Like any other hospital building services, lighting has costs attached to it. They must be seen in context. The total capital cost of the electric lighting installation will be tiny compared with the cost of other building services and even smaller when compared with the total cost of the building. But unfortunately, lighting equipment is installed towards the end of a building programme when cost savings are often being sought. Pressure should be avoided to reduce the quality of the installation.
If the quality of the lighting installation is reduced, this could have detrimental effects on the operating costs. The life of a lighting installation will be ten years at least and often much longer. Therefore, if the installation uses more energy than it needs, because of less than ideal equipment, the running costs will be high. This will usually cancel out the apparent savings made through reduced equipment costs. The same thing applies to a costly maintenance programme, either through poor equipment that has a short life or through the need for complicated or difficult maintenance work. This means that the costs must be assessed through a life-cycle costing investigation. It is important to adopt such an overall approach even when capital and operating costs are borne by two different organisations or budgets.
The remaining issue to be considered regarding lighting costs is that if good lighting is not provided then the staff will not be able to perform accurately and efficiently. Also if the quality of the internal environment is compromised through poor lighting, the recovery rate of patients could be reduced. Both of these will be considerably more costly than the lighting – hence the necessity for a balanced approach where all the elements are considered.
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