Lighting as a Service – a circular economy solution

Lighting as a Service - a circular economy solution

By Zumtobel Group

With the evolution of LED, light is becoming more effective and efficient. We live in an age where light is subject to fast-paced change, with luminaire efficiency increasing all the time. Recent studies are showing a direct link between improved employee performance and the quality of light within the workspace. The lighting issue is of increasing interest to many businesses.

Businesses are also being tasked with meeting legally binding energy efficiency targets. These are becomingly increasingly onerous, requiring new ways of thinking. In fact, over the last few years, a new phrase has entered the business lexicon – the circular economy – which describes how more firms are looking at ways to be more resource efficient and create more cost-effective business models. Circular economy principles centre on rethinking waste, on recycling and re-using and finding ways to develop new products and services that keep resources circulating around the economy for as long as possible. Research suggests that the circular economy is set to be worth €500bn by 2025.

So how does the issue of lighting fit into this circular economy picture? Historically, many businesses have regarded lighting as nothing more than a legacy burden, an annual cost drain that was considered too costly and too disruptive to tackle. But a new mind-set is emerging, one that aligns perfectly with the environmentally conscious, energy efficient circular economy.  Business leaders are embracing the new idea of lighting as a service. Put simply, this means paying for the installation, maintenance and management of lighting, entering into a contract whereby the future performance of the lighting solution is ensured by the supplier.


Optimising lighting performance now and into the future

A lighting as a service model protects customers from any loss in asset value because the basis of the service is not about simply selling luminaries but about maximising future lighting performance. So, such a service enables customers to benefit from LED technology – and from future technology upgrades – without the hassle of owning and operating the lighting solution themselves.

The future-proofing advantages of lighting as a service are critical. Without such a model in place, every new technological advancement would require significant capital expenditure. Lighting as a service provides buyers with the necessary consultative expertise to enable them to stay a step ahead. Additionally, businesses deal with just one supplier contact (safe in the knowledge that the system is being monitored and maintained in the background) rather than having to deal with multiple maintenance, management and sales personnel.

Doing nothing is expensive. Not only is electricity getting more expensive every year; maintenance costs are also increasing. Every day an obsolete lighting system is operating it causes unnecessary extra costs – through excessive electricity consumption, high failure rates and high maintenance costs.


Lighting the path to a smarter, connected environment

Certainly, the cost-savings delivered by today’s LED lighting systems will interest any business. But undertaking to buy lighting as a service rather than a commodity moves the conversation way beyond simple savings.

Everything associated with lighting – from design via installation and commissioning through to regular maintenance – will be handled by the provider, enabling businesses to focus staff on core tasks. Once installed, transparent remote monitoring helps businesses to achieve the agreed aims regarding illuminance and energy efficiency and – with expert guidance – to quickly identify opportunities to adapt and enhance usage patterns.

The most advanced suppliers understand the biological effect of light on the human body and will work with businesses to design a solution that motivates employees and serves to enhance the reputation and brand image of the company as a whole. Innovative LED lighting solutions with specifically matching optics will enhance lighting quality and the perception of light, allowing personnel to better cope with daily tasks. Adjusting lighting to individual customer needs and implementing new functions isn’t a one-off task performed when installing the lighting, but rather continues throughout operations. In this way opportunities for improvement – in terms of quality, efficiency and functionality – are constantly monitored.

An efficient lighting system also results in lower energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions, meaning an improved environmental balance and lower CO2 certificate costs. And businesses will no longer have a problem with prohibited lamps. EU legislation is gradually removing inefficient lamps from the market, often forcing the hand of businesses to modernise. The lighting as a service model replaces outdated lighting in a considered and planned fashion, with skilled staff taking care of the disassembly and disposal of the old luminaires and lamps.

The Internet of Things is also emerging whereby lighting systems are the vehicle through which security solutions are implemented or data is gathered – intelligent systems that can be seamlessly integrated as needs dictate.


Time to switch

Changing any purchasing and business model will always require careful assessment, and moving to lighting as a service will be a step change for many. However, with the growth of the circular economy, businesses are looking seriously at any solution that cuts wastage, improves performance and moves the company in a more environmentally conscious direction.

Taking the decision now can lead to immediate savings and a model that normally pays for itself from day one.  As technological advances continue apace, more and more businesses and professionals will recognise the advantages of the ‘as a service’ approach to lighting. Driven by circular economy thinking, a tailored, optimised lighting system can have a significant impact – on employee performance, on environmental impact and on the bottom line.


Lighting as a Service – a circular economy solution