In the know about lighting control legislation

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With more property owners choosing to invest in energy efficient lighting, the appetite for specifying lighting controls in both residential and commercial settings is increasing.  This coupled with revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations, which call for better lighting efficiency and better lighting controls, means that contractors need to be up to speed with the latest industry developments.  Here, Kevin Norman, senior product marketing manager for Newey & Eyre, explains everything contractors need to know about lighting controls

Historically Part L has been focused on the building envelope and looked at the general ‘conservation of fuel and power’.  While this has proven to be a good way of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, the guidelines have now become more specialised, addressing other key factors that can make a real difference in reducing energy usage. 

The new revisions call for a focus on lighting controls in commercial buildings and outline the role that controls can play in making better use of our energy.  Lighting accounts for around 40 per cent of a commercial building’s energy usage1, meaning that by installing an efficient lighting solution, businesses can expect to make significant savings on both their carbon emissions and their energy bills.  While many are aware of the savings that efficient lamps and LED solutions can offer, adding controls to these systems is the key to unlocking the real energy savings.

A key component is the new method for measuring a building’s lighting efficiency. The new LENI (Lighting Efficiency Numeric Indicator) system calculates energy usage per m2 and compares it to the Part L allowance and is based on the system as a whole, rather that separate components.  According to the Lighting Industry Associations’ (LIA) mini guide to lighting controls, a Part L LENI calculation can be worked out by dividing the building into zones, how much daylight is available, as well as annual energy usage. 

Previously Part L called for individual luminaires to meet a minimum efficacy of 55 l/cct watt (luminaire lumens per circuit watt).  Under the new changes, this has now increased to 60 l/cct watt.  While this might seem like it will make the specification process harder, Part L now states that if the maximum control factors are used, minimum efficacy decreases to 42 l/cct watt – giving designers a bigger choice of luminaires to choose from, while enabling them to remain compliant.  Similarly, allowances have also been made for specifying luminaires when presence detectors are installed, as well as daylight harvesting and dimming fixtures.   

Further adding to the changes, Part L regulations now differ across the UK, meaning that there are different guidelines across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  As of April this year, contractors now must consider each country’s rules and regulations before designing and installing a lighting system. 

Until the changes were introduced, this caused little issue as the legislation in each country was essentially the same; however compliance is now stricter in England meaning that contractors must be confident that they are aware of the changes.  

With all of the changes to Part L, it is easy for contractors to feel overwhelmed.  However, compliance is key, so they must get to grips with the new legislation.  As we know, lighting controls are becoming an increasingly sought-after solution for homeowners and businesses looking to reduce their energy bills.  Therefore Part L is set to be particularly important in both the domestic and commercial sectors, so contractors should be ready to make the most of this revenue stream.  We would recommend that installers read the LIA’s mini guide for a full breakdown of the changes to Part L, in order to ensure that they remain compliant.

With the new legislation in mind, Newey & Eyre has launched a plethora of new products that will give building owners the tools they need to control their energy.  Newey and Eyre can provide comprehensive solutions – from basic energy management products to sophisticated controls. 

In demonstration of this, Newey and Eyre chooses to partner with a plethora of manufacturers, such as C.P Electronics, Lutron and Honeywell EX-OR to provide an extensive range of lighting control solutions.  In addition to such brands, the company also offers an extensive range of own brand Newlec ceiling and wall mounted occupancy detectors, plus indoor and outdoor time delay switches.

With the need to ‘go green’ greater than ever, taking simple steps towards better efficiency can add up to make a significant difference.  Many believe that the UK could be facing energy shortages as early as next year, therefore contractors must ensure that they are in a position to offer expert advice on the latest energy saving technologies.


To download the LIA mini guide, please visit http://www.thelia.org.uk/lighting-guides/lia-mini-guide-to-part-l-for-the-building-regs/ 


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