It’s just over a week until the shortest day of the year. 21st December marks the winter solstice, and when the sun sets at 3.53pm (assuming that you live in London – and assuming also that the sun has made an appearance at all), you will have enjoyed precisely 7 hours and 49.5 minutes of daylight – or put another way, you’ll spend almost two thirds of your day in darkness!
We humans have an instinctive fear of the dark which goes back at least to our hunter-gatherer past, and while we no longer have to worry about being savaged by sabre-toothed tigers, the dark can still be a place that’s full of dangers and hazards. Inadequate or non-existent lighting in public spaces can make people feel vulnerable and uncomfortable – even where they may in fact be completely safe – and in some locations, can significantly increase the chance of accidents, vandalism and other crimes. Apart from the issues around people and property – land owners failing to light areas properly expose themselves to the very real risk of expensive legal action if they’re found to be negligent.
Recently, we completed a project for a large corporate client, installing new lighting in their car park area following two incidents where staff tripped walking to their cars after dark. Thankfully no-one was badly hurt, but the company decided to replace their existing system which was inefficient, outdated, and becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Lamps needed replacing frequently, which meant hiring in special access vehicles, and ensuring staff were kept up to date with appropriate training and certification in order to be able to use them. Inconvenient and expensive, but not something they have to worry about any more, now that they have energy efficient LED fittings, which are about 50% less expensive to run than their old lamps – plus, because they’re guaranteed for 5 years, there are no maintenance costs either.
If you have responsibility for car parks, walk ways and other external areas around office buildings or residential properties, ensuring that they are adequately illuminated makes good sense on a number of levels. It will:
– Improve the quality of life for those people who have to use them after dark.
– In an office situation, ensure staff are happy coming in early or working late.
– Help maintain property values by deterring vandalism and crime.
– Negate the possibility of legal action for personal injury.
What’s more, fitting new lighting can actually be an opportunity to reduce your overheads and increase your green credentials. As mentioned already, the running costs of energy efficient LED lighting are at least half that of old style lamps – and that’s without taking into account the greatly reduced cost of maintenance. Further efficiencies can also be introduced by fitting intelligent control systems to make sure lights are only used when and where they are needed. There are lighting controllers to suit all budgets and requirements – ranging from photo-cell activated controllers which respond automatically to light levels, movement-detecting sensors which switch lighting on when an individual enters a zone, and switch it off (or dim it) when they leave, and programmable timer-based systems.
Can we help you improve your external lighting and save you money too? Call us now to arrange a free site visit so we can recommend the ideal solution for your premises. Don’t leave it too long – it’s only six months until the longest day (June 21st) when the nights will start drawing in again!