Low energy lights could halve TV studio emissions

06 Dec 2010

Low-energy lighting for TV productions has the potential to cut the carbon emissions from television studio lighting by half, according to research produced by Arup and co-funded by the Carbon Trust.

Arup has been working to establish the feasibility of using low-energy lighting for television productions and studios. Some best known television programmes are currently using, or will soon use, low-energy lighting. Many mainstream channels and productions are considering this, or already using low-emissions lighting.

The firm measured the performance of each of the new lighting technologies against a white cyclorama cloth – testing lux levels and colour temperature at various distances.

Having drawn together the findings of the research and event, Arup will produce practical guidelines to be issued to BBC production staff, lighting directors and studio managers. These will focus on the practicalities of creating a low energy lighting system – combining efficient lamps, control and management of production spaces, and design.

Florence Lam, Leader of Arup’s global lighting design team, commented: “This is the first step in increasing the energy efficiency of the lighting of television productions. Essentially this piece of work is about paving the way to change behaviour: raising awareness of low energy lighting technology options among programme makers, but also encouraging manufacturers to consider what programme makers need. Whilst reductions in the energy used will have a beneficial effect on carbon emissions, there are also some significant cost savings to be made, especially on longer lamp life replacement.”

As part of Arup’s research, quantitative lighting surveys were undertaken to review lighting equipment used and production working practices, to develop benchmarks and take account of the views of relevant stakeholders. The Carbon Trust co-funded work on this initiative, and has reviewed and agreed details of the potential carbon savings.

Low-energy lighting demonstration

As part of this work, Arup and the BBC’s Sustainability, Studios and Post Production teams hosted a low-energy lighting demonstration and discussion on Tuesday 16 November. The event allowed 12 international low-energy lighting manufacturers to display their products in a studio.

Over 70 of the BBC’s in-house and external producers, lighting directors, researchers and industry representatives attended – gaining first-hand experience and information about the latest low energy lighting options.