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Vero Group

Energy bills slashed by 80 per cent in student accommodation building

Modern, energy efficient LED lighting installed in student accommodation nestling between the University of Lincoln’s campus buildings is delivering whopping electricity savings of 80 per cent, dramatically slashing utility costs and carbon emissions.

‘Pavilion House’ comprises ten student accommodation blocks, owned by student accommodation company Vero Group and open to people studying at any educational institution in and around Lincoln, including the university,

Previously the lobbies, corridors, communal kitchens and stairwells in all ten blocks were fitted with fluorescent lighting systems. These were inefficient, burning through 871,258 kilowatts of electricity each year to the tune of £68,832, plus maintenance costs (e.g. labour and components such as replacement bulbs).

Pavilion House could make big savings by upgrading lighting in all ten student accommodation blocks to modern, energy efficient LED.

New LED system achieves huge savings

Following a consultation and successful test Lighting Electricians Limited, a company with over 20 years of experience, was contracted to replace Pavilion House’s fluorescent lighting predominantly with LED. Lighting Electricians visited the site, removed 2,324 fluorescent lamps and installed:

  • 591 LED 15w down lights in the lobby and corridor ceilings
  • 776 LED 12w bulk head lamps in the lobby and corridor walls
  • 142 LED 12w bulk head lamps in the stairwell walls
  • 397 LED motion activated lamps in the lobbies and corridors
  • 418 new fluorescent 49w lights in the communal kitchens

In total the new lighting runs on just 176,718 kilowatts of electricity per year and costs £13,956 to run annually, slashing energy consumed by a massive 80 per cent and utility bills by £54,876 each year.

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The purchase cost of Pavilion House’s new lighting system was £124,470, which means it will pay for itself in just over two years through these savings.

Pavilion House’s LED system is extremely robust and durable with a longer lifespan than the previous fluorescent lighting, making it practically maintenance free. This will amplify the energy savings made.

“We are delighted with our new LED lighting system,” says Pavilion and Hayes Wharf House Operations Manager Judith Wood. “LED lighting is now a standard fitting on refurbishment projects due to potential savings as well as efficiency matters. Replacement costs and labour costs are a directly noticeable saving and the light quality is a vast improvement on older technology.

“Lighting Electricians was chosen after a tender process, as well as on recommendation. The experience of the project was that they were efficient, flexible and extremely communicative which made the whole experience much smoother.”

What LED lighting means for student accommodation

According to real estate advisory business GVA, universities own over half of the buoyant student accommodation market (approximately 55 per cent or 172,000 beds).

This share is likely to grow as former Chancellor George Osborne’s recent stamp duty hikes for people with more than one property and tax changes bite smaller landlords in the private rental sector, which accounts for the remaining 45 per cent of the student accommodation market.

LED lighting, which consumes up to 90 per cent less power than traditional incandescent or fluorescent systems and lasts a lot longer, has fallen in price to the point at which it is becoming the economical choice in almost every application.

This means it can play a central role in helping universities and private providers that own student accommodation save cash, as well as meet the 2020 target set by The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to reduce carbon emissions by 43 per cent.

Growing numbers of student accommodation companies in the private rental sector, such as Vero Group, are already realising these benefits and using LED technology to operate in a cost effective and environmentally friendly way.

Of course both universities and student accommodation companies also want to make sure that living areas they own are fit for purpose and comfortable, not to mention the epitome of safety.

This is particularly important because universities openly compete for students and funds. Those lacking quality accommodation risk deterring potential students.

LED lighting is highly aesthetic with a range of illumination styles and colours, as well as high quality fittings to suit any application. The bright, high quality lighting it produces keeps student accommodation safe and secure.

By upgrading to LED lighting, universities and student accommodation companies can also increase their buildings’ values and the amount of rent they can reasonably charge. This in turn increases revenue and profits.

Making the switch to LED

The fiscal, environmental and aesthetic benefits of LED lighting are so enormous that organisations, in the further education sector and beyond, are rapidly switching over.

Indeed, Navigant Research estimates that the global shipment of LED modules and lamps is expected to grow to more than 4.1 billion by 2024, as 75 per cent of the world’s light fittings are updated.

This level of demand has created a big opportunity for commercial lighting and building systems integrators and there are great deals to be had.

For example, some contractors offer interest free funding with no upfront capital or deposit required. Instead companies make regular payments over a set period of time based on the energy savings their new LED lighting system provides. Something for nothing almost!