An EU program for significant cost cuts through savings in lighting

Firms and organizations can make savings in energy for lighting of between 30 and 50 percent through the application of the European Union-sponsored GreenLight program, presented in Athens last month. GreenLight is particularly beneficial for large consumers, such as manufacturing and commercial enterprises, public agencies and local government, said Dimosthenis Agoris, chairman of the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES), which coordinates the program in Greece. The estimated savings in energy through GreenLight are 40 percent for offices and schools, 30 percent for industrial installations and sports centers, 25 percent for hospitals and museums, 20 percent for small shops and 10 percent for homes and hotels. Installation costs for GreenLight applications vary between 1.6 euros per square meter in schools to 4 euros per square meter in hospitals, industry and offices. Lighting accounts for 30-50 percent of energy consumed in offices, 25-50 percent in shops and 10-25 percent in hotels. Agoris said that the saving of 1kWh reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 kg if the energy is produced with lignite – as most of it is in Greece – 0.8 kg if oil is used and by 0.5 kg if natural gas is used; Greece consumes 45 percent more energy per product unit value than the EU average, and consumption is projected to remain on an upward curve in the coming years. Up to the end of 2002, 87 large European companies, of which four were Greek, had voluntarily adopted GreenLight. Two of them, mobile operator Vodafone-Panafon and Piraeus Bank, received honorary plaques by CRES for their successful office application of GreenLight systems. Emmanuel Perakis, Vodadone-Panafon’s business excellence manager, told the gathering that a pilot application of GreenLight had yielded 20 percent savings for his company, which has now decided to extend it to all its office space. Architect Alexandros Tobazis referred to design making optimum use of natural light as the «poetry of architecture;» natural and technical lighting systems must be complementary, he said. Aris Tsagrasoulis, of the University of Thessaly, pointed out that savings could also be achieved by changes in the color spectrum of lighting systems as well as through the use of fiber optics which reproduce natural light; painting walls with lighter colors could produce up to 20 percent savings, he said. However, he cautioned that unsuitable light-saving techniques can be counterproductive for worker psychology. «Clever systems should be adapted to buildings and human sensitivities,» he said. Frangiskos Topalis, associate professor at the National Technical University of Athens, cautioned that energy may be consumed even without producing light, and some fluorescent systems can consume 50-70 percent more, without producing the right color balance. He added that high tube temperatures undermine lighting performance and that European (CE) certification limits refer to combustion temperatures, not the quality of lighting products. He said the quality of aluminum reflectors was an important factor. Finally, he called on the government to introduce regulations for energy standards and national specifications for the performance of energy systems and products, as elsewhere in Europe.