New innovations and changing trends mean commercial lighting is constantly evolving. With the new year now well underway, we look at what 2022 potentially has in store for the lighting of the UK’s commercial spaces.
All change at the supermarket
Amazon’s decision to open checkout-less grocery stores in the UK has led to a flurry of activity from the leading supermarkets who are all now trialling the concept themselves. Over the next few years, this is going to become the new face of grocery shopping. How is this relevant for in-store lighting? The simple answer is that to charge people correctly for what they pick off the shelves, checkout-free stores rely on CCTV and better lighting is needed to ensure accuracy.
This need will result in a dramatic change in how supermarkets are lit, with traditional fluorescent luminaires disappearing from the rafters. As a result, instead of purely functional ceiling lighting, as has been the norm for generations, the emphasis will be on lighting the products on the shelves, with module aisle luminaries set to be the next big trend. And with the big lights being turned down on the ceiling, we’ll also see the addition of accent lighting that will give these traditionally soulless environments a more inviting feel. This will also reduce glare, making it easier for cameras to capture what people have put in their baskets.
The result for supermarkets will be perfectly illuminated shelving, with flexible lights that can be adjusted and aimed for both cameras and mood. Additionally, by using smaller, well-placed bulbs, energy costs can also be reduced.
Contrasting light with dark
Ceiling lighting could be turned off completely during store opening hours as the trend for contrasting light and dark becomes more fashionable in upmarket retail outlets. Just as the stars shine brighter when there is no light pollution from the surrounding environment, retail designers are eradicating ceiling light pollution to make the items on display sparkle for customers. Again, it’s the combination of accent and aisle lighting that creates the magic, with energy-saving LEDs creatively used for their ability to change colour, colour temperature and brightness to make products and displays catch the consumers’ attention.
As more people return to the office following the end of pandemic restrictions, 2022 is likely to see growing numbers of businesses incorporating natural daylight into their lighting design and using LED bulbs that imitate natural daylight, even changing brightness and colour temperature to match the time of day.
There are several reasons why this form of lighting has become popular in commercial spaces. Research has shown that 84% of employees working in offices with natural daylight or daylight bulbs saw a reduction in headaches, eye strain and blurred eyesight. It can even regulate the hormones that help people sleep better, improving their quality of life and helping them to work more productively.
With government net-zero targets to meet and with increasing demand from green consumers, businesses across the UK have little option but to become more sustainable. With lighting accounting for 10% of the average business’ energy use, more firms will make the decision to adopt energy-efficient LEDs in 2022 as a way to reduce their carbon emissions. With their ability to convert more energy to light than any other form of bulb, LEDs can cut CO2 emissions caused by lighting by a staggering 80% – and cut lighting bills by the same amount.
With energy prices rising substantially and this set to continue over 2022, the biggest beneficiaries of LED lighting are set to be warehouses, where lighting can account for up to 95% of all energy use. With growing online sales driving up UK warehousing space by 3.4 million square metres just last year, the use of LEDs will drastically cut both costs and carbon footprints within the rapidly expanding sector.
Smart LED Controls
As companies become increasingly digital, 2022 is likely to see increased adoption of smart LED lighting controls. Not only do these intelligent systems increase lighting efficiency through the use of natural daylight and occupancy sensors; they also give businesses greater control and flexibility over their lighting. Enabling lighting to be controlled centrally, businesses can create different lighting zones for different areas and program these to change for different circumstances. Essentially, this can help transform spaces for different uses at the push of a button. Smart emergency lighting systems, meanwhile, have in-built self-testing features that reduce the burden on maintenance staff and notify them immediately when an issue arises.
The need for sustainability, energy efficiency and to remain competitive in the digital age are changing the way lighting is used in the commercial sector. 2022 promises to be an exciting year for lighting that could see commercial interiors transformed both in the way lighting is designed and the technology used to control and illuminate interiors. Quest Electrical is a NICEIC-approved electrical contractor. For more information about our nationwide commercial lighting services, visit our Commercial Lighting page.