04 April 2011

Further savings?

We mused last week about the likely savings large multi-national transport operators hope to make after they've got all their bus drivers using less fuel through more efficient driving. One way is being trialled by Stagecoach at a number of its UK bus depots - smart lights.

Lights that can detect when someone is in a room are nothing new. Just under a decade ago a friend used to work at a chicken factory in Scunthorpe and said his staff toilets employed this light-sensitive system. All was well provided you weren't someone who likes to take a paper in with you, otherwise expect to be plunged into darkness after 4 minutes.

Supplied by Contrac Lighting, the system being trialled at Ayr, Glasgow, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Gloucester and Chichester depots appears to be a little smarter than that at the 2 Sisters Factory. They can detect the amount of natural light and can dim or brighten to compensate. I really can't see how such a system can significantly reduce energy consumption, though Stagecoach reckon it will cut electricity bills by 40%, saving almost 230 tonnes of CO2 a year.

By 2014, Stagecoach hopes to reduce CO2 usage in its buildings by 8% and its fleet by 3%. The group estimates a combined CO2 saving of 40,000 tonnes by 2014, which will have a positive effect on its financial outgoings, too.

Of course energy saving is nothing new. In the 1990s BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire, leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas (Chris Barrie) instigated something similar to good effect, placing notices above light switches in all areas of the leisure centre with "This light switch is connected to the earth's dwindling resources". Who says council workers are unable to choose the cheapest option to reduce consumption!

1 comment:

Broomster said...

The Tesco store in Llandrindod has similar energy saving lights in their toilets.. However if you sit down in the cubicle, you vanish from the sensor range - and shortly afterwards you get plunged into darkness!

As for the dimming and brightening of the lights - my mobile phone has a similar sensor - adjusting the brightness of the screen based on the ambient light - and that improves the battery life of a small gadget - so on a larger scale, I can see them saving money!