23.04.24 Business

Climate Action Programme Case Study: 299 Lighting

299 Lighting are a commercial lighting supplier based in Bristol. In this case study, James Pomphrey, Founder and Managing Director and Elman Lewis, Project Director at 299 Lighting share their experience and top tips for going about a sustainable refurbishment project.

We purchased the 7,000 square foot 1930’s building, originally used as a bakery, in December 2020 and were excited to make it a space more in line with our brand and company values. We started the strip out project ourselves before appointing other Bristol based businesses to help us to transform the tired building into something we could call our home.

As a commercial lighting company, we work in the built environment and so talk with people about energy efficiency and lighting all the time. We knew we wanted to showcase our expertise and refurbish the building to make it as green as we could.

The nitty gritty

We went right back to the core of the building and installed a new insulated roof, replaced all windows with new double glazing and replaced the old gas heating with a state-of-the-art heat recovery ventilation system.

This was also a great opportunity to install solar panels. The West of England Combined Authority awarded us a Green Business Grant which supported the cost of 30kw of Solar PV. To go alongside the solar panels, we installed a small 15kw battery. In the summer we are powered entirely by solar, and even on gloomy days we produce over 70% of what we consume.

We also installed two electric car chargers to enable the transition to electric car fleet. The cars are being charged using solar energy.

As lighting experts, our lighting was always going to be important for us. Our lighting system is equipped with a smart building control system with automation. It is all zoned out for the different spaces and is very efficient.

When selecting the products and finishes of the office, we looked at the comfort and wellbeing of our team first. At the same time, the materials had to be sustainable. We fitted out the finished space with low carbon furniture from the Somerset based Modus (using reclaimed wool products), acoustic Forbo linoleum floor made from linseeds and painted the entire space in eco-friendly paint.

As a Bristol based business, it has been crucial to us to support the local community. During the refit, we used local businesses and contractors where possible, including Bristol Wood Recycling Project and Knowle West Media Centre who support young people into employment by offering them training.

Next steps

We understand that construction industry is responsible for a huge amount of waste. To support the circular economy, we’ve recently launched the relumen8 service commercial lighting retrofit service. This is a perfect solution for spaces where lighting retrofit is the only way of upgrading the existing lighting system. It is aimed at meanwhile spaces or properties with limited budget.

As a lighting company, entering the world of commercial property has been a steep learning curve. We are looking at how we can use what we’ve learnt on our journey by sharing these learnings with others and further supporting the community.

Top tips

  • Be open to learning. There is a steep learning curve and risks involved with retrofitting.
  • Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Hire a good team of designers, consultants, and contractors working with you. We began by doing too much ourselves and soon realised that wasn’t sustainable.
  • Be aware of compliance. Try to learn about this in advance. Compliance and Health and Safety are the key to being a responsible building owner.
  • Things don’t always go to plan. You need to learn to adapt and evolve.
  • Change can be a good thing. It makes you realise the way you started out isn’t necessarily the right way and you can find yourself to the right way if you are open minded.

To learn more about 299 Lighting’s building retrofit, visit their website.

 Through our Climate Action Programme collaboration with the Redcliffe & Temple Business Improvement District, we’re keen to showcase climate progress in this area of the city and create more opportunities for businesses to learn from one another.

If you have an initiative or project we can shout about, please do get in touch with bex@bristolclimatenature.org.


Find out more about the Climate Action Programme

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