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Bunzl Retail gets the green light for savings on energy consumption

Distribution and outsourcing giants Bunzl have slammed the brakes on its energy consumption by installing a new, high-tech light system that is expected to cut lighting costs by around 70 per cent.

Bunzl Retail has switched to advanced ‘Eluma’ lights throughout the warehousing, racking and picking bays at its 200,000sq ft Manchester depot – and in addition to reducing annual electricity bills by up to £80,000, the project is also saving the retail supplies facility 325 tonnes of carbon a year.

Statistics from January to March showed the site’s lighting overheads had been lowered by more than 40 per cent, though the saving is expected to be around the 70 per cent mark when annual consumption is evaluated.

That’s because the Eluma lights, from energy efficiency specialists Somar International, continually monitor incoming natural light and dim, or switch off, according to interior light conditions.

Bunzl Retail Operations Manager Jamie Reeman, said: "Our lights used to be on permanently during the day regardless how bright the premises was as a result of natural sunlight – so during summer we’re expecting to see even greater benefit from the new system.

"Every company is looking to make savings…they can be the difference between retaining or losing staff. Energy efficient products offer a guaranteed return on investment and, in today’s economic environment, that’s hard to find."

Previously, the facility was lit using 350 conventional metal halide bulbs, the kind commonly seen in warehouses and distribution centres across the UK. Each of these lamps, running continually, costs around £300 a year and is responsible for emitting the same amount of carbon dioxide as driving a family saloon car 14,000km!

But as the new Eluma lights each have a maximum connected load of just 230-watt – roughly half that of metal halides – and a special reflector that optimizes light output, Bunzl has been able to drastically cut costs.

Mr Reeman, added: "As a FTSE100 company we have to be very aware of our environmental and social responsibilities…energy efficiency is part of our wider CSR drive. But even for smaller operators, addressing eco issues can help improve commercial relationships as more and more businesses favour working with those who have solid CSR credentials."

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