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EGG Lighting

Thanks to the latest advances in technology, putting in place energy-saving measures that reduce costs and cut carbon emissions have become the norm across many industries. 

None more so perhaps than in the business of lighting. Brian O’Reilly, owner and director of EGG Lighting, has been helping customers including the Scottish Prison Service, Holiday Inn and several Scottish housing associations switch over to energy efficient LED lighting.

But while LED systems represented a huge leap forward from the old fluorescent-style lights historically used in most of commercial and industrial buildings, LED systems themselves have also been improving at a rapid rate. In just three years, over 50% savings in running costs are now possible when comparing original LEDs with the latest generation models.

Gerard Rafferty, EGG lighting

While upgrading LEDs to the latest models may make good economic sense, it also unfortunately means generating a considerable amount of waste. This thought struck Brian O’Reilly while he was surveying a new installation of the latest LED lighting for a client. “I saw that we would be taking out a perfectly good LED lighting system that was going to end up just being disposed of. I really don’t like waste, and I thought that there must be a better way,” explains Brian. In fact, only 5% of the light fitting actually needs to be replaced. This means that 95% of the remaining material is being discarded unnecessarily.

Brian and his team decided it was time to design a new kind of light fitting where only the LED and driver parts needed to be replaced. This would allow the light fitting to be upgraded to the latest LED technology as it became available, without having to replace the whole unit. The next question was how to market the new system. Would it be better for the customer to buy the unit outright and pay for the upgrades, or would a service model be more cost effective, whereby EGG retained ownership of the unit and responsibility for upgrading the LEDs? To work out the answer, Brian turned for help from Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy team, which is supported by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“Zero Waste Scotland’s circular economy experts looked at the different commercial models for us – analysing which would be the most economically viable for customers,” said Brian.

As part of this, the Zero Waste Scotland team developed a ‘lighting as a service’ model, under which customers pay to receive a lighting service rather than owning the fitting and bulbs. This was based on modelling a range of data from typical customers, considering all aspects including service delivery and material costs. The model calculates contract rates, forecasts expenditure and contains data for marketing the service to EGG’s target customers. The appeal of this type of service model is easy to understand. For EGG, it provides for a steady, long-term income flow and ongoing relationship with customers, while the customer has access to the latest LED technology at an affordable cost.

The idea of paying for light as a service in this way, rather than physically owning the lighting infrastructure, has caught the interest of Scottish logistics, construction and distribution specialists W H Malcolm, who have partnered with EGG Lighting in a trial of the commercial viability of the service model. As part of the trial, which started in May 2018, EGG has been running a comparison between its new modular, upgradable lighting unit and a standard lighting unit. This was made possible by a £20,000 development grant from the Circular Economy Investment Fund. The comparison is looking at response times, ease of access, practicalities of unscheduled maintenance based on remote monitoring and light levels. “As part of the comparison, we’re also monitoring the level of light output on LEDs,” explains Brian. “All LEDs are subject to dimming over time, so we want to check that the level of light output remains within the statutory regulations,” he added.

One of the success stories of the trial has been the use of dynamic zone control, where lighting adapts to how the space is used. Brian reports that this can save 70% on the running cost of the lights. The trial has also shown that LED fixtures can be upgraded to the latest lighting technology in just five minutes, doubling the efficiency and halving the running costs. They have also been able to measure the running cost of the LED fixtures to a high degree of accuracy, alongside their service and usage history for future use.

EGG Lighting is now working on developing a new innovative service model involving a buy back scheme and Brian wants to begin manufacturing of upgradable LED fixtures, working with Scottish manufacturers.

Brian’s work in the lighting sector reflects his philosophy towards the circular economy. “I think the success of the circular economy will rely a lot on developing service models such as ours. The idea of light as a service is a game-changer. It will be fascinating to see what else follows. Ultimately, it’s all about design though. When more organisations start to design products like ours with a modular and upgrade mindset, then the circular economy will really take off.”

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