Bank Santander Contracts GE Lighting To Install 90,000 LEDs For UK Premises

The banking giant Santander is halving its bills with LED lighting. And it isn’t the LEDs themselves that made the lighting choice so clever – it’s how they’re managed and paid for.

Santander has called on GE Lighting to install 90,000 new lights across all the bank’s branches and office buildings in the UK. Santander’s 10 year contract also includes optimised system design, installation, maintenance and management. It means that Santander can make the most of its new greener technology and save 7,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

“The lighting industry has changed dramatically in the last few years,“ says Dan Vinton, CFO GE Lighting EMEA at GE Lighting. “We’re moving away from supplying products as a simple disposable commodity, to providing real value to customers. Now, we’re energy efficiency partners so there’s a difference to what used to be on offer. The old models of the lighting industry are no longer fit for purpose in this new market and this project represents a glimpse into the new world.”

The financing option Santander chose could transform how businesses approach sustainability in the future. The bank used a £17.5 million investment by the UK Green Investment Bank and Sustainable Development Capital. It’s the biggest LED-financing package the UK has ever seen.

The financing partners enabled Santander to buy the lighting as a service. That means Santander doesn’t own the lighting; instead, it pays for GE to upkeep it. There’s less risk for Santander and it opens the door for upgrades to take place during the contract. As the technology develops, everything from embedded WiFi, data gathering technology and smart software upgrades can all be incorporated along the way. Santander can enjoy the reduced operating costs and improved energy efficiency without an initial investment.

This new means of lighting procurement comes at a vital time, particularly in the UK. New regulations due to come into force in April will urge inefficient commercial properties to improve. The minimum energy efficiency standards says that those who lease buildings with a rating of E or below will have to become greener. Landlords of properties that score F or G on their energy performance certificates will be looking at lighting at a primary way of reducing their environmental impact.

Santander had a goal of its own to reach. The company set out to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2015. Its 20-20-15 strategy started three years ago and the new lighting featured heavily in lowering carbon emissions.

Nick Roberts, Property Director, at Santander, says, “LED lighting has become an integral part of our Energy Efficiency Plan and plays a key role in achieving our overall sustainability goals. Through this lighting upgrade we have taken a huge step forward in executing our long-term efficiency objectives, with GE providing the support, scale and suitable products that we needed.”

The flexible finance solution Santander used for its lighting upgrade could pave the way for others to follow suit. Research GE carried out with the Carbon Trust in the public sector shows the need. Some 64% of execs name finance as a barrier to rolling out smart technologies. If finance can take away that concern, it will open the door to greener business.

“We’re privileged to have been able to walk this learning journey together with our partners and proud of what we have accomplished here. We are now focused on scaling this offering more broadly and allowing more customers to benefit from this type of smart value creation,” says Vinton.

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22 Jan