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Safety + Sustainability = 3 Cs

This article is part of the World Green Building Week 2021 editorial series highlighting the role sustainable buildings play in #BuildingResilience to climate change and for people and economies.

In their second blog, Signify looks at some of the ways LED can have a positive impact on the sustainability of our homes, workplaces and schools.

Most tourists have returned home, schools are reopening, and offices are filling up again. And suddenly it strikes you: why are the lights always on in that classroom or meeting room, even when no one’s there? We should save some energy there – and we can! Switching to LED-lighting creates a sustainable and digital place to study or work, and we can make it much safer as well.

The EU Green Deal is ambitious, but necessary. We need to reduce net CO2-emissions to zero by 2050, and without collective action this would be a tremendous challenge. That’s why everyone bears responsibility to achieve this goal, including your own school or business. How do we add safety to sustainability? By adopting the three Cs: energy label C, Connected Lighting, and UV-C.

The first C: energy label C

Is your office over 100 m2? Then you will have to comply with new sustainability laws starting on January 1st, 2023. From that date onwards, your building will need to conform to energy label C. Choosing for LED-lighting is a good first step on the way to a more sustainable business – and to acquiring this label. Sustainability starts now!

The second C: Connected lighting

You have kickstarted your journey towards sustainability with LEDification. But what now? A smart, connected lighting system (Connected lighting) is the next step up towards sustainability, and the best way to accelerate your journey. By switching to LED, you can save up to 40 or 50% on your energy bills – and Connected lighting can add another 30% on top of that. Let’s take Eindhoven University of Technology as an example. This university has managed to reduce the CO2-emissions of the Atlas building on their campus with 80%, leading to savings of 60% on their energy bills.

These savings were recently commented on by Thomas Leenders, Signify’s European Head of Public and Government Affairs: “There are 55 million light points within the education sector which still use old lighting technology, and which could be replaced by LED lighting. By replacing all these light points, we could reduce the CO2-footprint of the EU by 3.7 million tons a year – comparable to planting a forest the size of Slovenia.” Hence why Signify endorses policies which require all schools to switch to LEDs by 2030 to achieve the EU goals. And when you choose Connected lighting, your savings will be even higher.

But what does a Connected lighting system entail? A good example would be Signify’s Interact system. Human presence can be detected through sensors built into the luminaries themselves. Is no one present? Then the lights and air conditioning will be turned off automatically, resulting in a (sometimes significant) saving on energy. The system has an additional handy feature: the connected lighting allows the use of an app to check which rooms are currently not in use. This allows users to be guided directly to an empty auditorium or free meeting room with an on-screen map.

The third C: UV-C

Sustainability and digitalization have now been checked off. But what about safety? This is where the third C comes in: UV-C. The current pandemic has made it painfully clear: inside rooms are often inadequately ventilated. This makes it hard to prevent infection with viruses. To give you an idea: by opening the hopper windows on one side of the room, you recycle the air in the room once to twice an hour. But if you want to prevent viruses from sticking around in the air, you will need a whopping ten times more ventilation than that to minimalize the risk of infection. This is why it is smart to implement additional protection. Enter UV-C!

UV-C light is ultraviolet light which is capable of quickly disabling viruses and bacteria: in less than ten minutes, it disables up to 99.99% of all viruses in the air. It has already been successfully implemented in classrooms, office spaces, theaters, hospitals, labs, and elsewhere.

When you combine ventilation with disinfection, you get fresh and clean air. This reduces heat and energy waste – and on top of that contributes to your sustainability goals!

Safety + Sustainability = 3 Cs

Want to start your journey towards sustainability and safety? Do it now! The urgency is great, and we all need to bear responsibility. But it’s not all just good intentions: you will have to act on one of the Cs, perhaps all three. Learn more about the three Cs? Please contact me, and I’ll gladly tell you all about it.
What is World Green Building Week?

World Green Building Week is the world’s largest campaign to accelerate sustainable buildings for everyone, everywhere. Organised by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), it is led by our global network of 70 Green Building Councils and their 36,000 members.

Join us from the 20th–24th of September 2021 to find out how our network is accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals towards an inclusive and resilient net zero built environment.