The project – which took place at Belgrave service station in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex – has also delivered a safer, more comfortable environment for staff and customers.

The need to reduce energy bills and deliver more reliable illumination tend to be the primary drivers behind LED lighting installations across different business and industrial sectors. But for an increasing number of projects, several other factors – not least achieving a more comfortable environment for staff and customers – are playing an important role in determining a transition to next-generation lighting.

A recent project involving Highway Stops Retail Limited exemplifies many of these impulses. A rising star of the forecourt service station sector, Highway Stops currently occupies eight sites in the UK and is on course to double this total by the end of 2016. As part of an ongoing mission to maintain high-quality facilities, the operator recently undertook a review of the existing lighting infrastructure at Belgrave service station in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex – having found it to be deficient in several important regards.

“Light levels were too low, the colour (rather orangey!) wasn’t great, and they seemed particularly inadequate in winter when it gets dark at 4pm,” explains Tony Head, who is development director at Highway Stops. “There was a clear health and safety issue to be addressed here, as well as a desire to create a more comfortable environment, especially at night.”

The potential of the latest fixtures to achieve long-term cost-savings was another prompt behind the project. Similarly, the desire to tackle an enduring maintenance issue that meant “every time a light went they needed to set up scaffolding in the middle of the forecourt, which was costly, disruptive to customers and sales, and a safety challenge.”

Retrofit solution

The answer came in the form of Energys Group’s acclaimed family of New Vision LED lamps for the replacement of legacy metal halide and SONs. A popular choice for projects in industry, education and more, the New Vision LED SON replacments make it possible to deliver a quick and inexpensive retrofit solution.

Energys was recommended to Highway Stops, and although meetings with other suppliers did take place, Energys proved to be “very competitive,” says Mr Head.

“They also carried out a full site survey and a risk assessment in advance – and so were able to demonstrate the quality of the products and identify a potential savings and payback period.”

The resulting installation at the Belgrave facility included the canopy area and car wash and will pay for itself (including installation costs and a five year warranty) in 10 months.

‘Brighter and lighter’

Not surprisingly, Tony Head and the team at Highway Stops are delighted by the financial implications of the new installation. But the upgrade is also paying off in terms of an overall improvement to the station environment – one that has been readily acknowledged by staff and customers alike

“The quality of the light is much better – brighter and lighter,” says Mr Head. “Indeed, we’ve received comments from women and elderly customers about how improved the lighting is. Additionally, the station is now more visible from a distance, allowing potential customers to see the facility from afar and make a decision in time to turn in to use the station.”

A possible long-term positive impact on the station’s commercial performance is a very exciting dimension to the lighting upgrade. For now, Mr Head is more than happy with the immediate performance of the LED SON replacement lamps, as well as the standard of support and advice offered by Energys throughout the project.

LED perceptions changed

“In all honesty, my perception of LEDs in the past had been that they were something of an ‘unknown’,” he admits, “but the project at Belgrave has successfully dissipated all of those doubts. For a start, Energys was eager to please and carried out the installation in just a few days – working around the station’s peak period and avoiding the rush hour completely. Then, since the installation, it’s become clear that the LEDs are comfortably outperforming the previous lighting.”

The energy efficient nature of the new fixtures also chimes with an ongoing focus by Highway Stops on sustainability.  It is not surprising to discover, then, that after the successful installation at Belgrave, further Energys deployments are currently under consideration.

“I am delighted by the impact that the new lighting has had at Belgrave, and I hope that in time it will be possible to go completely LED across all of our service stations,” concludes Tony Head.

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