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p2 Pollution Prevention

Light fittings & retrofit

BY John Herbert

Fluorescent fittings are the predominate choice for lighting in commercial buildings, an excellent energy efficient light source for the built environment. The majority operate up to 20,000 hours, with at high efficiency (high lumens per watt) and provide acceptable colour rendering.

lighting, energy, mercury, lamp pollution, p2, Kelcroft

What is often overlooked is each lamp contains small quantity of a pollutant, namely mercury (Hg). A small quantity of Mercury is required in discharge type lamps, however not all lamps are created equal some have higher quantities than others.

replacing expensive and inefficient lighting, you will save money on your energy bills and help save the environment too


Furthermore, consider the total numbers of lamps discarded every year the overall quantity of mercury discarded is significant, and improperly handled has the potential to contaminate landfill, and our ground water sources.

Mercury Pollution

Since incandescent (GLS) lamps don't require mercury (Hg) for operation you might be forgiven for thinking that they must be safer.

One global manufacturer of incandescent lamps, are you sitting down, creates approx. 2.4 billion incandescent lamps every year (2005 data).

However that is not the case, look at the whole system incandescent lamps actually create the highest quality of environmental mercury per lamp.

Studies clearly show that the benefits of florescent lamps also lowers mercury pollution by virtue of reduced power station mercury emissions.


Right, so fluorescent lamps are a better choice. How can we reducing or minimising environmental pollution from florescent lamps?

That requires a little extra effort, but not necessarily higher capital cost. Energy efficient lamps with low mercury can actually be cheaper, actually saving you CAPex and OPex. However, you need someone to do the leg work, tracking down the mercury content of thousands of possible combinations of different lamps on the market takes a little more time and effort at the design stage.

All the major lamp manufacturers nowadays offer a low mercury (so called eco-friendly) lamp, some are branded with a green end cap. However, green or otherwise each still contains a small quantity of mercury, and demands careful handling and disposal.

Pollution Prevention

You might be wondering, why bother fluorescent lamps are efficient aren't they? Experience demonstrates that after contamination, removing pollutants from the environment is very expensive. Consider the costs for cleaning contaminated waste water or land after a spillage, its tough to execute and expensive.

A p2 strategy simply eliminates pollutants before they enter the environment, it smarter and lower cost.

Re-engineering a process, or smart procurement of low mercury lamps reduce the environmental impact of doing business, lower your environmental impact, and save money.

Related Information


Further Information

Replacing inefficient lighting will save money on your energy bills and reduce environmental impact.

For further information contact the energy experts, call Mr John Herbert, at our Hong Kong office - telephone (852) 2335 9830, fax +(852) 2335 9862, or email Kelcroft today!

keywords: energy efficiency, lighting, LIGHTING AUDIT, lamps, mercury pollution, p2e2, ESCO