Store lights left on during lockdown costing owners millions

·2 min read
Three in 10 shops have left their lights on since shutting down under lockdownmeasures. (Alex Iby/Unsplash)
Three in 10 shops left lights on since lockdown closures. Photo: Alex Iby/Unsplash

Shop lights accidentally left on during lockdown are costing owners millions, research suggests.

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.

But research by business waste specialists BusinessWaste found three in 10 UK shops have continuously left their lights on whilst they’ve been shut for the last three months due to the coronavirus.

Although it’s not uncommon for many retailers to leave some form of lighting on overnight, often to deter vandalism or theft, these are often dimmed and on a timer system to reduce energy being wasted.

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“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,” said BusinessWaste spokesperson Mark Hall.

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.

And despite it being closed to customers for two years, the lights in a Co-op and Budgens store remain on 24 hours a day.

With the average 60 watt light bulb costing £78.36 ($96) a year to run if left on for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and most shops having multiple lights, it is likely costing the UK retail sector millions, BusinessWaste said.

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“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 — put stickers on light switches and posters on doors,” said Hall.

The company suggested commercial businesses should set an energy strategy to prepare for unexpected long periods of time when their premises might be empty.

These energy strategies only use the bare minimum amount of energy required to keep the building running efficiently, such as keeping chillers or freezers on in shops, 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 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.

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