Recent studies have shown that more than improving efficiency, LED industrial lighting improves employee alertness and their general sense of well-being. LED lighting with certain spectral characteristics will reduce melatonin production that can cause sleepiness among the staff at a manufacturing facility. When employees are more alert, a manufacturing facility’s overall productivity level will measurably increase, employees will make fewer mistakes and suffer fewer injuries, and the quality of products from a production line will be markedly improved. Following this trend, Derbyshire company, Elkem Dronfield switched from standard Low-Bay to modern LED.

Ian Goodwin, Maintenace Manager at Elkem Dronfield Ltd, said: “We have had our lighting in our factory changed from HQI 400 Watt Low bays to LED 200 Watt fittings with daylight dimming. This has made a dramatic effect on the feel of the building, the mood of the staff and productivity”. With savings of £2,625 per year, Ian estimates that the installation costs will be paid back in just 19 months – “Add the cost savings to the increased productivity and positive feel on the shop floor, it’s a win-win situation”.

The LED lighting was supplied by a Chesterfield company, Recon Electrical, who are specialists in low carbon energy. According to company director. Russ Gratton,  “The benefits of LED are clear – it saves energy and, consequently, money but it can also make staff more efficient. The brighter atmosphere at Elkem is not the only way to rejuvenate staff, developers are also working on humancentric lighting – with panels which change from cooler bright light during the day to dimmer, warmer light in the evening. Cool white light makes the brain think is the middle of the day, so personal energy increases but for those who work late at night, lights can automatically dim down so staff who go home late will find their brains will be wanting to go to sleep straight away instead of being wide awake”.

Mr Gratton adds: “We know that LED helps businesses in terms of cost because we transferred the lightning in our own warehouse and it had paid for its own installation in just over 18 months. Thereafter, there is a straightforward benefit in terms of up to 90 per cent reduction in lighting energy bills”. The cost of LED lighting has been high historically, but it is rapidly dropping. “Five years ago, LED panel fittings were circa £150 and now they are around £28 for the same unit”.

Recon Electrical is moving fast with developments in energy efficiency thanks to the support provided by the Low Carbon Business Network – a project hosted by the University of Derby and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The network has helped the development of partnerships with LED manufactures to put forward a positive message and potentially corner a substantial market. Mr Gratton said: “it has helped us become more engaged with other companies – and work with other potential suppliers. We now supply electric vehicle charging points and run training courses for those companies who want to look at the installation of EV charge points. This will be a massive growth area over the coming years”.

Dr Fred Paterson the University of Derby’s project lead for the Low Carbon Business Network said: “I am delighted that we have been able to link such a go-ahead company as Recon Electrical with others in the field, they are another example of a small Derbyshire company which is pushing the boundaries to help businesses become more energy efficiency to the benefit of their staff and bottom line.”

The Low Carbon Business Network also provides fully funded places on LEVEL’s  Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure e-learning course, that normally cost £100. If you want to take advantage of our fully funded places you must represent an SME in the D2N2 region.  Please email [email protected] or call the team on 01332 591040 to sign up.