The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Shining Light on the Latest Energy-Efficient Lighting and Advanced Sensor Options

Office Lighting
02 November 2023

As our days get shorter and darkness is increasingly edging into our working days, it’s a fitting time to start thinking about how to improve energy efficiency in your lighting systems. We take a look at the latest technologies available and how we can calculate the energy reduction and cost savings. 


Energy-efficient lighting and motion sensors are a powerful combination when it comes to optimising energy consumption. By integrating these technologies, it's possible to create a smart lighting system that responds to occupancy and ambient light levels, ensuring that lights are only on when needed. Let’s explore how they can work together to improve energy efficiency.

Traditional incandescent bulbs, once the norm, have paved the way for a diverse range of energy-efficient lighting options. This shift not only conserves precious resources but also offers a multitude of benefits for both consumers and the environment.


Fluorescent Phase Out 


From September 2023, legislation was brought forward to stop production of traditional fluorescent tube lighting, which is common in offices. T5 and T8 fluorescent tubes will be phased out altogether, so there’s no better time to switch to more energy efficient alternatives.

The good news is, there are many retrofit solutions on the market allowing existing fluorescent lamps to be switched to LED with no or little adjustment to the fitting. LEDs are 60% more efficient than CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) and 90% more efficient than incandescent. Coupled with motion and daylight harvesting control systems, building occupiers can achieve significant energy and carbon savings.

At present, LED lightbulbs constitute more than two-thirds of the lighting products sold in England and specialists anticipate that by 2030, LEDs will make up 85% of all light bulbs sold.


Advancements of LED Technology


LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, have revolutionised the world of lighting more than any other technology. Despite their diminutive size, these energy-efficient marvels have replaced the once common incandescent bulbs, most of which are now prohibited. 

The superiority of LEDs is indisputable. They consume 90% less energy and endure up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Although early versions of LEDs were prone to issues like flickering, buzzing, overheating, and emitting colder, bluer light compared to incandescents, significant improvements have been made since their introduction over two decades ago.

Modern LEDs are dimmable and come in various colours, some warmer and some cooler. They are versatile, seamlessly adopting the classic shapes of traditional bulbs or even disappearing entirely into fixtures, emerging only as brilliant beams of light.

In the past, LEDs had a lifespan of just 25,000 hours and were irreplaceable once they burned out, rendering the entire lamp useless. Today, they boast lifespans of 50,000 hours and are more likely to be replaceable, marking a significant advancement.


Brightening Moods


In recent years, advancements in LED technology have not only illuminated our surroundings but have also positively influenced our overall wellbeing. The traditional incandescent bulbs, once ubiquitous, have been surpassed by LEDs which offer superior energy efficiency, longevity, and most significantly, improved light quality. This revolution in lighting technology is not merely about brightness – it's about creating an environment that promotes health, productivity, and a better quality of life.

The evolution of LED technology marks a transformative era in lighting, not only brightening our physical spaces but also enhancing our mental and emotional experiences. As we continue to discover the profound impact of light on our wellbeing, the widespread adoption of high-quality LEDs promises a brighter, healthier future for us all.


Adding Daylight Sensors and Motion Detectors


Lighting motion sensors, also known as motion detectors or occupancy sensors, are innovative devices designed to detect movement within their vicinity and trigger the illumination of lights accordingly. These sensors are widely used in various settings, including offices, warehouses, and outdoor spaces, to enhance energy efficiency and improve security. Incorporation of sensors into your lighting plan can dramatically reduce energy consumption and is also a clear signal of your commitment to sustainability to your employees and customers. 


Detection Technology Explained


Lighting motion sensors utilise different detection technologies to sense motion. The most common types of motion detection technologies include:

  • Infrared (IR) Sensors: Infrared sensors detect changes in heat signatures. When a person or an object moves within the sensor's range, it detects the infrared radiation emitted by the object's body heat, initiating the lighting system.

  • Ultrasonic Sensors: Ultrasonic sensors emit ultrasonic waves and measure the time it takes for the waves to bounce back. When motion is detected, indicating a change in the echo pattern, the sensor triggers the lights.

  • Microwave Sensors: Microwave sensors emit continuous waves and analyse the reflections. When an object, especially one with a different density (such as a person), moves within the sensor's field, it causes a change in the frequency, signalling motion and activating the lights.

Sensor Placement and Coverage:

Motion sensors are strategically placed in areas where motion is expected, such as hallways, staircases, entryways, and outdoor pathways. They are often mounted on walls or ceilings to maximise their coverage area. Adjusting the sensor's sensitivity and the duration the lights stay on after detecting motion allows customisation according to specific needs.


Activation and Timing:

When the sensor detects motion, it sends a signal to the connected lighting system, triggering the lights to turn on. The duration for which the lights remain on can be pre-set or adjustable. This feature ensures that lights only stay on for a designated period after the last detected motion, preventing unnecessary energy consumption.


Daylight Harvesting:

Some advanced motion sensors come with daylight harvesting capabilities. These sensors not only detect motion but also measure the ambient light level in the area. If sufficient natural light is present, the sensor may decide not to activate the lights, conserving energy by utilising available daylight.


Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings:

Lighting motion sensors significantly enhance energy efficiency by ensuring that lights are only active when needed. This results in substantial energy savings and reduced electricity bills, especially in areas with intermittent occupancy. Additionally, the prolonged lifespan of light bulbs due to reduced usage leads to further cost savings.

Lighting motion sensors work by utilising specialised detection technologies to sense motion, subsequently activating the connected lighting system. Their ability to enhance energy efficiency, reduce costs, and increase convenience makes them an integral part of modern lighting solutions, contributing to both sustainability and user comfort.


How can I calculate potential savings of adopting energy efficient lighting and sensors?


To complete your lighting audit, there is a handy guide to help you identify different types or lighting. You then need to take some simple specifications for each and input into the Energy Audit Tool. Co-founder of the tool, Paul, explains:

“Our system will automatically select the correct replacement for that fitting and it’ll tell you this is how much you’ll save and this is the fitting that you need – if you want, you can then contact suppliers through the system.”


– Paul Bleasdale, Co-founder, What’s the Payback?

🎥 Watch: Paul Bleasdale explains how to audit your lighting and details the latest sensor technology available to make lighting systems more energy efficient. 




To calculate potential saving and achieve buy-in from your organisation, you’ll need to complete a simple audit of your current lighting. The information you need to collate will vary slightly depending on whether you use fluoro but here’s a list of elements you need to look out for:

  • Fitting type

  • Fixture type

  • Tube type (fluoro only)

  • Length (fluoro only)

  • Ballast (fluoro only)

  • Wattage

  • Lamp cap type 


If you’d like to include sensors and detectors then you’ll just need to also identify:

  • Type of room

  • Weeks of usage throughout the year

  • Hours of use in the day

  • Hours of use in the night


Once you’ve collected all this info, head over to our free energy efficiency audit tool to start your energy audit:

You can simply start with lighting but make sure you check out the range of energy efficiency options you can explore. 



Lighting at a glance…


Types of Energy-Efficient Lighting:


1. LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Lights: LED lights are at the forefront of energy-efficient lighting solutions. They use semiconductor technology to emit light and are incredibly energy-efficient, converting 95% of the energy into light and only 5% into heat. LED bulbs come in various shapes and sizes, making them versatile for different applications, from home lighting to industrial use.
2. CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights): CFLs are a popular alternative to incandescent bulbs. They work by passing an electric current through a gas, creating ultraviolet light, which then interacts with a phosphorescent coating inside the bulb to produce visible light. CFLs use significantly less energy than traditional bulbs and last much longer.
3. Halogen Incandescent Bulbs: Halogen incandescent bulbs are an improved version of traditional incandescent bulbs. They use a halogen gas filling and a tungsten filament, making them more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than standard incandescent bulbs. However, they are not as efficient as LEDs or CFLs.
4. Solar-Powered Lights: Solar-powered lights harness the energy from the sun to power LED bulbs. These lights are ideal for outdoor lighting, such as garden lights and street lamps. They operate using photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity, which is stored in batteries for use during the night.

Benefits of Switching to Energy-Efficient Lighting:


1. Significant Energy Savings: One of the primary benefits of energy-efficient lighting is the substantial reduction in energy consumption. LED lights, for example, use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, leading to significant cost savings on electricity bills.
2. Environmentally Friendly: Energy-efficient lighting options produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment. By reducing energy consumption, we decrease the demand for fossil fuels, ultimately lowering our carbon footprint and mitigating climate change.
3. Longevity and Durability: LED lights, in particular, have an impressively long lifespan, often lasting tens of thousands of hours. This longevity reduces the frequency of replacements, saving both money and resources. Additionally, they are durable and resistant to shocks, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations.
4. Improved Quality of Light: Energy-efficient lights, especially LEDs, offer superior quality of light with various colour temperatures and brightness levels. They can be customised to create different atmospheres and enhance visibility, making them ideal for creating a welcoming atmosphere in various settings, including offices and public spaces.
5. Enhanced Safety: Energy-efficient lighting generates significantly less heat than traditional bulbs. This characteristic reduces the risk of burns and fire hazards, making them safer for use.
6. Technological Advancements: The field of energy-efficient lighting continues to advance, leading to innovative solutions such as smart bulbs that can be controlled remotely via smartphones or voice commands. These technologies not only enhance convenience but also optimise energy usage.

Article written by Daisy Miceli | Published 02 November 2023


Related Articles

Bouygues Replaces 90% of Yorkshire Borough Street Lights with LEDs

Bouygues Energies & Services has completed a partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough to replace 90 per cent of the street lighting in the borough with...

 Read Full Article
Lighting Designer Expands Luminaire Refurbishment Initiative 

A UK-based lighting designer and manufacturer is extending its sustainability efforts by offering its “carbon careful” luminaire refurbishing service to other...

 Read Full Article
Free Audit Tool Launched to Help Businesses Calculate Energy Savings

In an era of growing environmental concerns and rising energy costs, the pursuit of energy efficiency has become more critical than ever before. ThisWeekinFM is therefore...

 Read Full Article
Businesses Collaborate in Green Hydrogen Alliance

A new business group to promote the potential of hydrogen to deliver economic, decarbonisation and energy security benefits across the UK has formed. Companies...

 Read Full Article
Energy Assets Launches Net-Zero Business

Energy services company Energy Assets has launched “EA Net Zero” to help their customers adopt low-carbon technologies. Specialising in the industrial and...

 Read Full Article
Guide to the Phase-Out of Fluorescent Lighting for FMs

With legislation making some fluorescent lighting obsolete, Lee Tupman from Whitecroft Lighting walks FM providers through the phase-out, and outlines the available...

 Read Full Article
‘Carbon Careful’ Initiative Reuses Fluorescent Lighting Carcasses

Refurbishing old luminaire carcasses into energy efficient LEDs can help commercial buildings reduce their carbon footprint, says FUTURE Designs. LED is the...

 Read Full Article
FMs Warned to Prepare for Fluorescent Lamp Ban

Trade association LightingEurope is urging facilities managers to hurry their buildings’ transition to LED lighting systems, ahead of the August 2023...

 Read Full Article
ThisWeekinFM Named as Headline Media Partner at EMEX 2022 

ThisWeekinFM is returning to EMEX 2022 as the Headline Media Partner, holding video interviews across the two-day net-zero conference. On Stand H56, ThisWeekinFM will...

 Read Full Article
Planet Mark Launches Free Sustainability Toolkits 

Planet Mark, the sustainability certification, has created a series of free toolkits to help any size of business start on their sustainability...

 Read Full Article