How LED lighting could help cut food waste

8. března 2013 v 4:02 |  street light
Changing the lightbulbs could help supermarkets reduce the estimated 300,000 tonnes of food waste they produce each year, according to one lighting company.

Welsh firm Sedna LED reckons illuminating fresh produce with lightbulbs that emit heat causes food to sweat in its packaging, contributing to the food waste mountain that costs retailers millions of pounds each year.

As a result, the company is arguing that in addition to cutting energy bills, LED lights could also help keep food fresh.

"Unlike conventional lighting, LED lighting does not emit heat or any UV or IR rays, so food stays fresher for longer," the company said in a statement. "LED light sources can be placed in close vicinity to food for an enhanced aesthetic effect, but with no danger of premature food deterioration."

Supermarkets have made strides in tackling the problem through initiatives such as improving storage advice, trialling packaging that keeps food fresher for longer, and using old food for energy rather than sending it to landfill.

But campaigners have continued to highlight a problem that costs the economy billions of pounds and leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

In related news, the hospitality sector has this week become the latest industry to announce a new initiative to halve the amount of food waste it sends to landfill each year.

A study by the Hospitality Carbon Reduction Forum blamed a lack of anaerobic digestive (AD) capacity along with inconsistent nationwide waste contractor coverage for the fact that over 50 per cent of the food waste generated by its 12,000 restaurants and pubs is currently going to landfill.

The Forum is now evaluating options to help reduce its impact, which could include building a dedicated new AD plant for Hospitality Forum members or transporting food waste to existing AD plants.

There are currently around 200 AD plants in the UK providing roughly 170MW of capacity, around one per cent of the capacity found in Germany.

Proponents say the technology is a sustainable way of generating both electricity and biogas, which could generate up to 10 per cent of the UK's domestic gas demand as a cheap and secure alternative to natural gas imports.

However, the industry has warned the subsidies available to the technology are not sufficient to drive widespread take up.

The rooms in the SCALA Turm Hotel are unique in that natural light plays a key role. Most of the exterior walls are glass and the bathrooms have transparent walls, flooding the rooms with light. The LED design complements these natural conditions with a unique light set-up that uses refined accents and hides the luminaires in the background, allowing for an airy and floating room atmosphere. The interior design is also kept free of decoration.

Corridors in the hotel can also be immersed in numerous RGB light scenes. The corridors that are without natural daylight are provided with a multi-faceted LED system that reproduces, among other effects, a sunlight spectrum. A motion-sensor control ensures the SSLs are only used when needed, a cost-saving measure.

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