20 minutes with Ian McKenna, eLight


Irish Farmers Journal | 26.04.2018

Lorcan Allen speaks to Ian McKenna, managing director of eLight, about the cost savings of switching to LED light fittings.


Ian McKenna

How does Ireland compare to other countries for LED conversions?

In Europe, businesses have made the move to LED much, much quicker. However, we’ve completed almost 500 projects to date in Ireland, installing over 250,000 individual LED fittings.

Why are Irish businesses slow adopters of LED?

Irish businesses have been slow adopters because capital spend has not been a priority for businesses.

The last decade has been tough for companies and when they gather some capital together they are reluctant to spend it, particularly when they look and see their existing lights are working.

But we’ve found when we make the up-front capital investment on behalf of clients it totally changes the perception about switching to LED.

What does eLight do?

eLight is a new concept. Our aim is to change the way companies and businesses view their energy and lighting use. We will retrofit the lighting fittings in a business to LED lighting, which generates significant savings for companies.

What are the savings from converting to LED lighting?

We recently completed a retrofit of a warehouse that had 100 fittings. The annual cost of running those fittings was €12,100. With the completed retrofit, the energy costs for that business fell to €4,400. So there’s an annual saving of €7,700 for that company. Typically the energy savings from a switch to LED lighting will be 60%, and up to 80% in some cases.

How much does an LED retrofit typically cost?

In that previous example, the company paid us €5,500/year over an agreed period for the retrofit. But because of the energy savings the company is still up €2,500 in cash terms. Basically the energy savings are literally paying for the retrofit.

Does a business have to make an upfront payment for a retrofit?

No, eLight makes the upfront investment for the LED fittings. The first payment a company will make to us is a month after the retrofit is completed and the savings have already started.

Are there carbon savings from switching to LED?

Based on the kilowatt savings, we can calculate the reduction in carbon emissions from a retrofit for every client. For example, a building we retrofitted last year had annual lighting costs of €60,000. The retrofit reduced this to €25,000 per year but also reduced the carbon emissions of the building by more than 160t.

How long does a retrofit take?

The retrofit is a very non-intrusive process. For a food processing, manufacturing or warehousing business, we would probably be in and out of a fairly decent-size project in three to four days. We have the ability to scale up our teams to meet the size of the retrofit.