Light up a refurbishment

Not only did new lighting in this workshop of Blue Diamond Engineering provide a bright and engaging atmosphere, but it also reduced energy costs by £4000 a year.
The lighting system is an important and integral part of any building. MIKE HARRINGTON discusses the opportunities for refurbishing a lighting installation and the benefits that can be realised.It’s no secret — we all work better when we are comfortable and alert. Asking people to sit at the same desk or in the same factory every day requires the right lighting to maximise productivity. As energy consumption becomes a key concern with regards to Part L of the Building Regulations, the right solution can also be a sustainable one. Lighting represents 20% of UK electricity consumption, so installing an energy-efficient lighting scheme can help achieve significant cost reductions for all businesses, whilst helping the environment by cutting carbon emissions. Most visible Lighting is the most visible building system and directly affects the aesthetics and image of a building and business. With lighting being responsible for affecting mood, comfort, productivity and health and safety of a building’s occupants, it is within a business’s interest to continually look at industry improvements for a lighting system to improve overall illuminating performance. Poor lighting can contribute to accidents and can reduce the efficiency and effectiveness with which people work. In extreme situations, an ineffective lighting system can decrease morale, increase staff turnover and be a causal factor in industrial action — a circumstance that can very easily be avoided simply by selecting lighting systems that can reduce energy consumption and at the same time proviie the correct environment for all those within. One example is that of Blue Diamond Engineering in County Durham, which looked into the benefits that a lighting upgrade could offer its employees. The project qualified for an ‘Action Energy Loan’ from the Carbon Trust, resulting in the payback of the cost of the refurbishment over two years. The refurbishment covered 120 units of workshop area and included the replacement of the obsolete 8 ft 100 W fluorescent lamps originally installed throughout the factory with 5 ft 58 W high-frequency fittings with Philips triphosphor colour 840 Reflex lamps. The refurbished system enabled Blue Diamond to reduce its energy bill by almost £4000 per annum and save almost 21 t of carbon dioxide. Maintenance and running costs were considerably reduced due to longer lamp life. This project not only achieved major improvements in performance but it also provided an atmosphere that was bright and engaging — illuminating all areas for employees to work in. These high-frequency battens have a lower power rating and therefore use less energy, whilst still offering increased light levels compared to the older technology. The lamps also significantly improve illumination to closely resemble daylight, improve colour rendering and enhance the working environment and ambience. The battens have a longer life compared to the older lamps. Cost effective This lighting refurbishment was a cost-effective way for Blue Diamond to replace and upgrade its existing equipment with new, energy-efficient products that comply with the current Building Regulations. Innovations in technology have seen manufacturers pushing the boundaries with lighting design. Parkersell has a unique relationship with Philips in providing new technology to provide optimum levels of light at reduced costs. ActiViva lamp technology closely replicates daylight by using light with a high blue content, to directly affect the way people feel by making them more alert, awake and energised. A third non-visual receptor in the eye responds to the blue light, and suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, therefore providing a physical and emotional lift through light to stimulate work.
— Modern lamps such as Philips Lighting’s ActiViva (left of picture) have a high blue content when directly affects the way people feel and stimulates work compared with traditional lighting (right of picture).
Providing a motivated environment for employees can be just one requirement of a lighting upgrade for businesses. Safety is a major concern for some organisations as can be seen through the lighting refurbishment at Cowcaddens subway station in Glasgow. The project was commissioned by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to improve lighting levels on the platforms and addressing the crucial issue of conserving energy; it also aided compliance with the recent revisions to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The refurbishment involved removing existing switch-start fittings and obsolete T12 lamps from above the platforms and installing new high-frequency T5 luminaires. This new technology provides brighter lighting along the platforms, helping to improve the overall ambience of the station and reducing maintenance costs due to longer lamp life. It was crucial that the new lamps complied with the DDA to increase light levels for the safety of passengers along the platforms and enable a tighter security surveillance system to be operated. CCTV cameras can only work effectively if areas under observation are well lit and kept free from debris, extending sight lines and enabling clear visibility. In addition the brighter environment enables easier legibility of information for passengers while they are waiting on the platforms. When a decision has been made to install a particular lighting system within a refurbishment, there are several factors to consider. Where light is not necessary for all hours of the day, integrating automated switches into a refurbishment can control when the lights come on and off or be dimmed when daylight is available. This is of particular importance at night when only a minimum level of light might be required. Disposal Establishing a responsible disposal practice when removing the original fittings in line with the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, will contribute to reducing the impact of electrical goods on the environment. Whether in a commercial or industrial sector, it is important not only to provide the right levels of light but also to ensure that light is evenly distributed across the task area to enhance visual comfort. With recognised rewards available, a comprehensive lighting upgrade can integrate equipment replacement with deliberate design, operation, maintenance and disposal practices. A ‘whole-system’ approach eliminates what can be regarded as a complex situation of individual decisions and unites them into a systematic method. By making sure that an energy-efficient lighting system is installed during a refurbishment, a business can expect to gain an improved illuminated environment for all those working indoors. Mike Harrington is managing director of Parkersell.
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