Eton College

Eton College LED lighting upgrade reduces energy use by over 61%

Carbon footprint shrinks by nearly 62% with payback through lower bills in under five years at historic independent school

The Client

One of the world’s most respected independent schools, Eton College, has reduced energy costs by more than 61% with a full lighting upgrade in three of its houses.

The Brief

Eton College, founded in 1440 by Henry VI, commissioned energy saving specialists SaveMoneyCutCarbon to survey and complete the LED lighting retrofit in Common House Lane, Timbralls and Villiers House buildings.

Eton College wanted to ensure it met three main objectives with the lighting project:

  • Better light quality – some areas had aged fixtures
  • Energy efficiency –annual savings on lighting bills
  • Sustainability – carbon emissions reduction

The Solution

The SaveMoneyCutCarbon Consultative Sales team replaced more than 770 lamps and fixtures including panels, tubes, downlights and lamps in the three buildings, including corridors, communal areas and stairwells, where luminaires with a microwave sensor and dimming function were installed where possible.

The installation team, all fully DBS checked, also overcame the challenge of fitting tubes into some of the bespoke luminaires, ensuring that specialist plastic panels were cut to size as part of the retrofit solution, replacing prismatic panels that were aged and discoloured.

SaveMoneyCutCarbon managed the entire retrofit from survey to specification, installation, testing and monitoring.

Better quality LEDs provide an excellent light that is very reliable and they have a long service life of up to 50,000 hours. This also means that maintenance required is substantially less, further reducing costs.

In contrast, incandescent light bulbs typically last around 1,000 hours and fluorescents have a useful life of roughly 5,000 hours before the light degrades.

The LED lighting is fully supported with a no-quibble, five-year manufacturers’ warranty.

One main challenge to overcome was the need to complete the works during the school holiday period, which gave a narrow opening to carry out the retrofit and increased pressure on the installation team.

Savings of over

£9,500 a year

with LED lighting


  • The LED retrofit will reduce lighting bills by more than 61%
  • Savings will be more than £9,500 a year
  • Carbon footprint will be cut by nearly 62%
  • Return on investment in 4.67 years (based on 30-week per year usage)

“Eton College wanted to ensure that it upgraded the lighting in the three houses while gaining other benefits as well. There is always a need to keep a control on rising energy costs and at the same time the college is keenly aware of the environmental benefits of reducing CO2 emissions.

“There had to be a firm financial argument for investing in LED lighting, with the need to show a reasonably quick payback on the substantial expenditure needed as well providing big reductions in carbon emissions.

“The installation has gone very well and the challenges that are expected in any large project have been overcome with agility and skill. The quality of the lighting is much improved and a visible reminder of a successful energy-saving project.

“There are further benefits as the LED technology should provide many years of maintenance-free lighting, reducing costs and complexities of repair and replacement.”

Paul Bayley, Buildings Officer at Eton College

“SaveMoneyCutCarbon fitted new lights to all the boys’ rooms, bathrooms, kitchen and dining areas, all the corridors and the games room in Villiers House. Previously the lighting was patchy (dark spots) and operated on fixed switches, with a poor quality of light even in the areas that were covered by the fluorescent tubes and halogen spots.

“Since the refit of the lights we have benefitted in several ways. Boys now receive instant light in their rooms, with no waiting time for bulbs to warm up, with a more natural feel and far better coverage.

“There is also a far more even coverage of higher-quality light in the corridors, kitchens and dining areas, with greater brightness (yet at lower wattage, obviously saving money) and with motion-sensitive switches meaning that the lights automatically turn off if no-one has walked in a space for a short (but programmable) length of time.

“In a boarding house this is particularly important, as boys rarely remember to turn lights off! Both adults and boys alike have noticed how much cheerier these spaces are, too, especially in the dark days of winter.”

Alexis Warnes, House Master of Villiers House, Eton College

"We have been delighted to work with such a prestigious school and to provide the financial, technical and installation expertise needed to ensure the success of the initial lighting project for Eton College.

“The LED upgrade will provide Eton College with many years of the best quality lighting that is maintenance-free while reducing electricity bills by a large amount year after year.

“A central element in all this is that the school has successfully reduced its impact on the environment.”

Charlie Farr, Chairman of SaveMoneyCutCarbon

Find out more about how you can save energy and water at your school.

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