movement. They provide switching performance that’s virtually instant and are integrated more or less out of sight.

“The real beauty is that RS PRO 500s can act as stand-alone units, meaning we didn’t need to rewire the corridors, saving thousands in installation costs,” he continues.

Reliable and quick-to-fit

Compared with other types of control gear, the chip-controlled electronic ballast used in the Steinel RS PRO 500 provides an obvious advantage: less wasted energy; more light for power input from high-frequency operation; no starting flicker; no hum; and a preheating system that’s particularly kind on lamps.

“We like to push the Steinel units simply because they are so reliable – failures are very rare indeed,” says Colin Daly, Director at Adlec Installations Ltd of south London, the electrical installation contractor on the Great Dover Street project. “The standard fitting is a real blessing, too. If the customer wants low level light at night then the snap-in LED module is a two-minute job.”

Funding secured for further roll-out

Following the success of its initial installation, King’s was able to get the go-ahead to roll out Steinel sensor-lights to more of their halls of residence blocks, bringing their number to more than 1,100. Funding for the project has been aided by the College’s participation in the ‘Invest to Save’ scheme through Salix, an independent, publicly-funded company set up to accelerate public sector investment in energy-efficient technologies.

“With the Salix funding there are strict criteria on ‘carbon savings per pound’ as well as installation costs, but by using the Steinel sensor-lights we could meet these requirements and demonstrate quick payback,” explains Mr McIntyre. “We can then reinvest these savings to fund new projects on a rolling basis.”

Maintenance burden

A further 300 sensors have been installed at the College’s Great Dover Street apartments and Wolfson House halls of residence, as well as its Greenwood Theatre. This time, the College opted for the Steinel HF 3360 sensors to meet its specification for ‘intelligent’ lighting.

“We selected the HF 3360 sensors based on their sleek, discreet appearance, which came with a high specification at a cost-effective price point,” says Mr McIntyre. “Although our top priorities were reducing energy use and carbon emissions, we were also keen to lower our maintenance burden going forward. The Steinel sensor technology means we are able to budget for much lower replacement part costs.”

Energy savings

In addition to reducing its maintenance burden, the College has netted incredible energy savings. Prior to the installation of Steinel technology, the lighting energy consumption within the halls of residence was 72,533 kWh. Following the project, the energy consumption was slashed to just 9,040 kWh – an extraordinary 87% reduction.

In real terms, the College is saving £6,349 every year on its electricity bills. What’s more, it’s saving 34.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. With an expected payback period of just five years, it’s fair to say that the project has been a success. It’s been such as success, in fact, that these savings will help King’s fund future carbon reduction projects, keeping the College at the forefront of good environmental stewardship.

www.steinel.co.uk     01733 366740

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