Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Gemma Lighting!

Merry Christmas from all the team at Gemma Lighting Limited!

Gemma Lighting UK LED lighting manufacturer Christmas logo

Wishing all our customers, colleagues and of course Blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We'll see you in 2013!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Mark Chivers joins the team at Gemma Lighting Limited

UK LED Lighting manufacturers Gemma Lighting Limited have recently appointed Mark Chivers as their new Sales Office Manager.

LED Lighting specialist Gemma Lighting
Mark Chivers (left) has joined Sales Director Mark Major (right) and the rest of the Gemma Lighting team
Mark joins the Portsmouth-based LED lighting specialists having had eight years experience in the lighting industry at Anglepoise Limited, where he ran the sales office and supervised sales for both the UK and US markets.

Joining the company at a busy time, Mark will oversee the day-to-day operation of the sales office and will report to Sales Director Mark Major and Managing Director Craig Manuel.

Gemma Lighting have gone from strength to strength in recent years, having recorded over a million pounds worth of sales last year and having surpassed that figure already in the first five months of this trading year.

With recent exports to Dubai and the Falkland Islands adding to the list of locations where Gemma Lighting LED products can be found, Gemma’s range of LED Street, Flood and High/Low bay lighting are all proving a popular choice for a varying range of customers, from universities to police stations, hotels to hospitals.

Gemma Lighting Limited was established to create an innovative concept for environmentally friendly lighting requirements. Drawing on vast experience of LED Technology since 2003, the team at Gemma Lighting have been designing, developing and manufacturing a new generation of LED lighting solutions for numerous applications, both indoors and out.

For more on the company visit the website at www.gemmalighting.com.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Why more and more restaurants are eating up LED lighting

Of all the regular clients using LED lighting solutions, restaurant and cafe owners are probably not top of any prolificacy lists.

They do, however, have extensive overhead costs to consider like everyone else when balancing the books of their business, and their energy bills are primary among those concerns.

Busy restaurant
Restaurant owners have enough to deal with
without thinking about  rising energy costs
As well as powering kitchen equipment such as cookers and storage facilities, lighting and computing requirements make restaurants one of the biggest user groups of electricity across the world. In the United States for example the annual energy bill for the commercial food service sector is estimated at $10bn, according to environmental protection agency Energy Star.

To drive down their running costs, and also reduce their carbon impact on the environment, several chains and sites are making the change to LED lighting – but are they doing it the right way?

The transfer to more energy efficient LEDs is an easy decision to make. With better power to output ratios, LEDs are far more energy efficient solutions in comparison with fluorescent or sodium light fittings that are more commonly found in restaurants. As well as reducing energy costs, the longevity and durability of LEDs also means a cut in the cost of repairing and replacing lighting, and installations of LED lighting, both interior and exterior, have seen many reduce their carbon emissions year upon year.

So what can go wrong? Well LEDs are becoming increasingly adaptable, their ability to replace traditional lighting setups means they can be found in more and more locations in and around homes and businesses today. Their use has stretched to LED lamps also, which boast all the benefits of regular LED lighting fittings with the convenience of coming in a small package. However these come at a significantly higher cost than market alternatives, and do not have the lifespan of their larger cousins.

High quality LED lighting specialists manufacture their own LED product ranges in order to maximise the benefits that LED lighting can bring to the user, installing and testing their products in optimum conditions for maximum capacity.

Lighting is a key consideration for
restaurants looking to create the right mood
LED ceiling tiles, street lights and bollard lights are all available as complete packages, and installation of these fittings can mean bigger savings over longer periods for users. Take an average restaurant with car parking for example; the owners could replace the lamps in their street lights, interior lights in the dining area, and lights in the kitchen and offices with LEDs. But to maximise their savings, they could replace all of these with brand new, vandalism and weather-proof, environmentally friendly LED light installations.

It isn’t just about cost reduction with LEDs either. Every successful restaurant has a theme and a mood it creates for its customers, who will return time and again to experience that unique feel. Several factors go into making this possible, and lighting can underpin all of these attributes. An elaborate design layout with bespoke colour schemes can be rendered useless if adequate lighting fails to sufficiently bring out the tones of those colours. The colour rendering of LED lighting is excellent, and the strength of its bright white light is more aesthetically pleasing than the pale yellow hue that can be emitted by older lighting systems, particularly as their lifespan diminishes.

This technical superiority also stretches to external uses, as LED lighting improves the picture clarity on CCTV pictures, meaning that your restaurant is more secure and ensuring that should anyone cause your business any damage you won’t face the frustration of seeing them walk away from punishment due to insufficient proof – a common problem for CCTV systems let down by sub-standard lighting (see our previous blog here for more on this).

Just as important as protecting your business itself can be protecting the name and brand of your restaurant. A flickering lamp over the bar area or seating in a dark corner of the room lessens the appeal to diners, and reflects badly on the professionalism of your establishment. Reliable and low maintenance LED lighting do not suffer from these problems, and with increasing developments in control technologies and dimmer switches, the levels of customisation available for LED lighting are becoming increasingly more effective.

Some of the biggest names in the restaurant industry have switched to LED in recent times, the likes of McDonalds, Nandos and Cafe Nero to name but a few. When LED lighting becomes the norm for all restaurants, do you want your restaurant to be the one left behind, and more importantly – can you afford it to be?

Leave us your comments in the box below.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Challenges and issues discussed at NPL's LED Street Lighting Conference

Gemma Lighting were delighted to attend the Best Practice in LED Street Lighting Conference at the National Physical Laboratory earlier this week, engaging in seminars and discussions on one of Gemma’s key product areas.

LED Street Lighting is quickly becoming the best option for many businesses and authorities across the country, and on this day of debates including participation from contractors, designers and manufacturers subjects such as measurement, application and financing were raised between the members present.

National Physical Laboratory logo The NPL hosted the event at its base in Teddington, Middlesex and being home to the Centre for Carbon Measurement the world-leading centre of excellence in developing testing systems was the ideal location to host the day’s proceedings.

Gemma were one of the many LED specialists in attendance with Mike Elwell discussing the challenges of implementing solid-state lighting (SSL) in the first session of the day.

Mr Elwell spoke of the influence of industry bodies such as the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP), which was formed in 1924 and now has more than 1900 members.

As with many considerations regarding local authorities in the current climate, the issue of reducing number of consultants in local councils in order to reduce consultancy fees was highlighted as an issue with regards to implementing new SSL, and Mr Elwell highlighted some common reasons given for not switching to improved lighting solutions such as LED.

These were discussed throughout the day but what all delegates were in agreement of was that these common issues were misunderstood – the cost of installing LED light fittings for example was considered too expensive even though prices are lower than when the technology first became available and funding schemes are there to aid local authorities in reducing costs and cutting carbon emissions via projects such as LED lighting.

Of course being at the NPL there was a heavy focus on testing and measurement also, and Mr Elwell highlighted the need for more stringent testing that would become standard across the industry – something Gemma and the other manufacturers present certainly welcomed, as this means higher quality products manufactured in the UK, such as those made at Gemma’s base in Portsmouth, will stand out from cheaper foreign imports.

We then heard about the relationship between the NPL and their Dutch counterparts VSL who have worked together on metrology and environmental factors affecting SSL performance, and from Huw Convery on a street lighting project in Salford before a LUX-TSI presentation on measurement and data confirmation.

After lunch Teresa Goodman from the NPL looked at the relevance of mesopic photometry in LED street lighting, and went over the means in which it can be calculated, followed by a presentation by Steve Fotios of Sheffield University on his MERLIN project, which stands for mesopically enhanced road lighting: improving night-vision.

A panel discussion with the various speakers from the day saw questions raised about LED performance, warranties and power supply options that saw engaged input from many of the gathered delegates.

Andrew Dennington was next to speak on free-form optics and the design and validation process behind their performance, and Graham Scragg took the final session of the day by presenting street lighting projects in Birmingham and Sheffield.

LED Flood Lighting Spitfire 96
One theme that clearly emerged from the day was the need for LED lighting specification standards to be mandatory in some form – providing customers with the peace of mind that the technology they are purchasing does what it claims to do in the factsheets. There are current guidelines such as the ‘Guide to specification of LED lighting products 2012’ from the Lighting Industry Liaison Group (LILG) but nothing currently in UK law specifically regarding the design of LEDs.

Gemma Lighting tries to reassure its customers in other ways such as the three year warranty that comes as standard with all LED lighting, and the benefit of having the whole operation here in the UK, from the sales team to the factory floor, so customer communications to be handled easily and efficiently.

The high quality standards of Gemma’s products is one of the key benefits for users, as the longevity and reliability can lead to a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours and massively reduce maintenance costs, and with high IP protection rated fittings Gemma’s LED lighting range is durable against adverse weather conditions and vandalism.

Were you at the Best Practice Conference? Why not give us your thoughts on some of the issues using the comments box below.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Energy Bill: How to offset the rising cost of renewable energy with LED lighting

As the fallout from chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement begins today, many in the energy and lighting community are still discussing the details of the Energy Bill announced late last month.

The UK government announced the details of the long-awaited bill aiming to set down the plans and schemes that will help Britain be more reliant on renewable energy sources in the future.

Wind turbine renewable energy
he Bill was met with a mixed response from 
political and environmental commentators alike
Met with a mixed response from political and environmental commentators alike; although the bills motives have been widely applauded, many have cited the lack of a target for a reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 as a large downfall.

And the news that energy companies will be able to charge over £7.5bn extra to household bills by 2020 has not gone down well with many homeowners either.

Plenty has been made already of the profits being recorded by energy suppliers when the average cost of vital services such as electric and gas are on the rise, and the news that suppliers will charge between £75 and £110 extra every year to go towards renewable energy will not sit right with struggling households.

But the need for the UK to become less reliant on fossil fuels and foreign imports of fuel has been widely documented, and the necessity to put plans into motion for the development of technologies such as solar, wind and nuclear energy are vital.

Under the Climate Change Act, signed in 2008, the UK is legally-bound to reduce its carbon emissions by certain amounts at landmark dates. The key point of the 2008 act is that by 2050, Britain’s carbon emissions should be 80% less than they were in 1990, and 34% of this reduction must be achieved by 2020.

LED lighting reduces carbon emissions
The bill does leave room in 2016 for the Committee on Climate
Change to make a recommendation on a decarbonisation target
Many were expecting a similar target to be set for 2030 in last week’s Bill announcement, but none was forthcoming. The bill does leave room in 2016 for the Committee on Climate Change, an independent government advisory body, to make a recommendation on a decarbonisation target - but clearly this is a few steps short of the giant leap many hoped this bill would become in shifting towards greener energy in the UK.

Perhaps reflected by the coverage of the bill and the number of parties who came out in the press to criticise the lack of a decarbonisation target - a vote on the Guardian website initially showed 58% of people would be willing to contribute more towards greener energy the day after the bill was announced - by the time the Guardian had closed the pole, that figure had dropped to just 31%.

Although the goal may be for 30% of electricity by 2020 to be supplied via renewable energy sources, such as solar energy and wind farms, the downside of many greener technologies is the high capital cost, but more and more schemes and funding resources are becoming available for those wishing to reduce their CO2 emissions.

Organisations such as Salix offer the public sector the opportunity to invest in carbon reducing technologies by partly funding the capital expenditure through an interest free loan. Many manufacturers of these same technologies also offer their own financing options, such as Green Lease for LED lighting.

LED Flood Light Spitfire 72
LEDs are becoming more and more prolific with businesses and authorities wishing to reduce costs and lower carbon emissions, and with the payback time of many lighting solutions numbering just a few years, organisations are realising that regardless of what the future holds for renewable energy, savings can be made with LED lighting right here and now in the present.

Replacing traditional light fittings with LED lighting has seen a range of businesses around the world make those savings, and the reduction in carbon emissions can be emphatic. In the case of security and CCTV systems provider Evolution Security for example, switching to LED lighting saw them save 100 tonnes of carbon every year.

Along with the other advantages of LED lighting, such as the savings in maintenance costs, better energy efficiency and lifespan of up to 100,000 hours, LEDs are one of the many green technologies that can see users hit their own targets in carbon reduction in years to come.

Consumer groups such as Which? have voiced concerns about an increase in household bills, with the current average at £1,249 a year according to the government, but what about the cost for businesses who have longer hours of operation?

LED provides these companies with the ideal chance to avoid serious hikes in their energy costs whilst cutting back on the amount of carbon waste they emit, giving them peace of mind in knowing whatever the next step for environmental government policy is, they will be doing all they can to make the world a greener place.

What did you make of the Energy Bill details? Let us know through the comments box below.