For VätterHem LED = ROI

A major apartment owner in Sweden, VätterHem, has set out to save energy – and it’s doing so very methodically.

“We will cut our consumption of resources by 20 percent by the year 2016,” declared the CEO of the municipal company VätterHem at a 2007 meeting in Malmö.

The job of figuring out how to save that 20 percent would fall to Afrim Alijevski. An electrician by training, Alijevski, is part of a five-person task force committed to saving energy for VätterHem. He has a budget for doing so, and he is held accountable for results.


Alijevski’s team is responsible for VätterHem’s 8,500 apartments in four areas of Sweden’s Jönköping municipality. Almost 17,000 residents depend on four electricians to make sure lights light when a switch is thrown – and to ensure energy is not used irresponsibly.

A natural first step to reduce energy use was replacing 10-year-old lighting system in one of VätterHem’s parking garages: 2x28W fluorescent luminaires burned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They cast a yellow glow that did not even reach the parked cars.

Alijevski replaced seven floors of lights with 80 Ensto Tino 42W LED fixtures. A total investment of slightly over 37,000 euros covered the fixtures, cables, motion sensors, and installation. He estimates a payback time of 3.5 years, about half of the maximum allowed for such a project.

While LEDs with motion sensors will eventually consume 70 percent less energy than the old system, there is instant gratification, too: the first month’s electricity bill for the garage dropped 30 percent, even with motion sensors are not yet fine-tuned. When that happens, 80 percent savings are predicted.


Alijevski also turned his attention to stairwells, where old fixtures used three luminaires containing fluorescent lamps 1x18W and, including ballast, the total power was 93W. He replaced those with two LED light luminaries 1x14W with a total power of 28W, only a third of the energy and also with better light value. He then gained another 30 percent savings due to built-in motion detectors.

“With the built-in motion sensors you have the option of the lights shutting off after one minute without movement, or dimming to 10 percent power for security reasons.”

The LED lamps have a 70,000-hour life, and in stairwells where a lamp burns approximately three hours per day, the system could last 45 to 50 years. Payback periods depend on usage and switches, but Alijevski has predicted five to six years to recoup his investment.


Another possibility for savings was park lighting, the 125W Mercury lamps, that illuminated the apartment block commons.

“Mercury is good for about two to three years, about 5,000-10,000 hours, and then it doesn’t supply enough light for its purpose,” says Alijevski. Since April 2015, Mercury lamps have been forbidden in the EU, there was no reason to consider anything but LED.

Alijevski installed Ensto Opera pole fixtures in both 42W and 20W variations to see how residents reacted. “People in the test area said the 20W was just fine, so we went with those.” Eventually, he installed 100 Opera fixtures that burn 12 hours per day, about 4,000 hours per year.

Since the lifespan of an LED is 50,000 hours, it will be 13 years before lighting intensity will fall off, and then only a 30 percent deterioration. It’s a clear victory over Mercury.

Alijevski’s Opera LEDs required an approximate 27,000-euro investment, with energy savings predicted to surpass 8,000 euros per year. A three-year payback period has been estimated, and a 32 percent drop in energy consumption has been recorded already in the first three months.

The next 20 percent

With the first 20 percent savings in energy consumption achieved, Alijevski is facing a new challenge: VätterHem’s CEO has called for an additional 20 percent reduction by 2023.

“The first 20 percent was a major challenge,” says Alijevski. “You install LED lights in the public areas, put water meters in apartments so people are aware of their individual consumption. But the next 20 percent will be tougher. It will require a more significant investment.”

But Alijevski is up to the challenge. “We will examine the whole,” he says. “We’ll look at more lighting, ventilation, insulation, and windows.”

And Ensto will be there to assist. Carl Leitner, Ensto’s Area Sales Manager, says VätterHem and Alijevski are the types who take action and get things done: “They never wait until the last minute to make changes.”

Author: Scott Diel