Case study

Light Control

Providing 51% operational savings associated with energy usage to Cambridge University’s historical lecture theatres

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Our customer

All large and complex organisations have a massive impact on the environment, and the University of Cambridge is no exception. This can often make finding the appropriate environmental solutions extremely difficult as it is rare that one approach alone can tackle a multitude of energy and carbon reduction problems. At the University of Cambridge one such problem to tackle is the approximate £1,825 spent every hour on energy whilst still providing the best learning environments and minimising disruptions.

In addition to the dedicated staff and engineers working around the clock to solve operational inefficiencies the University has an extensive Green Impact program. These involve network of volunteers and coordinators who aim to increase environmental awareness by tackling local departmental issues in the hopes of collectively making a positive transformation to the university’s energy and carbon footprint. Events are run throughout the year to encourage positive behavioural change to reduce wasted electricity and minimise carbon emissions from energy use.

The problem

LightFi’s aim is always to work in accordance with our customers’ needs and to help automate processes to enhance existing goals. We understand busy lecture theatres and meeting spaces have unpredictable traffic, especially after hours. Our client was concerned that in the lecture theatres at the Institute for Manufacturing the lights were often left on overnight as occupants forgot to switch them off at the end of their lecture, or simply were not aware they had to be manually turned off (all other lights in the building are controlled by sensors).

The Facilities Manager and the Building Energy Manager considered various options to help solve this problem in order to save energy and reduce the time spent by security personnel manually turning lights off. One option considered was to install motion sensors, however, the labour costs to retrospectively install these to the existing luminaire wiring (the building was constructed in 2009 so the luminaires have yet to repay their embodied carbon) meant the simple payback period resulted in an unviable business case. Our team was invited to implement our patent-pending solution to automatically control lighting in these kind of large, dynamic lecture theatres, with a much shorter payback time.

The solution and results

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