Whole life costing: Retail lighting

Peter Mayer

Good lighting design can give retailers a
competitive advantage as well as being energy
efficient. Peter Mayer of Building LifePlans looks
at the whole life performance issues for lighting options.


Lighting systems in new buildings or in replacement work are required by approved document Part L2 of the Building Regulations to be energy–efficient where more than 100m˙ of floor area is to be serviced by artificial lighting. Part L2 sets an efficiency level of 50 lamp lumens per circuit–watt for general lighting – this measure includes the efficiency of the lamp and its associated control gear such as the ballast. For display lighting the efficiency should be greater than 15 lamplumens per circuit–watt. An alternative approach is to ensure that more than 95% of the lighting comprises lamps of equal or better performance than the types which are considered in more detail below. Similar requirements and standards apply to Scotland.


Retail lighting options

Generally energy efficient lamps give low operational costs at the price of high installation costs;. The exception is fluorescent lamps, which offer relatively low installation and operational costs. Other options include:


• High pressure Sodium (SON) lamps

Gives a yellowish light and are usually used externally.


• Metal halide lamps

Give excellent white light with better colour rendition than sodium-based lamps. They are used for general and display lighting.


• Induction lamps

Power for these lamps is passed without the need for physical conductors or electrodes. This results in long lamp service periods. Typically they are available as low-pressure mercury lamps.


• Tubular fluorescent

These should be of the high–efficiency type coupled with a high–efficiency control gear that saves energy, eliminates flicker and extends lamp service period. Tubes of 16mm (T5) are generally specified as they are the most efficient type.


• Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)

These are are a miniature version of the fluorescent tube and should be rated above 11W. They provide maximum energy efficiency when switched on for more than four hours. These need specialist dimming equipment.

Alternative energy-efficient lighting solutions not specifically mentioned in the approved document include LED lamps and fibre optics.



Strategies to minimise life cycle costs

Lighting may account for as much as 50% of energy bills in a retail premises Lifetime time costs can be further minimised by specifying the following:

• Well-designed light fittings with high light output ratio (LOR). These typically incorporate diffusers and highly reflective reflectors to improve efficiency.

• Retail design that incorporates as much natural daylight as possible. Refer to the CIBSE Daylighting and window design guide. Research suggests natural daylighting can increase sales.

• Automatic lighting controls. Photoelectric controls can be calibrated to balance artificial and natural daylighting so that electric lamps are dimmed or switched off when there is sufficient natural light.

• Modular or prefabricated wiring systems. Retail interiors have a high churn rate, in that interiors may change every 5 – 15 years. Modular wiring systems can offer flexibility without the need to rewire. Design and installation cost savings of up to 30% are reported. Similar cost savings may be achieved on a churn refurbishment.

• Lamps and lighting circuits with a higher energy efficiency. The approved document is merely a minimum standard. The CIBSE code for interior lighting defines good practice as a minimum 65 lamp lumens per circuit watt.

• Internal surfaces and spaces that enhance lighting, such as high–reflectance surfaces

• Designs which allows simple and safe maintenance access.

• Lamps and luminaires that are cost effective for the functional requirements of individual spaces

• Building log books, which are a requirement of the approved document. These include a cleaning regime for the lamps and luminaires to maintain illuminance at acceptable levels. Dirt and dust can reduce light output 20 – 30% after 2 years with no cleaning.

There is a wealth of lighting design guidance published by CIBSE, the Society of Light and Lighting and the BRE. The Carbon Trust provides advice related to energy efficiency measures.

Tax relief may be available to UK businesses through the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme that encourages use of energy-efficient equipment.


Installation issues

Refer to BS 8000–16. Good preparation is essential:

• Surfaces should be clean and dry

• If required, apply the correct primer, filler, back–up or bond break.

• Sealants should be given the correct profile: the exposed face of triangular fillet joints should ideally be convex or flat, preferably not concave. Rectangular joints should be finished flat or slightly concave.


Specification options

cost £/m
Net present value for 60 years £/m Average Service Period
hours for lamp
Energy consumption*
Internal lighting        
Tubular fluorescent lamps 3 x T8, 18 watt. Luminaire: recessed in ceiling, 600 mm x 600 mm, with stove enamel steel or aluminium spine, UV stabilised diffuser 97 526 13,000 12-18%
Compact fluorescent lamp, 28 watt. Luminaire: ceiling mounted, circular polycarbonate cover, aluminium body. 45 329 9,000 18%
Tungsten filament bulb 60 watt. Luminaire: glass diffuser fitting. 35 450 1,000 100%
External lighting        
High pressure sodium lamp, 70 watt floodlight. Luminaire die cast aluminium polyester powder coated, with control gear IP65 rated for external use 175 836 24,000 11%
Metal halide lamp, 70 watt floodlight. Luminaire die cast aluminium polyester powder coated, with control gear IP65 rated for external use 175 1,183 11,000 15%
Induction lamp, 70 watt floodlight. Luminaire die cast aluminium polyester powder coated, with control gear IP65 rated for external use 317 1,223 60,000 18%


* Energy consumption figures, based on DETR data, are relative to a tungsten filament bulb, which has been included in the analysis for comparative purposes only

Table notes

• The component and cost data for the different luminaires and lamps is not directly comparable as as the installations are for specific applications. The data gives an indication of the whole-life costs associated with typical installations as described.

• Service periods are an average. Cost data is based on a usage of 10 hours a day, six days a week.

• Electricity at 7.5p a kWh. Luminaires to relevant part of BS EN 60598. Costs include fixing and connection of luminaire but not wiring. An allowance for cleaning is included. No allowance for access. Luminaire replacement every 15 years.

• The lamp and cost data is generic. Best value should be determined from a whole-life assessment of lighting options which satisfy project-specific criteria.

• A discount rate of 3.5% is used to calculate net present values.


Further information

BLP provides latent defect warranties for buildings www.blpinsurance.com

Further information contact peter.mayer@blpinsurance.com or telephone: 020 7204 2450