Austep Lighting - Environment

AUSTEP LIGHTING & THE ENVIRONMENT

Sitting gleefully around his campfire, early man reveled in the discovery of fire. Our nights were no longer dark, but filled with mesmerising flame. Our journey with manmade light had begun.

The invention of electric light made us safer at night, and lengthened our days to create more time for learning, innovation, and spending time with loved ones. However it introduced new problems, currently representing up to 20% of global energy usage.

From rising power bills and climate change to resource depletion, we face many challenges. These issues are accepted as fact, but they can be so overwhelming that we simply ignore them.

Yet there is hope; if we put into practise the amazing solutions being developed. Light has always been a symbol of hope, so what better place to start than our lighting.

As to whether it’s possible to tackle such big issues, just imagine telling someone 300yrs ago about electrical light. They would tell you its impossible. Yet here we are.

These problems won’t just go away if we leave them to someone else to figure out though. It’s up too all of us to embrace solutions such as LED lighting and be part of the solution.

Lighting plays a big part in global energy usage, so the power of LEDs to reduce electricity by up to 80% is an incredible opportunity, while the extremely long lifespan of LEDs has the power to disrupt traditional models of planned obsolescence.

Imagine a future where buildings are lit with only a few watts of power, with carbon neutral lights that last decades, are easy to repair, and make your building look great.

The power of light has been instrumental in enabling humanity, but it also affects our moods, creates beauty, and captures our imagination, if done properly. With industry leading expertise and award winning products that surpass benchmarks in areas like CRI (quality of light), warranty, and environmental impact, we take pride in ensuring your project looks the best it can, and you look great to your clients, while playing your part to build a brighter future.

We think long term for our clients, and our planet.

WHAT WE DO

More than just saving money on power and reducing your carbon footprint with low energy lighting, we run a carbon neutral business, and work to reduce landfill through long lasting lights with replaceable parts, plus innovative recycling and buy-back models.

This adds value to your supply chain by giving you confidence that you’re part of building a brighter future, and can tick all the right boxes when it comes to your corporate responsibly.

In terms of our own operations, we maximise energy efficiency in our office (which is powered by 100% renewable energy), we limit and recycle waste (e.g. cardboard packaging instead of foam), minimise the creation of promotion materials, and print our marketing materials on recycled paper with vegetable based inks.

We run a carbon neutral business by limiting our emissions, and monitoring them through carbon accounting software. Emissions that can’t be avoided are offset by accredited organisations who plant native trees for land regeneration, protect old growth forest, and invest in the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. We donate a portion of each sale to gold standard certificated carbon offset projects, including energy efficient cook stoves for Kenyan families.

Having a genuine commitment to sustainability also means we will recommend natural sunlight over LED lights, surface mounted lights over recessed lights (to maintain the integrity of your insulation and ceiling seals), use LEDs with long lifespans and replaceable parts, and design your lighting layout in a way that uses less lights to achieve the same amount of lux.

For more info see our article “Improving the environmental profile of LED lighting”

ENDING PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

By the early 1900’s, lightbulbs had been invented which lasted more than 1,500hrs. However the 60W bulbs you and I grew up with only lasted 1,000hrs. They were literally designed to fail early. “Planned obsolescence” is not a conspiracy theory but a fact; until recently it was a concept taught to product designers at university.

Now that we’re realising the finite nature of our planet, this is starting to change. From long-lasting products with lifetime warranties (e.g. Black Wolf backpacks) to repairable items like re-fillable ink cartridges, we are making progress. The idea is not new either; past generations tried to fix things when they broke, and re-used their glass milk bottles.

Global standards like “cradle to cradle” now exist, and the concept of a “circular economy” is on the rise, where each part of a product can be re-used and put back into the value chain. This makes sense from an accounting perspective, because each product sold becomes part of our capital, rather than being sent to landfill.

With more than 50,000hr lifespan, LED lighting is a disruptive technology that gives us a chance to challenge out-dated ideas of planned obsolescence. But only if done right.

While many companies are intentionally reducing the quality and lifespan of LEDs to reduce upfront cost, other companies are looking at the long term costs and focusing on lights with more than 100,000hr lifespans and modular replaceable parts. Austep Lighting is one of these companies.