Lighting controls and the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme

8 August 2013

Delivering significant energy and carbon savings whilst continuing to grow, innovate and perform is a key challenge for all businesses. Lighting is an obvious and rewarding place to start to make changes, and today’s advanced technology offers the potential to significantly improve built environments.

Controls are an integral part of any lighting project. Without them, LEDs still waste in excess of 30% in unnecessary consumption; they cannot be monitored to verify savings, payback or lifetime claims; and they cannot respond to the changing needs of a building, for example to match daylight levels, create different working environments or adjust to people’s presence.

Despite the significant savings in energy, carbon and maintenance that the installation of efficient, properly controlled lighting offers, it can still be challenging for businesses to secure the necessary upfront investment. There are, however, schemes in place to improve businesses’ cash flow and encourage investment in vital energy efficient technology.

The Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme enables businesses to claim a 100% first year capital allowance on investments in certain energy saving equipment, against the taxable profits of the period of investment. This can provide a cash flow boost and an incentive to invest in energy saving equipment, which normally carries a price premium when compared to less efficient alternatives.

The ECA scheme recognises lighting as important area to address, with commercial lighting accounting for over 50TWh/year of electricity consumption in the UK and resulting in over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Open Technology is pleased that the ECA scheme aims to encourage the purchase of lighting controls and recognises the fact that they commonly realise additional energy savings of 30–40%.

Five different categories of lighting control are covered by the ECA scheme: time controllers that automatically switch off lighting at predetermined times; presence detectors that respond to occupancy; daylight detectors that switch off lighting when daylight is sufficient; daylight detectors that automatically dim lighting to the level needed; and central control units that can manage some or all of these categories.

Open Technology’s intelligent lighting control system, LiGO, is able to provide all of this functionality and more. It can be scaled to suit all building types and functions and is cost-effective for retrofit, refurbishment or new build projects. We welcome the Government’s ECA scheme as an important part of helping businesses to adopt energy efficient lighting, and in particular the recognition that controls are a fundamental component of any lighting installation.

Click here for further information on lighting and the ECA scheme.