Shop lights left on during the lockdown costing millions

Retailers waste energy and money lighting empty stores.

It’s been revealed that three out of ten shops have continuously left their lights on whilst they’ve been shut for the last three months due to the Coronavirus.

Many retailers leave their lights on overnight in shops, but what you might not have noticed is that many shops have been lit up 24/7 as well, a UK waste company says.

UK business waste specialists are appalled to see such a huge waste of energy and poor waste management from high-street retailers, especially as the UN has declared 2020 a pivotal year for climate change.

Company spokesman Mark Hall says, “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.”

Watt’s the problem?

We all know that one of the easiest ways to reduce the electric 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.

Although 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.

Hall: “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.”

This was seen to be the case in Liverpool when the city’s only Zara store shut up shop because of Covid-19 but had 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,” says Hall.

“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!”

The lights are on, but nobody’s home

After finding out that 3 out of ten shops had left the lights on during the entirety of the Covid-19 lockdown, have 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,” says Hall.
“Put stickers on light switches and posters on doors.”

Perhaps this advice would’ve 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.

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