Circular Lighting Report

Campaign aims to stop waste lighting from Cat A fit outs

End Cat A lighting campaign

A campaign to stop waste lighting from Cat A fit outs has been launched.

The pressure group – a lighting industry initiative – aims to highlight the continuing scrapping of new and nearly-new office luminaires at the start of tenancies and share information about sustainable alternatives.
It believes it can leverage heightened environmental awareness and build on tentative steps by real estate developers to reduce the practice.

The End Cat A Lighting campaign says that up to 100,000 light fittings are removed in the UK every week. It says that many of the fixtures ‘have barely been switched on’.
This is the annual equivalent of 156,000 tonnes of CO2 – a bubble big enough to contain the Shard building in London.

To attract a tenant, real estate developers typically finish a speculative office building with brand new lights, as part of a so-called Cat A fit-out. However, when the tenant moves in, the majority take these out and replace them with bespoke Cat B light fittings. Just 7 per cent of the discarded lights are recycled appropriately. The rest usually ends up in the waste stream.

The group says that estimates suggest that Cat A fit-outs are responsible for between 30 to 100kg (of which lighting is 11kg) of equivalent carbon dioxide per square metre (CO2e/m2). Cat B fit-outs are responsible for a further 25 to 75kg CO2e/m2* (of which lighting is 13 kg).

‘The tenant fit-out is rarely included in life cycle modelling and there could be multiple fit-outs in the typical 60-year life of a building. This doesn’t appear consistent with the industry’s net zero aspirations,’ says the End Cat A Lighting campaign.
It points out that there are alternatives to traditional Cat A fit-outs, including the installation of sample floors, designing architectural lighting and ceilings for retention and the use of VR and AR technology by letting agents.

There are also increasing ways to mitigate the environmental impact of Cat A including the reuse of luminaires, ceilings and raised floors. A growing number of companies will recondition these lights, test and warranty them. Additionally thousands of new and nearly-new commercial luminaires available for free on reuse websites, including Recolight’s Reuse Hub which showcases 16,000 products.

The End Cat A Lighting campaign is asking the supply chain – including developers, real estate companies, architectural practices, lighting design practices, engineering consultancies and lighting manufacturers – to support its aims by signing its pledge.

• More at

• Diary date: Circular Lighting Live 2024, Recolight’s flagship conference and exhibition, takes place on Wednesday 9 October 2024 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Free to specifiers, Circular Lighting Live 2024 will feature leading experts, specifiers and policy makers who will share their insights into forthcoming standards and legislation, emerging technologies and new business models. More info:

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.