LED-ing the way

Our programme to install LED lights across our centres has saved energy and money

In 2011 we set ourselves an ambitious goal - to decrease the CO2 emissions from our directly managed shopping centres by 30 per cent by 2014.

As we own the UK’s largest portfolio of prime shopping centres, we knew this would be a big job, requiring a huge upfront investment, but we also knew the plan would reap benefits for the environment, our business and those of our retailers.

New LED technologies have progressed dramatically in recent years and offered the opportunity to cut electricity consumption by up to 70 per cent as well as reduce maintenance requirements so we took the decision to install energy-efficient lightbulbs across all our centres.

Making a plan

A change as radical as this requires substantial preparation. intu's head of energy and sustainability, Alan Richardson, prepared comprehensive proposals for the LED rollout, with detailed calculations of costs and potential paybacks, using site survey data, including lamp types, technical specifications, quantities and operational time.

The proposals showed that, while LED lighting could cost up to ten times as much as fluorescent equivalents, the ongoing energy cost savings far outweighed the initial cost, as well as delivering additional maintenance cost savings.

The project was split into three phases, so that operational data from phase one could feed into energy and cost saving projections for subsequent phases.

Following an extensive competitive tender process, APL was chosen to supply and install LEDs across 12 intu shopping centres. Over a three-year period, more than 100,000 LEDs have been retrofitted to malls, car parks, corridors, management suites and external areas, including emergency lighting.

What we wanted to achieve

The CO2 reduction target and LED replacement programme aims to reduce our environmental impact and help the long-term sustainability of intu.

With electricity costs rising by up to ten per cent annually, and added costs from the government’s CRC energy efficiency scheme, cutting operational costs and risks related to energy use is a high priority.

The programme for new lighting across our centres would also give us the opportunity to improve customers’ shopping experience through enhanced lighting design, as well as improving lighting management across our business.

The benefits

We made an £8 million capital investment in the LED lighting programme, which was repaid within three years. In addition to what we have saved so far, occupiers saved £2.5 million in annual energy costs, as well as reduced lamp replacement costs.

The energy savings have been just as dramatic - 23 million kWh of energy has been saved in the last three years, cutting CO2 by around 16,000 tonnes each year. It has resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in like-for-like CO2 emissions in 2014 versus 2011 through lamp replacements and other efficiency initiatives – and achieved our CO2 reduction target.

A side benefit has been the improved shopping experience, with light levels enhanced in all LED locations, including car parks, as well as upgraded emergency lighting for customer safety and less maintenance disruption because lamp life expectancy is up to five times longer, particularly important in areas where scaffolding is needed.

Our achievement has been widely recognised. We won the 2degrees 2015 award for Energy and Carbon Management Short-Term Payback, Carbon Trust’s Best in Continuing Carbon Reduction Award 2014, the Mayor’s Energy Challenge Gold Award 2014 and Lux Client of the Year Award 2013.

In 2014 we set ourselves an even tougher target: to cut CO2 intensity by 50 per cent at all centres from 2010 to 2020. 


‘As retailers become more and more focused on providing an engaging experience for customers, the dynamic and exciting lighting in the intu Lakeside food court provides a premium retail experience.’

Graham Rollins
Lighting Design International