Leading light

How LED lighting is offering healthcare trusts a low-cost opportunity to meet energy-saving targets

Philips LED lighting and control systems have helped cut energy bills by 25% at The Yorkshire Clinic

The NHS is being charged with reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, so trusts up and down the country are looking for innovative technologies that can help them to achieve this ambitious target. LED lighting is one of these

Key to any hospital procurement of energy-saving technology is a short payback time on any upfront investment. And that is where LED lighting is proving universally popular.

Lighting can account for more than 35% of the total energy use in a typical hospital development, so good, low-energy technologies can reduce costs significantly and, compared to interventions such as combined heat and power plants and ground source heat pumps, they are relatively cheap to buy, and payback is usually within just two years due to the 24/7 nature of hospital services.

LED lighting offers a significant energy-saving potential, especially for corridors and general spaces in the hospital, reducing the operational cost of a hospital

The increase in adoption among hospital trusts is mainly around Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). These have been in common use for more than 40 years, most traditionally as the indicator on televisions when they are on standby. They are a very small, point source that can appear very bright. The light output has developed rapidly over the years and they now routinely have a long life of around 50,000 hours, reducing maintenance. Unlike other lamps, they are also integrated into the light fixture, so there is no lamp replacement.

Currently there are two main types of LED lights – LEDs and Organic LEDs (OLEDs) - however OLEDs are relatively new and as yet unsuited to general lighting applications.

Hospital lighting specialist, Royal Philips Electronics, has an LED range specifically designed for healthcare environments, with ambient lighting options that have been found to also assist with patient wellbeing and recovery.

Great potential

A company spokesman said: “LED lighting can create a more colourful and soft ambience that makes the environment seem less clinical and more human, which is beneficial for both how people feel and for the quality and speed of the diagnosis process.

“In addition to this, LED lighting offers a significant energy-saving potential, especially for corridors and general spaces in the hospital, reducing the operational cost of a hospital.”

An installation of coloured LED lighting and control systems with the Premier Suite at The Yorkshire Clinic helped to reduce CO2 emissions by 25%; while Philips Dynamic Lighting system was installed on two wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary to mimic the natural rhythm of daylight for dementia sufferers.

Lighting can account for more than 35% of the total energy used in a typical hospital and good lighting can reduce costs and have the added benefit of decreasing internal heat gains, thus reducing the need for air conditioning too

TRUMPF also offers a range of ambient lighting specifically for operating theatre environments. Trials have shown its pairing of red and green light leads to less eye strain and tension among surgeons, and they are driving down energy usage.

The Carbon Trust puts replacement lighting near the top of its list of quick fixes for energy efficiency.

It says: “Lighting can account for more than 35% of the total energy used in a typical hospital and good lighting can reduce costs and have the added benefit of decreasing internal heat gains, thus reducing the need for air conditioning too.”

It has produced a report outlining how to implement LED lighting. This states that the benefits of LEDs over some other light sources include the fact they use at least 80% less electricity than an equivalent tungsten halogen source and perform well in cold environments.

Matt Fulford, head of low carbon buildings for carbon reduction specialist, Sustain, said: “This may seem like a simplistic solution and far from the often more attractive renewable energy schemes, but combined with other well-thought-out measures, it could save the public sector a fortune.”

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust switched lighting at its hospitals to LEDs, including installing intelligent lighting in public corridors, which only operates when sensors are triggered by people walking through or when lighting levels fall below a certain level. And Royal United Hospital Bath’s ‘Green Team’ won an award for saving 25% on energy bills through the introduction of LED lighting. This is equivalent to £800,000 a year.

TRUMPF has a range of LED lighting specifically designed for hospital operating theatres

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