Smoking Ban Affected the Electrical Industry

A significant increase in sales of outdoor lighting products such as floodlights has been witnessed since the ban, with sales rising by 40% as drinkers go outside. With the smoking ban now well in force, clubs and pubs have been reporting that unpleasant odors like sweat and stale beer – formerly masked by cigarette smoke – are highly noticeable. As a result, in addition to an increased demand for outdoor heating and lighting since the ban, there is also a greater need for ventilation systems.

There are important decisions to be made when selecting outdoor heating and indoor ventilation units, while keeping an ever-watchful eye on tightening purse strings.

A significant increase in sales of outdoor lighting products has been witnessed since the ban, with sales rising by 40% as drinkers go outside. However this is not the only change, as sales of outdoor heating products have also surged in a bid to keep smokers drinking at their favourite local instead of staying at home.

While the majority of contractors have spotted the obvious opportunities this brings, recommending the wide variety of outdoor heating equipment available, many are still missing out on the additional key factor to consider – effective controls.

Providing an off delay after the last observed movement can save an average of 80% on energy wasted. Controls need to be a vital part of any installation, ensuring appliances are only operational when needed. With the recent rise in energy costs, it is not environmentally or commercially astute to have the heating and lighting on from 8pm until closing time and so by choosing to install PIRs or thermostatic controls, businesses are ensuring that energy is used only when required – reducing both energy costs and the carbon footprint.

This need can be easily met by wall mounted PIR sensors, which detect presence by passive infrared, effectively enhanced for the smallest of movements. Providing an off delay after the last observed movement can save an average of 80% on energy wasted. Microwave sensors are another option open to installers as these devices are directional presence detectors with built in photocell use, utilizing microwave technology and featuring a movement detector.

Time delay switches also allow pubs to activate heating only when the outdoor area is in use. These have been in operation for many years, used in less frequented areas or those where entry and egress is at different points. During the last few years with a focus on energy efficiency, these have been revamped. Gone are the pneumatic timers that slowly released before cutting the power, now they are electronic and fully programmable to whatever time setting is required.

The additional benefit with heat recovery systems is that they can recover up to 95% of the heat normally lost from the building…

Programmable thermostats also offer an alternative way to regulate how long outdoor heating is in operation, with independent time settings, easy to use menu controls and set on/off periods available.

With controls being the priority outdoors, ventilation systems are now becoming a concern for pubs and clubs indoors, as they seek to combat stale odors, which were previously masked by tobacco smoke. Food odors coming from the kitchen, as well as smells from toilets and stale beer spilled onto carpets, now need to be extruded out of the building, as cigarette smoke no longer masks these pungent aromas.

The indoor air quality has therefore changed substantially and as a result where a refurbishment is needed many pubs and clubs have moved away from traditional ventilation systems and are installing air conditioning units and air handling products, as they allow more control and a better quality of air. However where this is simply not an option, establishments are upgrading their ventilation to combat the problem, whilst simultaneously reducing their energy costs.

The industry has seen a substantial increase in the sale of more energy efficient ventilation choices. LoWatt products are especially popular, as apart from efficiently removing stale air, they also offer up to 80% energy savings – a welcome additional benefit with soaring energy bills looking set to stay.

Heat recovery units are also starting to be introduced into pubs and clubs as they offer the ability to remove odors but at the same time recover the heat. These systems are designed to completely change all the air at least once every couple of hours (and this can be increased when the demand requires), continually replacing the stale odors with fresh, warm, clean, filtered air. The additional benefit with heat recovery systems is that they can recover up to 95% of the heat normally lost from the building through trickle vents and other breakout points in the building’s structure.

Now a year after the smoking ban was introduced, instead of just focusing on heating products, installers and contractors increasingly need to look at the bigger picture in order to fully maximize the profit margins available. In terms of the outdoors, this includes the wide variety of controls and sensors available for such areas to prevent energy from being wasted and energy bills increasing unnecessarily. While indoors, energy efficient ventilation systems need to be the predominant focus, providing the easiest and most cost effective way to effectively eradicate any odors unveiled by the removal of tobacco and ensure a fresh, welcoming environment for drinkers.