Student research on 3 rooms could save the University £5000 a year

Posted by chj6 at Jul 12, 2017 01:21 PM |
Engineering students analysed lighting in 3 rooms on main campus.

The business cases for new lighting systems could save over £5000 a year on running costs, after an initial return on investment. Over the 30 year life expectancy of the existing lighting, these proposals would save the University £151,000. What is the significance of this? Scaled up to every other corridor and room, savings would run into hundreds of millions, not to mention the impact this would have on reducing our carbon footprint.


New lighting technologies are increasingly energy-efficient, with the energy savings making total costs cheaper than the cost of current lighting. Furthermore, new lighting with longer life expectancy does not need to be maintained so often, drastically reducing the current 50% of electrician time taken changing lightbulbs!

The students compared old and new lighting systems using LEAN principles - creating more value with fewer resources. Read on to find out more.

Henry Welcome

Henry WelcomeMasters of Engineering Management students Rueben Acheampong, Tabassum Patel and Yanfei Han focused on the "Dirty" Corridor in the Henry Welcome building. They studied the existing lighting - a series of fluorescent bulbs in need of constant changing when they no longer work.

In that corridor alone, they found this costs the University £5,787 a year. Their business case to replace the lamps with LED’s would save the University £3,526 a year after a 2 and a half year payback.

Adrian Building

Studying the ground floor back corridor, Mohammed Adrian CorridorYousuff Sohaib found that the fluorescent tubes installed 10 years ago are similarly highly inefficient due to frequent replacements, poor light levels and high energy costs.

Over 30 years, the existing system will have cost the University £29,490. In contrast the proposed system, combining LED technology with motion sensors, would cost only £10,168, with a return on investment after 5.28 years.

Ken Edwards

Darwin Mahalingam, Yerkebulan Umirov, Ian Player and Jonathan Pring looked at Lecture Theatre 1 in the Ken Edwards building.

Their proposal is to change the fluorescent lamps to LED, reduce the number by 68% and install a digital lighting control system. By cutting energy usage by 82%, this would save £715 a year after a 9 year return on investment.

Ken Edwards LT1

Can we implement this research?

Supported by Electricians and Estates staff members, their proposals thoroughly considered all aspects of usability, installation and maintenance, from risk assessments to fault reporting. Hence, due to the high quality of their research, Reactive Maintenance will soon be implementing the work.

Such student-staff partnerships are invaluable to the University, providing expertise and knowledge in return for real-world experience. If you have an idea for a student project, let us know at

What else is the University currently doing to save energy?

Old vs new lighting in the library

Using SALIX Funding, the Energy Team are working on a number of projects to reduce energy usage. A recent project to change lighting to LED in a David Wilson Library office has saved a fantastic 93% in energy costs.

Current projects to save energy have an annual cost saving of nearly £52,000 and 303 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

For more details, you can visit the projects page here.

What is my responsibility?

In line with our Sustainability Policy, every member of staff and student has a responsibility to strive towards lower energy consumption. Here are some things you can do:

  • Review energy consumption in your department, from lighting, to plug-in equipment, to heating control.
  • Are you procuring the most energy-efficient equipment?
  • Could lights be turned off when not in use?
  • Is everyone turning off their computer at the end of the day?
  • Got a problem we can help with? Are you working in sauna-, freezer- or cave-like conditions?

    After years of sweating, a laboratory in the Adrian building have cooled down the room, inadvertently reduced experiment error and saved £20,000 a year, from a simple lighting change. Tell us your idea and your department could be next.