It is often the case that when buying materials handling equipment that life cycle costs are overshadowed by the initial cost; the same could also be said of LED warehouse lighting. Too many facilities managers fail to consider the whole life costs of their luminaires they are specifying and instead opt for the cheaper, older products available, says LED specialist, Ecolighting UK. By doing so they would be costing their companies thousands of pounds more in higher energy bills, and significant ongoing maintenance costs, not to mention the often overlooked ROI period. The cost of ownership is a big factor in the savings to be had in the long term.

This article was first published in the April 1st 2020 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.
OK, so LEDs are initially more costly than the old-fashioned forms of lighting but a quick simple audit of your existing lighting set-up, which can be downloaded from specialist LED suppliers like London-based Energy Cycle, will soon reveal why the warehouse industry is moving massively into LEDs and junking their outmoded, often highly inefficient lighting. And it’s not just about energy savings. Owing to LEDs’ much longer life span, they also save money on maintenance, improve colour rendition, and add to the workplace well-being by eliminating the worst vision irritants from outmoded lighting types that can be a significant cause of accidents. Guidance on the accident issue can be had from HSE, who have produced a useful guide to how lighting affects the health and safety of people at work. Government help with initial costs can also be had through the Carbon Trust who make interest-free loans, or suppliers can ease the acquisition through lease arrangements.

In any fairly new industries like LEDs that boom, however, there will inevitably be the less scrupulous types which in the past has led to disappointments and so due diligence should always be at the forefront. Snares to watch out for are the wide variation in the quality of LEDs, which can be partly ascribed to overseas-sourced lights from the Far East that may not even meet EU standards. Wide variations on product guarantees are also a tell-tale sign. Boom conditions usually mean busts for some players so that is why you should stick with well-established suppliers and if time permits visit sites of your preferred supplier’s customers to get feedback from them. The Carbon Trust’s ‘green’ business directory features LED suppliers who have been independently assessed and accredited via the Carbon Trust accredited supplier scheme.

Big warehouses have offices attached and LED innovation is cutting a dash here to capture the booming market for well-being in the workplace. The latest example is a HIGH-BAY Aire-Lume, developed by UK-based Trinity Lighting, which can kill 99% of viruses, bacteria and remove toxic gases. It combines powerful active air purification with high specification LEDs. The US Environmental Protection Agency has discovered that indoor air can be anywhere 2 to 5 times as polluted as outdoor air. Worse still, in the UK some 86% of people admit they regularly attend their workplace with a contagious condition such as the flu. Air conditioning which can move germs around the building often makes the problem worse. The scientific technology behind the Air-Lume is a proven virus killer and it does not compromise on light quality, features best in class colour rendering and has ultra low flickering and glare.

Bill Redmond, Features Editor

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