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NCT goes green with LEDs

ECO-lighting company LEDinLight is helping Nottingham City Transport cut its electricity bills by 75% after completing the installation of an energy-saving light system in the bus operator’s new control centre. The Nottingham business designed, manufactured and installed over 40 low-energy LED ceiling panels in a suite of rooms that includes NCT’s vital new control system, which allows operators to monitor the movement of every bus in the city in real-time.

The panels, which have replaced fluorescent lighting, will cut the electricity consumption for lights at the control centre by 75% and pay back their upfront cost through reduced bills within three years.  The powerful LED lights also make the centre a more comfortable and less tiring place to work for NCT staff. This is because the panels emit a light which is close to natural daylight, meaning users don’t suffer the tiredness and eyestrain which is associated with exposure to fluorescent light.

“The panels are so efficient that they will pay back their cost within three years because they use around 50% less power than conventional lights,” said LEDinLight’s business development manager Eva Ottosson. “The light they emit also most closely resembles outdoor light so you can see true colour. This is why LEDs are used by dentists and doctors working in hospitals where you need to see exactly what’s in front of you.”

Chris Ingfeldt, LEDinLight’s marketing manager, added: “This is one of the biggest contracts we have had since we moved to Nottingham and it is very satisfying to see NCT’s staff and operations benefiting from our lighting.”

Conventional fluorescent lighting continues to be used elsewhere at NCT’s head office in Lower Parliament Street. 

Chris and Eva moved from Sweden to set up LEDinLight in October 2008 and they now have offices at No.1 Nottingham Science Park in University Boulevard. The company designs and manufactures its own range of LED lighting for domestic and commercial premises. As well as cutting users’ electricity consumption and carbon footprint, the lights are completely safe to dispose of and recycle because they do not contain chemicals such as lead and mercury.

The contract with NCT came about when the bus company decided it needed to refresh and expand its control centre. NCT safety engineer Paul Feeney, who had responsibility for the outfitting of the centre, was referred to LEDinLight by Nottingham City Council, which helped Chris and Eva’s business find its feet in Nottingham when they first arrived from Sweden.

“One of the big priorities in this project was to reduce NCT’s energy consumption,” said Paul. “And the ceiling panels designed by LEDinLight have helped us begin to reduce our consumption because they are so efficient, and because they emit so much light that we can actually use fewer panels than with other conventional lighting options.” 

The cost of purchasing the lights for the control centre was covered by a grant from Salix, a finance company which provides interest-free loans for energy-efficient technologies in the UK public sector. “I had to prove to the city council that we would be able to pay back this grant within five years of getting it through reductions in our bills,” Paul added. “As you can imagine, NCT’s electricity usage is huge and I would now like to see these LED lights being fitted in the NCT garage, where the lights have to be on from dusk to dawn. That would allow us to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint even further.”

And the opinion of NCT staff who work in the control centre? “The LEDs are about 150% better than the lights we had in our old office, which were reaching their sell-by date,” said network co-ordinator Trevor Firman, who has worked for NCT for 25 years. “What we have now is amazing. There were all sorts of problems with the fluorescent lights.”

At LEDinLight, Eva, Chris and finance director Matthew Lawrence already have several major new contracts in the pipeline. The LED ceiling panels are their main product and manufacturing is now taking place at Rugeley in Staffordshire. The future is looking bright. “I feel like I’ve spent the last year talking to people about the benefits of LED lighting and now, when everyone is trying to cut their carbon footprint and energy bills, the market is really ready for our products,” said Eva.

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© Nottingham Science City 2011

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