By Pure Leapfrog

We all know that LEDs can save energy but did you know that if everyone across the UK switched to LEDs we could shave 11% off peak demand! And considering Hinkley C will provide 7%, that’s a serious proposition! Pure Leapfrog have developed resources that will ensure that communities are at the heart of this energy transition. To this end we have developed a legal agreement and financial model (available as part of LEAP).

To kick it all off we ran some workshops for community energy groups in London, Exeter and Sheffield in September 2016. We had over 20 organisations in attendance across the three days and the workshops covered a lot of ground, from the technical, legal and financial aspects.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended, the installers who took the time out to present and our hosts for providing the meeting space. The workshops were lively and collaborative.

The presentations can be found here: Pure Leapfrog; Toby Costin of Social Power; Nick Barton of Sungift; Chris Jardine of Joju; Pure Leapfrog’s LED contract summary and 10:10’s LED Leaflet.

LED workshops photo from the Sheffield workshopPhoto from the Sheffield workshop, September 23rd 2016


There were a number of questions raised at the workshops. In general, many of them were met with the answer “it depends on the project”. This is because:

  • each building is unique may have specific lighting requirements (e.g. schools or hospitals);
  • in addition to the brightness of the light, you also want to consider the “colour” e.g. a cold blue compared to a warm yellow;
  • the size of the install will be different and can influence the finances i.e. the larger the order, the more price per lamp can be driven down;
  • there may be variation in the types of lamps and fittings - a role out of 1 type of LED tubes will be more cost effective than a mixture of lamps and fittings across a building;
  • whether it is just a basic lamp replacement (usually not recommended), or whether a replacement with fittings and/or if re-wiring is required;
  • there is an EU obligation on suppliers to take away and dispose of old bulbs – make sure this is priced into any quote you receive;
  • is special emergency lighting needed (and associated testing requirements)?
  • is the lighting in the building already up to standard? If not then some of the savings might be eaten up getting the lighting to the standard.

As such, the sweet spot, much like renewables projects, are larger installations where there is a big energy user so that the specification can be simple, the variation and therefore costs reduced and larger orders possible, thereby reducing further cost.

Some hints, tips and notes:

  • If you’re going to do a first pass and conduct the initial energy survey, take photos!
  • Good idea to bring someone who really knows the building with you to make sure you get every room and don’t double up. Get hold of a floor plan!
  • If you end up installing the lights yourself, you’ll need a Part P qualified electrician to sign off.
  • Buy from specification - Energy Saving Trust and Lightbulb Energy Association provide guides on quality of different lamp manufacturers.
  • School lighting hours tend to be 2,000 per year. Warehouses can be more like 10,000
  • Check the small print on the warranties so you understand burn hours vs years
  • Whilst we have avoided the liability of lighting quality in the contract, as a community group we recommend ensuring the supplier has done a thorough design job. Community groups can do a simple and reliable lumins test, dailux is a free phone app which enables this.
  • Ensure you have the right insurance across the organisation and for the project.
  • Community Groups can often work out a returns policy with the installer e.g. they will come and pick up the returns every six months or so.

If you are interested in carrying out your own LED project then get in touch with Aoife on 02074076979 or [email protected] for more info on our legal contract and financial model.