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Energy-efficient lighting upgrade saves Welsh Water over 400 tonnes of CO2

An energy-efficient lighting upgrade has helped Welsh Water reduce its electricity bills by £70,000/year, making a significant dent in its carbon footprint. This comes as a result of a highly-organised carbon-reduction programme undertaken by Energys Group across 41 Welsh Water sites, where old-style fluorescent lamps were replaced with energy-efficient equivalents using retrofit converter, ‘Save It Easy®’.

Welsh Water, which provides water supply and sewerage services to over three million people, is a major industrial operation in charge of 81 reservoirs, 930 water and waste water treatment works as well as many pumping stations, offices and workshops. The company has also pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the next 25 years – a big goal and one that requires eliminating all sources of energy waste.

Lighting is an essential part of keeping the company running safely, but for Welsh Water it was also an overlooked energy drain, with its old-style T8 fluorescent lamps using an excessive amount of electricity. The obvious solution was to upgrade to new, energy-efficient T5 lamps, but the process for upgrading was not as straightforward as it seemed. Due to technical and physical differences between the old T8 lamps and the new T5 lamps, an ordinary upgrade would have involved ripping out and replacing all the light fittings making the change uneconomic.

“Water and wastewater treatment environments are difficult to work in, and subject to stringent health-and-safety procedures,” comments Gary Mercer, Customer Services Director at Energys Group. “Adding disruption, noise and dust as a result of replacing the light fittings could make a difficult environment into a treacherous one.”

However, using a plug-in converter, ‘Save It Easy®’ from Energys Group, allowed the new T5 lamps to be slotted into the existing light fittings. This meant the lighting upgrade could be carried out without needlessly (and wastefully) tearing out all the existing fittings.

Welsh Water contracted Energys Group, a specialist in low-carbon retrofit technologies, to not only supply the Save It Easy units, but also carry out the installation process. With 9,623 lamps set to be replaced across 41 sites, mostly on operational water and wastewater treatment plants, the lighting upgrade required extreme precision and a high level of organisation. During the installation, Energys Services Ltd (ESL), the contracting arm of Energys Group, set out to ensure that health and safety was upheld and disruption to Welsh Water’s operations was kept to a minimum.

“We take health and safety very seriously at Welsh Water, so while the Save It Easy installation was taking place, we carried out two health and safety inspections,” comments Adam Fairman, Energy Innovation and Programme Manager at Welsh Water. “These surprise inspections were designed to make sure that Energys Services Limited was using the correct safety and hygiene procedures. We were thrilled to discover that the ESL engineers hadn’t put a foot wrong – they passed every health and safety check with flying colours.”

Welsh Water’s report of the first health and safety inspection notes that the ESL engineers are “a well organised team, with a high level of health and safety awareness. A clean and tidy working area was observed. All required documentation was produced on request.”

Welsh Water’s Mr Fairman adds, “The Save It Easy installation was a big job, involving dozens of sites – many of them industrial treatment plants. It was reassuring that the ESL engineers took the health and safety aspects of our company very seriously. As a result, the project was non-disruptive and well-organised. We were able to accomplish our goal to reduce our carbon footprint, without compromising the safe running of the company.”

In fact, Welsh Water is set to slash its company-wide carbon footprint by 442 tonnes of carbon dioxide as a result of the Save It Easy project. The company will reduce its lighting energy consumption by 823,954 kWh, cutting its electricity bills by £70,000. Required by law to reduce its carbon emissions under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), Welsh Water will be able to secure a better position on the CRC’s league table and reduce the number of carbon allowances it needs to purchase.

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