King’s College London has slashed its lighting energy use in its halls of residence by 87% as a result of a project to install RS PRO 500 and HF 3360 sensor controlled indoor lighting from Steinel.
King’s has a long history of commitment to carbon reduction - in fact, it was one of the first colleges to receive the EN 16001. Over the last few years, the pressure to cut carbon has only increased, with the new burden of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).
Targeting energy waste
In order to further drive down emissions and meet its CRC obligations, King’s energy and environment manager, Keith McIntyre, decided to look carefully at any areas of ongoing energy waste. The college’s halls of residence, where lights were habitually left on in the corridors, became a prime target.
At the Great Dover Street Halls of Residence, 769 en-suite single bedrooms are located in 113 apartments served by a network of totally enclosed corridors, which provide no natural light. Lights were often left on around the clock, 365 days a year.
Beyond behavioural change
One of the biggest challenges at universities and colleges is behavioural change, especially considering that the turnover of students in residence is so rapid. No sooner has one cohort absorbed the thinking, than they have been replaced by a new intake. The answer was to use ‘intelligent’ lighting.
“We had quite a demanding specification,” admitted McIntyre. “We wanted a light with an integral control system, as well as energy savings. Initially I couldn’t see anything on the market suitable, but then I saw the Steinel RS PRO 500 high frequency sensor light at an exhibition - it was just being launched and it struck me there was nothing else like it.”
In 2009, the college carried out a trial of the Steinel RS PROs, installing 200 sensor lights within the corridors of one six-storey building.
“The RS PRO 500 has totally solved our problem,” said McIntyre. “The students have some low level background lighting [from the 3W LED module] with the main low energy lamps [2 x 13W] activating as soon as someone enters the corridor. Further lamps activate as the person moves along the passage. The lamps remain on for 15 minutes before switching off automatically.”
Each Steinel RS PRO 500 features state of the art high frequency sensors that guarantee detection accuracy in 360°, at a distance of up to eight metres. The sensors do their work regardless of ambient temperature or direction of movement. They provide switching performance that’s virtually instant and are integrated more or less out of sight.
“The real beauty is that RS PRO 500s can act as stand alone units, meaning we didn’t need to rewire the corridors, saving thousands in installation costs,” he continued.
Reliable and quick to fit
“We like to push the Steinel units simply because they are so reliable - failures are very rare indeed,” said Colin Daly, director at Adlec Installations of south London, the electrical installation contractor on the Great Dover Street project. “The standard fitting is a real blessing, too. If the customer wants low level light at night then the snap-in LED module is a two minute job.”
Funding secured for further roll-out
Following the success of its initial installation, King’s was able to get the go-ahead to roll-out Steinel sensor lights to more of their halls of residence blocks, bringing their number to more than 1,100. Funding for the project has been aided by the college’s participation in the ‘Invest to Save’ scheme through Salix, an independent, publicly funded company set-up to accelerate public sector investment in energy efficient technologies.
“With the Salix funding there are strict criteria on ‘carbon savings per pound’ as well as installation costs, but by using the Steinel sensor lights we could meet these requirements and demonstrate quick payback,” explained McIntyre. “We can then reinvest these savings to fund new projects on a rolling basis.”
A further 300 sensors have been installed at the college’s Great Dover Street apartments and Wolfson House halls of residence, as well as its Greenwood Theatre. This time, the college opted for the Steinel HF 3360 sensors to meet its specification for ‘intelligent’ lighting.
“We selected the HF 3360 sensors based on their sleek, discreet appearance, which came with a high specification at a cost effective price point,” said McIntyre. “Although our top priorities were reducing energy use and carbon emissions, we were also keen to lower our maintenance burden going forward. The Steinel sensor technology means we are able to budget for much lower replacement part costs.”
In addition to reducing its maintenance burden, the college has netted incredible energy savings. Prior to the installation of Steinel technology, the lighting energy consumption within the halls of residence was 72,533kWh. Following the project, the energy consumption was slashed to just 9,040kWh.
In real terms, the college is saving £6,349 every year on its electricity bills. What’s more, it’s saving 34.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The expected payback period of the project is five years.