Switch to LED exceeds expectations at One Canada Square

Five Years ago, the management team at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf took the bold and brave decision to switch its lighting source within its magnificent entrance lobby from traditional sodium lamps to LED, which at the time was still in its infancy for use in a commercial setting.

The results have been incredible and exceeded client expectations. Since practical completion there has not been a requirement to replace any of the 432 LED fittings. This has resulted in a circa £100k saving in maintenance and 75 tons of C02 saved. These savings demonstrate the huge impact making the switch to LED can be for all businesses.


One Canada Square is an iconic and prestigious building within the Canary Wharf estate and accommodates many international blue chip organisations and requires a reception space that is welcoming, appropriate and reflects the correct image for the many employees and visitors.

The existing lighting was installed when the building was originally built with the most suitable lighting medium available which then was a discharge lamp. At the time this lamp was without doubt the correct product due to its excellent colour rendering along with good lamp life which was vital not only because the space is 24/7 but also due to the extremely high mounting point (circa 9m) which would require a specialist Mobile Elevating Working Platform (MEWP) to maintain the product. Having illuminated the space capably for twenty three years this fixture had reached end of life.

The client, Canary Wharf Management, had identified a requirement to explore a new lighting solution for the reception space that could potentially reduce energy consumption and ease maintenance. The project brief identified the importance not to impact upon the existing high end design of the area.  In particular, the finishes to floor, walls and ceiling needed to be lit to the same high standards in terms of the lux level and uniformity of light and there were doubts that an LED solution could deliver this.

In order to achieve the correct solution, FUTURE Designs undertook one fitting mock up for approval of aesthetics of the luminaire, a further three fittings were prepared to mock up and test the change in colour temperature from ‘warm white’ to ‘cool white’ and how this may affect the aesthetic of the marble walls and floor. The client installed sub metering to monitor energy performance as part of their front end study.  With the energy credentials verified by the client metering system, the project was approved from both the visual of the luminaire and the colour rendering within the space.

This was followed by a final twelve fitting mock up installed directly over the reception desk to ensure the fitting lit the main entrance area appropriately and could prove to have the correct control for those working beneath it. Final approval was given and the phased installation began over a period of weeks during the weekends when the traffic through this iconic building was at its lowest level to ensure seamless integration in to the existing space with minimum disruption.

The change in colour temperature made a dramatic change to the ambience in the reception space and it now aesthetically looks more vibrant and energized. The implications of the LED solution were realised quite quickly with an immediate drop in maintenance costs and the disruption this can cause. Additionally the reduction in carbon use was calculated at 44% when using every fixture in a like for like manner. Additional reduction have been made to reduce carbon usage by utilising three circuits, which allows nearly 50% of the luminaires to be turned off out of peak hours. This was designed in a chequer board effect in order to make the reduced number of working fittings look uniform whilst providing an alternate atmosphere to the lobby restaurant during the evenings.

This bold step by Canary Wharf has proved a huge success in aesthetics maintenance reduction and most importantly in its quest to make sustainability real by drastically reducing the carbon footprint of this magnificent building.

Paul Burgoyne, Building Manager for One Canada Square, Canary Wharf Management, says:

 “Life cycle replacement provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to providing a sustainable building. The installation of LED has exceeded our expectations and has been an essential strategy to improve the energy performance of our building.”

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