The lights are on…Ethical Energy & Climate News & Features
It’s been revealed that three out of 10 shops continuously left their lights on over the last three months while they were closed due to Covid-19.
Many retailers leave their lights on overnight in shops, but UK business waste specialists BusinessWaste.co.uk says many shops have been lit up 24/7 as well.
This is a huge waste of energy from high-street retailers in a year the UN has declared is pivotal for climate change.
‘There is simply no need to keep the lights on during this time, it’s like the Blackpool illuminations. Imagine how much money this is costing businesses in their electricity bills, it’s such a waste.’
Full lighting in 30% of shops
We all know that one of the easiest ways to reduce the electricity bill is to turn off light bulbs when you no longer need them, but 30% of shops seem to have forgotten this simple trick to save energy.
While it’s not uncommon for many retailers to leave some form of lighting on overnight, often to deter any vandalism or theft, these are often dimmed and on a timer system to reduce the amount of energy being wasted.
‘Unfortunately it seems that when the shop doors closed in March, 30% of retailers forgot to turn off or adjust the timer system, so the lights have been coming on full whack every day.’
In Liverpool, the city’s only Zara store shut up shop because of Covid-19 but left all the lights on inside.
With the average 60 watt light bulb costing £78.36 a year to run if left on for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it’s easy to see just how expensive these retailers’ electricity bills can be.
‘Once you go away and do the maths on how many lightbulbs there probably are in each shop and how many shops have left their lights on, you’re looking at an awful lot of money and energy being wasted.
‘If these lights have been left on to make the stores look pretty, I think owners are forgetting that everyone has been stuck at home and no one has been able to see them!’
Tips for businesses
After discovering three in 10 shops had left the lights on for the entirety of the Covid-19 lockdown, BusinessWaste.co.uk came up with some ideas to prevent such a huge energy waste from happening in the future.
Mark Hall suggests that commercial businesses need to set an energy strategy, to prepare for unexpected long periods of time when the premises might be empty.
These energy strategies use only the bare minimum amount of energy required to keep the building running efficiently, such as keeping chillers or freezers going in shops or power for security cameras and essential lighting.
Other ideas include having automatic sensors on lights, so even if they are able to come on during the day time they will only operate if they detect motion, or having light detection devices which dim the lights when there are high levels of natural sunlight.
‘One of the most effective ways you can make sure the lights are off in your premise is to keep reminding staff members to switch lights off as they leave, especially in backstage areas. Put stickers on light switches and posters on doors.’
Perhaps this advice would have been useful to the last staff members leaving a former Co-op and Budgens store in London, as despite it being closed to customers for two years, the lights were still on inside 24 hours a day. Imagine the cost of that electricity bill.