Retail, commercial and industrial operating costs will be increasing as from April 2016 due to the latest approved Eskom electricity price hike of 9.4%. Can these industries afford not to investigate efficient and cost effective lighting solutions to reduce energy costs?

To add to the increase in electricity, Eskom’s CEO, Brian Molefe has commented that the 9.4% increase does not assist with Eskom’s sustainability and will have “operational consequences”. Therefore the risk of load shedding increases too!

“In the upcoming months we will be paying much more for electricity while suffering the downtime and financial loss that load shedding brings to businesses across South Africa,” says Relight Energy’s Director, Tristão Abro. “Half of a business’ energy cost can result from lighting alone. An effective lighting solution, based on skylight installations and lighting control, can reduce building energy costs by as much as 65%.”

As companies across the globe go “green” and strive to minimise operating costs, a growing trend that has emerged in the form of sustainable lighting solutions. “It stands to reason that by making use of the sun’s natural light, less artificial light is required indoors resulting in monetary savings,” he says.

Properly designed and installed Industrial skylights offer companies reduced energy accounts, natural light (which brings its own benefits to health and wellbeing of employees and shoppers alike) and reduced carbon footprint.

High quality skylights are essential in the South African environment and consideration should be given to quality, durability, supplier and installer. In order to gain maximum benefit in energy savings from skylights, the placement of each needs to be accurately assessed to achieve high levels of light, uniformity and reach.

Another energy efficient lighting solution is the humble LED (Light Emitting Diode). There are many myths regarding the installation and usage of LEDs in an industrial, commercial or retail setting. However LEDs have been in widespread use for more than a decade, lighting everything from traffic signals and cellphones to computers and TVs, due to their extremely low energy use, long life span and high-quality light.

While not new, LEDs offer unique and compelling characteristics for industrial applications. They are more durable, reliable and lack the maintenance requirements (e.g. re-lamping, re-ballasting) associated with traditional lighting. According to Abro: “With efficacy ratios approaching 100 lumens per watt, there is no more energy-efficient illumination source available.”

There is something to be said when a company like GE stops making CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and embrace LEDs as the way forward.

“Through a combination of the above applications and with proper use of light auditing, businesses can save on their energy costs while providing a more comfortable workspace for employees,” concludes Abro. “And if these solutions can be funded through the energy savings, what do companies have to lose?”