Lighting the way to a fully connected university

Roehampton university

Paul Jones and Tom Greenrod talk about the benefits for a London university which has had a smartphone-accessible DALI control system installed.

The University of Roehampton, in the Borough of Wandsworth, planned to redevelop the Sir David Bell Building - named after the businessman, publisher and philanthropist who is also Chair of Council at the university - on the Digby Stuart Campus. This involved remodelling and extending two adjacent buildings to consolidate and improve facilities for the Department of Media Culture and Languages.

This included the creation of specialist teaching areas including film, television and sound studios, a 90+ seat cinema, photographic studios, cutting/editing suites and a flexible creative project space for the University’s new digital media course.

The scheme was also designed to provide accommodation for university-wide students facing support facilities such as Academic Services, Audio Visual Resources, Digital Learning and IT Services.

Seminar rooms were created to promote collaborative learning through a variety of flexible layouts; supported by extensive social learning and ‘commons’ spaces including the creation of a glazed courtyard.

The University of Roehampton appointed mechanical and electrical building services engineering company, Michael Jones & Associates, to design a new lighting control system, specifically for the Sir David Bell Building development.

What was the brief

The brief was that the university required a system which would enable staff to control lighting themselves with the added benefit of reducing energy usage. Typically, lighting can account for around 25 per cent of a university’s energy costs. Nationwide lighting controls specialist BEG Lighting Controls were approached by Michael Jones to provide a user friendly and flexible lighting control system to meet the university’s control criteria.

The company proposed a system which offers flexible, scalable DALI lighting control and, because it is Bluetooth-enabled it is easy to configure and change as room uses evolve, from changing scenes to adjusting the lights’ brightness. This DALI addressable system can be programmed simply and quickly using a smartphone and using the free-to-download app.

Tom Greenrod, said: “The controls system was mapped out and approved for use by the university in the majority of areas such as teaching rooms, open plan and cellular offices, seminar rooms, studios, computer labs and in the cinema/lecture theatre where occupancy detection and/or scene control was required.

“In the teaching rooms, the university required constant light level control with absence detection and a scene for presenting. This was achieved using a mains power supply and a bus linking all of the luminaires, the multi-sensor and a push button module. This module was located behind a two-gang switch plate with two push to make retractive switches.

Roehampton University 2

“One switch was used for absence and daylight linking and the second for a pre-set scene. The multi-sensor in this situation was used in absence mode but can also be used in presence mode or even work as a photocell. These changes are made to the settings via the app. There is an option for de-activating the multi-sensor if required.

“The lecture theatre required six scenes and this was achieved using the Bluetooth push button module and a second non-Bluetooth module. Using a second push button module the number of scenes available is increased to eight. A maximum of 16 scenes can be obtained using four modules.”

The system provided orientation lighting to give some illumination to an area when it is unoccupied, avoiding unlit areas and providing a safe and secure environment. There is also another option, called the ‘Follow Me’ feature where lighting will ramp up and down in relation to the movement of a person. This is beneficial in corridors and in stairwells to minimise the energy usage.

In the remaining areas where a less flexible lighting control solution was required, broadcast sensors were used. At the end of the project, a handover was carried out and training given to University staff by company specialists to ensure operators were fully aware of how to use the system and how changes could be made if required. 

Paul Jones, said: “We’re proud to have been involved in this fantastic project with the University of Roehampton working alongside Michael Jones & Associates.

“The university required a clear and defined lighting control solution which would enable them to operate lighting themselves and, as a consequence, reduce its energy costs. DALI-LINK is easy to use and enables university staff to control room lighting and scene selection individually at a touch of a button from a smartphone using the app.

Paul Jones and Tom Greenrod are Controls Sales Director and Specification Director for BEG Lighting Controls. 

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