Lighting as a service – A circular economy solution
With the evolution of LED, light is becoming increasingly effective and efficient, says Darren Riva, Northern European Zumtobel Group Services director. Recent studies show a direct link between improved employee performance and the quality of light within the workspace. The lighting issue is of increasing interest to many businesses.
Businesses are also tasked with meeting increasingly onerous, legally binding energy efficiency targets which require new ways of thinking. In fact, in recent years, a new phrase has entered the business lexicon – the circular economy – which describes how firms are looking to become more resourceful and create more cost-effective business models. Circular economy principles prioritise rethinking waste, recycling and developing new products and services that keep resources circulating around the economy. Research suggests that the circular economy could be worth €500bn by 2025.
So how does the issue of lighting fit into this circular economy picture? Historically, many businesses have regarded lighting as a legacy burden, an annual cost drain considered too costly and disruptive to tackle. But business leaders are embracing a new mind-set; the idea of lighting as a service. Put simply, this means paying for the installation, maintenance and management of lighting, entering into a contract whereby the future performance of the lighting solution is ensured by the supplier.
Optimising lighting performance now and into the future
A lighting as a service model protects customers from any loss in asset value because the service is not solely based on selling luminaires but about maximising future lighting performance. Such a service enables customers to benefit from LED and future technology without the hassle of owning and operating lighting solutions themselves.
The future-proofing advantages of lighting as a service are critical. Without the model, new technological advances would require significant capital expenditure. Lighting as a service provides buyers with the necessary consultative expertise to enable them to stay ahead. Additionally, businesses deal with just one supplier contact, rather than having to deal with maintenance, management and sales personnel.
Lighting the path to a smarter, connected environment
Certainly, the cost-savings delivered by today’s LED lighting systems will interest any business. But undertaking to buy lighting as a service rather than a commodity moves the conversation beyond simple savings.
Everything associated with lighting, from design through to regular maintenance, will be handled by the provider, enabling businesses to focus staff on core tasks. Once installed, transparent remote monitoring helps businesses to achieve the agreed aims regarding illuminance, energy efficiency and – with expert guidance – to identify future opportunities to enhance usage patterns.
The most advanced suppliers understand the biological effect of light on the human body and work with businesses to design solutions that motivate employees and serve to enhance the reputation and brand image of the company as a whole. Adjusting lighting to individual needs and implementing new functions isn’t a one-off task performed during installation, but rather continues throughout operations.
Efficient lighting systems also result in lower energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions, improving environmental balance and lowering CO2 certificate costs. EU legislation is gradually removing the problem of inefficient lamps from the market, often forcing businesses to modernise. The lighting as a service model replaces outdated lighting in a considered and planned fashion, with skilled staff disassembling and disposing of the old luminaires and lamps.
The Internet of Things is also emerging whereby lighting systems are the vehicle through which security solutions are implemented or data is gathered – intelligent systems that can be seamlessly integrated as needs dictate.
Time to switch
Changing any purchasing model will always require careful assessment, and moving to lighting as a service will be a step change for many. However, with the growth of the circular economy, businesses are looking seriously at any solution that improves performance and moves the company in a more environmentally conscious direction.
Taking the decision now can lead to immediate savings and a model that normally pays for itself from day one. As technology advances, more businesses will recognise the advantages of the ‘as-a-service’ approach to lighting. Driven by circular economy thinking, a tailored, optimised lighting system can have a significant impact – on employee performance, on environmental impact and on the bottom line.
The author of this blog is Darren Riva, director Northern European Zumtobel Group Services