Green scheme for Gateshead

Office lighting at Gateshead’s Civic Centre is turning green – thanks to a major programme to replace and recycle its existing office lighting units.
Thanks to the replacement programme, Gateshead Council has become the first local authority in the UK to recycle its redundant lighting equipment since the introduction this summer of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive).

Gateshead Council began its lighting replacement programme this summer with the aim of swapping more than 4,000 office lighting units with more modern, and more energy–efficient, units as part of the Council’s energy saving strategy.

The existing lighting, which dates from when the Civic Centre was built in the 1980’s, uses groups of four 40W fluorescent U-tubes, but these are relatively inefficient by modern standards and are becoming difficult and expensive to source. They are now being replaced with custom-designed units using four 14W T5 daylight tubes which provide better illumination which mimics natural daylight.

Around 250 lighting units have so far been replaced, but instead of the old ones being sent to landfill, they have been put straight into a special skip provided free-of-charge by Lumicom, who operate a lighting fittings recycling scheme on behalf of the lighting trade.

Peter Udall, Head of Design for Gateshead Council, says: “The original lighting units were supplied by Thorn more than 20 years ago, but both their light output and their energy consumption now fall far below that of modern units, and they are becoming expensive to maintain.

“Gateshead Council’s own waste strategy puts great importance on recycling – it is something we are totally committed to. So we are delighted to be able to set a lead in recycling our old electrical equipment in this way.

“Collection and recycling of the redundant light fittings was a simple matter of registering on the Lumicom website and, within a few days, a free collection skip was delivered to Gateshead Civic Centre. This is now being filled with the redundant lighting units which are destined for separation into the correct recycling channels by Lumicom’s appointed recycler.”

The new lighting units have again been supplied by Thorn, who worked closely with Gateshead Council to design a purpose-made unit which is a perfect fit with the Civic Centre’s ceiling panels, allowing replacements to be fitted quickly and with minimum disruption to employees.

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