Bright Ideas

Smart lighting installed in the Biomedical Sciences Building’s virology suite offers improved adaptability while reducing energy consumption, maintenance and consumables costs.

Last year, our Biomedical Science Building gained 100% Green Lab Accreditation thanks to the efforts of an engaged and active technical team. Building on this success, through our Sustainable Science & Green Labs initiative, we’ve installed intelligent controls as a new energy efficiency measure in the virology laboratory.  

Smart lighting improves research quality and energy consumption, whilst aligning us with our ‘Smart Campus’ ambitions. Firstly, fluorescent bulbs were replaced with energy-efficient LEDs which have a longer life expectancy (50,000 – 100,000 hrs) by at least a factor of ten and require less maintenance. Secondly, the lights are fitted with motion sensors to avoid lighting unoccupied rooms.  These are 100% adaptable to the user's needs and include timers and fade-outs - important when working in potentially hazardous environments. Additionally, our lighting is also daylight sensitive and adjusts lux levels in response to natural light. In total, the smart lighting is predicted to save £800 a year in electricity bills and 2.22 tonnes of CO2. 

Cleverly, faults in the lighting can be detected remotely through a mobile app. The app also permits the fine-tuning of luminaire parameters according to the needs of the lab users allowing improved task and zonal lighting. 

The new lights have received extremely positive feedback with “a noticeable difference in the quality of light in the lab”.    

Energy savings achieved through intelligent controls are not limited to lighting and have potential to be extended to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), we don’t need to run our buildings full throttle when no one is there. Laboratories and our STEM buildings account for 40% of our energy consumption and equivalent carbon emissions. Improving laboratory energy efficiency through intelligent controls will play an important role in helping us meet our 2030 carbon neutrality target. Since declaring a ‘climate emergency’ in April, the Green Labs team are employing increasingly innovative ideas to help us meet our carbon reduction commitments.  


September 2019


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