May 12 23

Kiwi Self Storage Transitions to LED lighting to meet Sustainability Goals

Kiwi Self Storage is meeting its goals for sustainability as a Toitū Carbonzero certified self storage organisation. Part of the process of certification involved an audit of all the areas of the business and their contribution to the organisation’s carbon foot print.

By far the highest contributor to our carbon footprint in tonnes of CO2 equivalent was Electricity.

Kiwi self storage CO2 emissions by type

Our storage units in themselves are very efficient to run in terms of energy use as they do not have permanent power provided to them. Aside from efficiency, no power means safe storage. The main places where electricity is used at each facility is: power to run the office, on-site manager apartment, building systems and electricity for lighting.

Of these, lighting is the largest contributor to electricity use at each site. We have already implemented changes to our lighting as part of our commitment to Toitū Carbonzero.

The lighting in the storage facilities is controlled using motion sensors and only stays on while staff or customers are present in one of the locations in the storage unit areas. The other external lighting is used to ensure that the storage facility remains safe to access at night and is secure.

Since we are already using lighting sparingly and only for essential purposes any solution must involve making the lighting in use more efficient. For this reason, as part of our regular maintenance schedule, we will be replacing currently installed lighting with suitable replacement LED lighting solutions as it reaches the end of its life or replacements are available.

Doing this as the existing lighting wears out avoids a sudden spike in discarded lighting going to landfill, another item tracked in the Toitū Carbonzero audit. It also means that some lighting which does not yet have a suitable LED replacement available, will have by the time it is due to be replaced.

Depending on the application, LED lighting is expected to reduce our lighting related electricity use by up to 80%. This is a no brainer as it also reduces our storage facility lighting related electricity costs by the same amount. We anticipate the transition will take place over the next two to three years.

A reduction in electricity use will also remove the need for us to purchase offsetting credits for this portion of our energy use as we simply won’t be using it.

What is it that makes LED lighting a good choice?

Older lighting technologies work by heating a wire filament so that it glows white hot or exciting a gas or vapour so that it emits light. In both cases most of the energy is generated in the form of heat with only 15-20% being emitted as light.

comparison of light types

Although newer technologies such as cold cathode fluorescent lighting (CFL) are more efficient than incandescent bulbs they still emit some heat. This heat over time will reduce the life of the bulb. Many of these bulbs contain mercury which is highly toxic and needs to be recycled properly to be safe. Incandescent light bulbs end up costing more due to their lower lifespan.

LED vs Regular Lightbulbs

LED fixtures have an environmental advantage in that they contain no mercury, last longer and produce less waste, plus they can be made from fully recyclable materials.

LEDs are electronic devices that contain a semiconductor junction. They have two terminals, an anode and a cathode. Electricity will flow in one direction through the LED. The flow of electrons across the junction produces photons. Although a small amount of heat is released, far more of the power used produces light. This means LEDs use only around 20% of the power of earlier lighting types, they also last much longer due to less heat.

how leds work

A 23-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 110W incandescent bulb. LEDs are available in a wider range of colour hues enabling better lighting for the activities they are illuminating.

We can replace all of our conventional Incandescent and CFL lighting at our Auckland Storage and Wellington storage facilities as soon as the old bulb wears out.

Industrial LED Options

Lighting widely used inside larger industrial buildings and offices was traditionally fluorescent tube. This is similar to CFL bulbs, but the older electronics driving these were sometimes inefficient. Also until recently replacement with LED lighting required replacing the fittings, thus increasing landfill.

Our storage facilities utilise industrial lighting around the storage units and so we need to be able to obtain the correct type of fittings to enable the upgrade. Manufacturers now provide a large range of LED tubes which can be fitted directly into older fittings replacing older tubes.

Philips LED Tubes

If you have a suitable type of ballast, no electrician is required to replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes. You can simply replace the starters with provided LED starters and then replace the tubes. However, if you have fluorescent tube lights with electronic ballasts, you will need an electrician to bypass the ballasts. This is very simple and inexpensive.

Kiwi self storage storage facility interior lighting

While there are still some specialist industrial applications for older lighting types, there are a wide range of flood and security lighting options available we will be able to use when the time comes.

Outdoor Lighting

Suppliers can provide recommendations for lighting to ensure they meet your requirements and comply with New Zealand Standards. For example, downlights for interior use must comply with AS/NZS standards 60598.2.2.

Choosing the right downlights
Downlights the ultimate guide

Future Projects

As well as more efficient lighting, Kiwi Self Storage is installing solar panels over the next few years to provide for its electricity needs, further reducing our reliance on energy from the grid. One of our facilities in Wellington, Kiwi Self Storage Newlands, has already made this transition during its expansion, with more sites to follow.

You can read more about this initiative here in a later blog, once the installation is complete.

If you are looking for storage units consider ours which are energy efficient, conveniently located and have an audited and verified carbon zero rating.

Other Reading

Philips Interactive Brochure
LED lighting benefits in self storage facilities

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