Maintenance Services Electrical - News & Information
LED sensor controlled lighting
Have you ever struggled to turn the lights on because your hands are full of bags or boxes?
Have you forgotten to switch the lights off, leaving them on for hours and wasting electricity?
The answer is sensor controlled lighting. Combined with energy-efficient LEDs it helps to reduce energy waste in home and business settings.
Lights with motion sensors can automatically switch lights on and off, making them a convenient and energy-saving option. They will also extend the life of your fixtures which will only be switched on when they’re needed.
Can lights be retrofitted with a motion sensor?
An external motion detector can be connected to a light that doesn’t already have one as an alternative to a new light fitting with a built-in detector. One option is to replace the existing light switch with a motion detector.
How do motion sensors work?
Generally, two types of technology are used for motion sensors.
Infrared (IR) sensors – these can be used indoors and outdoors. They have two slots that are sensitive to IR but they don’t respond until a warm body passes the area covered by both sensors.
High frequency (HF) sensors – these are mostly used indoors, responding to an echo image to detect movement. Even the smallest movement can trigger the response, so they are rarely used outdoors unless they are combined with smart technology that can tell the difference between human movement and insects, leaves, or rain, for example.
Setting up motion sensors
Some products are easier to adjust than others. For some the motion detectors are fixed in place while others with an external motion sensor can be directed at a specific area.
The easiest way to set them up is to work with someone who can move around in the target area so that the sensor can be accurately positioned.
Other optional settings can include:
time the light stays on
range of the motion detector
sensitivity of the twilight sensor controlling the light level at which it will activate.
Power for motion sensors
While lights and sensors usually have a power connection, there are also battery-powered light options that can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. While these will provide a lower light level than standard fittings, they are useful for night lighting. However, they will need to be accessible so that batteries can be easily replaced when needed. For exterior lights and sensors there are also some solar powered options.
Whether you’re retrofitting existing lights with an external motion detector or installing new lights, the installation should be carried out by a qualified electrician.
Please get in touch if you are interested in installing sensor controlled lighting at your property.
Get ready for summer with garden lighting
We can look forward to warm summer evenings in the garden. With luck, we’ll be able to stay outside well after dark.
Some effective lighting will give a whole new dimension to your peaceful garden moments. Everything can look completely different at night with the right lighting approach, from your decking, trees and planting to ponds, fountains, pergolas, patios, or paths.
However, it’s important to make sure everything is properly installed and checked.
Plenty of bright ideas
Whether you want functional lights for security or something more decorative, there’s plenty to choose from. It’s worth remembering that less is probably more, so you won’t want to floodlight every corner or upset your neighbours. Concealing the source of light will enhance the results.
You can create some interesting effects by ‘painting’ walls with light, with reflections across ponds, or backlighting features to create silhouettes. To avoid dazzle, position your lights at angles and use foliage to diffuse the beams.
By changing the distribution and angles of light you can highlight features that you might not even notice in daylight. A lower wattage with narrow beams can produce very effective light patterns. Don’t forget, there are plenty of colour choices for subtle style and lighting contrasts.
Choose the best possible quality fittings to prevent issues such as corrosion and leaks which could shorten their life and make them a safety risk. It’s also important to think about how quickly your plants will grow so that your lights won’t become overgrown.
Some larger fittings can create a lot of heat if they are used for a long time, so they should be positioned to avoid singed plants, accidental contact, and to protect children and pets.
Electrical safety outdoors
In England electrical Choose the best possible quality fittings to prevent issues such as corrosion and leaks which could shorten their life and make them a safety risk. It’s also important to think about how quickly your plants will grow so that your lights won’t become overgrown.
Some larger fittings can create a lot of heat if they are used for a long time, so they should be positioned to avoid singed plants, accidental contact, and to protect children and pets.
work in gardens is no longer covered by Part P of the building regulations, so you don’t have to notify your local building control department.
However, because you are exposing electrical installations to the weather, extra care must be taken. Make sure your cabling is secure and protected from wildlife damage and is safe if you’re digging or mowing.
All outdoor electrical equipment, including lights, must be designed for use outside and be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You should regularly check for signs of damage and, while there aren’t any rules about inspection and testing of your garden lighting, it would be a good idea to have a professional check at least every 10 years.
Please get in touch if you’re planning new lighting to make the most of your garden space this summer.
Net zero emissions for the lighting industry
We have recently completed several large-scale commercial installations of low-energy LED lighting. They provide excellent light levels for a fraction of the cost of traditional installations and they are long-lasting. However, they will eventually need to be replaced, raising the question of what to do with the old units.
All types of manufacturing businesses are turning their attention to a circular economy that will support net zero targets for carbon emissions. The lighting industry has a part to play in helping the country reach these targets.
For lighting manufacturers this will become more important as demand for resources rises, and energy costs increase. Government targets will also make a net zero approach a requirement of doing business.
Net zero carbon by 2030
Recolight is a leader in the UK’s lighting compliance scheme for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It has set a target to be net zero for carbon by 2030.
The aim is to limit the environmental impact of lighting waste. While LED recycling is an important part of this process, there is still a carbon ‘cost’. For example, when aluminium is recycled the need to use energy-intensive processes to extract new metal from bauxite is reduced. However, collection and transport of the materials still uses valuable resources.
Recolight has said that this will be a consideration when its transport and treatment services are retendered at the end of this year. A quarter of the evaluation points will be based on the plans and actions potential contractors have for achieving net zero targets.
Recolight says it will make up to £50,000 available, on a competitive basis, to help companies establish zero carbon or low carbon collection or recycling of waste lamps.
Please get in touch if you would like some advice about energy efficient LED lighting for your commercial property.
Smart home standards
Not long ago speaking to your home appliances would have been seen as eccentric.
Now smart appliances that can be controlled by your voice activated home assistants or via an app on your smartphone have become an important part of the strategy to help the UK achieve its net zero carbon target.
Innovations in the design and manufacturing of smart appliances and controls are accelerating. The UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure technologies and systems, BEAMA, is now supporting two new standards.
Flexible energy services
These standards will provide a foundation for integration of ESAs and flexible energy services.
Compatibility with international standards will help to make the UK a leader in this area and will support our competitiveness. Further supporting policies and regulations are expected to follow.
An appliance classified as an ESA should now meet the requirements of these standards, but at present they are voluntary. The Department for Business Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS) might later introduce certification requirements.
The framework provided by the new standards will help service operators and appliance manufacturers develop systems that work consistently in the background of our homes without human intervention. At the same time, they will protect data and provide security.
They will be important for the integration of heat pumps and electric vehicle charge points in buildings and energy networks. They will help to make the most of smart metering and opportunities to manage energy use.
Logistics company reducing its carbon footprint
This large-scale lighting project in West Yorkshire has taken our clients to a new level of lighting in their warehouse.
It was good to work with a company that is planning ahead and is happy to make the investment needed to be more energy efficient and kinder to the environment.
In this case their old system of lamps and tubes has been replaced with modern alternatives that they can now control to meet their needs. It was a real joint effort to design and plan this simple but effective solution with our clients and the team at Midshires Electrical & Lighting. Their installation will pay for itself in the first 12 months and will save over 400 tonnes of CO².
Sustainability and logistics
Large businesses and their supply chains need to show that their operations are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Many do this regularly in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, explaining what they have done over the last year to meet these expectations.
However, the expectations are increasing and directors must look closely at all aspects of their supply chain. Some will only buy from suppliers who meet their environmental standards. Their customers also want to know that they consider sustainability when they source their products.
The MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics says that energy efficiency is a way to meet expectations and make good business choices as well. It can cover everything from efficient electric vehicles to lighting.
Since energy is often the largest cost for many businesses reducing energy use will save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.
Some logistics companies are planning smart networks that include vehicles that use advanced energy efficient technology and facilities powered by sustainable energy sources.
For more information about energy saving options for your distribution centre please get in touch.
Electrical updates for your commercial properties
As a commercial landlord the electricity supply in your property must be safe, reliable, properly tested, and well maintained.
With the rise in home working and flexible hours many businesses are reviewing their need for office space. Commercial landlords that provide high-quality business settings will attract tenants and optimise rental income.
Priorities for your commercial property
You will want to make sure that each property you own has a safe, reliable electricity supply and fully functioning appliances.
Commercial properties must also have adequate safety measures in place to detect and alert tenants if there’s a fire. Smoke alarms might be needed in every room or on every storey of the property.
Before a new tenant moves in you will need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). A registered electrician should complete the inspection and, even where there are existing tenants, your property should be inspected at least every five years.
Energy Performance Certificates
Most commercial properties must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that should be displayed in the building if:
the total useful floor area is over 500 square metres
the building is frequently visited by the public
an EPC has already been produced for the building’s sale, rental, or construction.
An EPC will normally be valid for up to 10 years. A prospective tenant should be given a copy of the EPC and if you don’t provide one you can be fined up to £5,000, based on the rateable value of the building.
For new tenants or lease renewals the property must have an EPC rating of ‘E’ or above. If your property has a rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’, you will need to improve its energy efficiency.
From April 2023 every commercial lease, including those already in place, must meet this standard. As part of the government’s promise to achieve an 80% reduction in CO² emissions by 2050 all commercial rental properties will probably need a ‘D’ rating or above by 2025, and a ‘C’ rating or above by 2030.
If your tenants are responsible for paying their energy bills, they can choose to install a new business energy meter. However, if you’re re-charging multiple tenants in one building, you might want to install a sub-meter system to monitor each tenant’s use.
Contact us to arrange an electrical inspection and condition report for your commercial property or for advice about how to improve your energy efficiency.
Electrical inspections for landlords 31/03/21
From 1 April all privately rented residential properties must have an electrical inspection every five years, not just new tenancies.
It’s not surprising we have been so busy completing electrical inspection condition reports for many landlords over the last few months.
If you are a landlord or agent and still have properties to check, please get in touch.
Under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) regulations electrical inspection and testing must be carried out at least every five years. The rules apply to all privately rented properties, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Private landlords are responsible for making sure these tests are completed and they must give a copy of the report to each tenant within 28 days and keep a copy themselves.
Every fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested by a qualified professional.
If the local housing authority asks for a copy of the report it must be provided within seven days.
Any new tenant can ask for a copy of the last report before moving in.
If a prospective tenant asks for a copy, it must be provided within 28 days.
Local housing authorities will enforce the rules and will have powers to take action, including making repairs themselves. Each breach of the Regulations could lead to a penalty of up to £30,000.
Contact us to arrange an electrical inspection and condition report for your privately rented property.
A great job in a big warehouse
Keeping everyone safe while we complete a large installation is a top priority for MSE.
When we complete this type of project we must take in to account the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Electricity at work
The DECC enforces the regulations about electricity safety, quality and continuity while the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces safety.
For some workplaces like offices, shops, hotels, and many warehouses, the Local Authority will enforce the electrical safety regulations, along with the HSE.
All the electrical systems must be properly designed, and wiring must meet strict requirements. Lighting is especially important in warehouses to minimise the risks for everyone working in a busy environment, and also to make sure that energy is saved wherever possible. Lighting installations often involve working at height, so this must be taken into account too.
Inspection and testing are also essential to make sure everyone is working safely with equipment such as conveyor belts, overhead hoists and material handling equipment, for example. It’s also important to make sure that all aspects of emergency lighting are working properly so that everyone can safely evacuate the building if needed.
Please get in touch if you would like more information about lighting, electrical installations, inspection and testing for your warehouse.
Green energy online portal
UK Power Networks has launched an online portal for installers. It’s designed to make it quicker and easier to connect low carbon technologies for homes and businesses.
Fast decisions on green energy options
Technology companies can receive an immediate decision on whether they can connect domestic electric vehicle charge points, heat pumps, battery storage or solar photovoltaic (PV) cells with the local electricity network. It can be used instead of multiple paper forms to streamline the process.
Why create a portal?
The portal has been developed with partner, Octopus Electric Vehicles, following criticism of the process for domestic vehicle-to-grid projects, which was said to be confusing and time-consuming.
By 2030 it is predicted that there will be up to 700,000 electric heat pumps and 4.5million electric vehicles connected to UK Power Networks in London, the East and South East. To meet customers’ needs as volumes increase, a new approach was needed.
The service will help to make sure that the right electricity supply is available for specialist installers of low carbon technologies and domestic customers.
How the portal works
Customers will be automatically referred if their electricity supply needs to be upgraded to manage additional power requirements and installers will be able to keep track of multiple applications.
A range of experts have worked on the project to create a responsive solution for anyone who wants to make use of low carbon technology in their home or business.
The documentation required from customers has been simplified and the progress of their application will be much easier to monitor.
Please get in touch if you would like some advice about installing a low-carbon energy solution for your home or business.
The electrical world is full of letters and terms – here we explain some of them.
If the term you’re looking for isn’t here, please get in touch and we will be happy to tell you about it and add a simple explanation to our list.
AC - an abbreviation for alternating current. Electricity is all about electrons travelling through a conductor (like copper). When electrons alternately move in different directions it is an alternating current. AC current us used for homes and businesses.
DC – an abbreviation for direct current where the electrons are all moving in the same direction. DC current is used to charge batteries, for electronic systems, some industrial processes and high voltage power transmission.
Amp – the unit for measuring electrical current.
BS7671 – the UK national safety standard for electrical installations, also known as the wiring regulations.
Circuit – electricity needs to flow continuously, without any breaks, and this is called a circuit.
Consumer unit – used to control electricity. The unit will often include a main switch, fuses, circuit breakers or residual current devices (RCDs).
Current – the more electrons travelling through the conductor, the more power they deliver. Large electrical currents are dangerous.
Earth – the earth wire will direct the electricity straight into the ground rather than passing through you. Earth wires are usually marked with yellow and green striped plastic covers.
Fuse – a key part at the beginning of an electrical circuit to prevent too much electricity from passing through wiring. Often a circuit breaker will cut power when something is overloaded to prevent the cable and equipment overheating and becoming a fire hazard.
Insulation – a coating, usually plastic, around conducting materials.
IP rating – categorisation of safe lighting. For example, high IP ratings are for bathrooms or outside and lower IP ratings are for indoor lighting.
Joule – the unit for measuring electrical energy.
Live – a wire carrying electricity, commonly coated in brown plastic (note - older systems might include live wires covered with red plastic). You can receive an electrical shock from live wires.
Neutral – a neutral wire completes an electrical circuit and allows electrons to flow. Neutral wires are usually covered in blue plastic (note - older systems might use a black plastic covering).
Part P – a section of the Building Regulations for England and Wales about electrical installations in domestic properties.
Transformer – used to change voltage, to dim lighting for example.
Voltage – the unit for measuring the force of electricity moving through wires. High voltage locations are often marked as dangerous.
Watt – a unit to measure electrical power.