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Better lighting points the way to big annual cost savings for signage company, Merson

Better lighting points the way to big annual energy cost savings of £12,000 for signage company, Merson.

  • LED lighting technology reduces energy costs by 50%
  • Investment paid off in four years
  • ‘Zoning’ and daylight sensors also improve efficiency

Slashing lighting costs by half can be a significant saving for any business. The Merson Group is pocketing £12,000 a year after consulting with our advisors on the impact of improving lighting. We spied big opportunities in replacing the company’s entire lighting system with dimmable LED technology. This would cut energy costs by a whopping 51 per cent, and there were more savings to be had on top of that…

Merson Group is a specialist group of companies delivering signage design projects such as motorway gantries, wayfinding schemes and large-scale rebrands. It also produces rainwater management products. It has been around for over 70 years and in 2013 had a turnover of £26 million.

Merson takes environmental sustainability seriously and has been ISO 14001 certified since 2008. The company created a programme called ‘Enviromerson’, which pulls together its many environmental initiatives and communicates its green credentials and sustainability ethos to clients. It has 200 staff, of which 150 are based in a 4000 square metre warehouse in East Kilbride. This includes all the manufacturing and administration teams.

Our advisor visited the East Kilbride site to carry out a free assessment of the lighting in the main warehouse area and in the office areas. The warehouse operates five 24-hour shifts each week and is frequently in use at weekends. This puts a high demand on energy use. Our advisor noted that most of the lighting was artificial and often not very good having been mounted too high or blocked by high racks. They recommended replacing the whole lighting system with dimmable LED technology.

Making the recommended changes would reduce energy consumption by around 51 per cent, translating to an annual saving of £12,700. With an installation cost of £52,750 the project would have a payback of 4.2 years and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 73 tonnes a year.

In addition, new lights would be lowered to a height of eight metres to provide an improved, more uniform lighting. A zoning system would group the lighting into easily identifiable areas, making it easier for staff to turn off lights in areas that are not in use. Previously, the warehouse lights had been operated by a single, unlabelled distribution board. We also recommended that daylight sensors be installed in the warehouse so that lights would automatically switch off when the sun appeared outside.

Reducing energy use and costs in the office areas was possible by installing occupancy sensors, removing some lights in areas that were over-lit, and rewiring lighting circuits to enable further zoning. These simple improvements would reduce annual energy costs by a further £1,150 and give payback of under a year on an investment of £1,080. Associated CO2 emissions would be reduced by 6.5 tonnes a year.

Our findings reassured Merson that making changes to their lighting system was worthwhile. But the company still needed the financial resource to invest in these future energy savings. It found this through the Scottish Government’s interest-free SME Loan Scheme. Its application is now pending and Merson plans to start the improvement project in the near future.

“The free, independent advice we’ve received from the service has given us the confidence to go ahead and improve our lighting systems in the sure knowledge that we will significantly reduce our operating costs,” says Joe Chaney, Safety, Health Environment and Quality Manager at Merson Group.

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