Lighting can help save millions

Local authorities are coming together with suppliers and funders of LED lighting at LuxLive, Europe’s biggest annual lighting event

The revolution in lighting continues in Britain. LEDs, which use much less energy than traditional lighting, last longer, and provide a better colour of light, have taken the world of lighting by storm, and allowed local authorities to save millions of pounds by replacing old lighting technology with new.

To understand the risks and opportunities of upgrading public lighting, representatives of local authorities and managers of lighting estates will be gathering on 23-24 November at LuxLive, the UK’s biggest free lighting show, at ExCeL in London, to examine the latest energy-saving lighting products from 300 big-name exhibitors and discuss ways to fund upgrades and harness the latest technology successfully.

Procurement problems
The rapid rise of LED and the grand product claims made by lighting manufacturers can make life difficult for procurement staff – especially those in public bodies that have lost lighting expertise amid staff cuts. Fortunately, a new guide aims to help those in central government procurement pick the right outdoor lighting. At LuxLive, delegates will learn how the guide can help.

Tony Howells, a government advisor in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “Government doesn’t necessarily do procurement particularly well. Generally we’ve divested ourselves of technical competence, but if we’re going to spend billions of pounds, can we do that in a smarter way? In trying to make local authorities and central government a better customer, we looked at every aspect of procurement.”

The initiative has the support of the Lighting Industry Association, which represents manufacturers.

Joe Ernst-Herman of the Crown Commercial Service, who is responsible for managing spend of around £2 billion on energy, points out that street lighting accounts for some 30 per cent of local authority energy bills, but that the new framework can really help to deliver savings.

Ian Borthwick of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), points to the recent publication of good practice guides for exterior lighting. He says that rapid improvement in LED technology in a short space of time has meant that this disruptive technology is still not fully understood, explaining that ’it’s a complex electronic system and you need to take a systems approach’ before warning ’it’s not a conventional light source’.

Tony Howells says that a degree of competence is required in local authorities. He says: “As a team we worked together, along with the industry, to provide something unique in public procurement.”

He describes the process as a ‘virtuous circle’, and said ‘this is just the start – just think what we could do in public service terms with the internet of things (IoT)’. The next stage, he said, will be to look at how to deliver documents for local authorities and central government in developing IoT systems.

The IoT experience
Keeping ahead of the curve, LuxLive will offer you a chance to see how the worlds of lighting and big data are set to merge in a dedicated theatre, the IoT experience. Imagine a world in which all of a building’s subsystems can talk to each other along a unified protocol, and integrate together in a seamless intuitive interface, reacting to the needs of users with minimal effort.

Then compare this to what we have today: separated systems, different protocols and multiple wiring layers. This adds a huge cost to building construction and life-long maintenance. Yes, you can integrate these systems today, but this only happens on high-end projects and requires multiple system providers – many skills and little black boxes to convert one set of data to another, or connect one set of wires to another.

In the future you will only need one type of sensor module as the input for your fire alarm, security system, HVAC and lighting control. It may also act as the antenna for access to the internet via wireless or Li-Fi (data carried in light). Imagine the services you could provide. A fire alarm system that not only detects fire, but also tells where people are within a building and changes the lighting pattern to direct them out of the building via the fastest route. A security system that recognises no one is in the building and turns itself on – and can show in real time when someone has entered the building and by which route.

This technology is all very deliverable today, and sensors have become so cheap that they can be added to humble systems at very low cost. But how do you get this stuff into buildings? Find out for yourself at LuxLive’s IoT Experience.

New zones to escape to
Visitors to LuxLive will enjoy an extensive programme of free talks, demos and debates which have been divided into the key sectors that are feeling the effects of the lighting revolution including outdoor, highways, transport, healthcare, housing and education as well as financing and emergency lighting. In each sector, sessions will look in depth at some of the best exemplar projects, drill into some of the key technologies and debate the issues in that sector in a dedicated panel discussion. And all the events focusing on any one sector will be on the same day, to create a must-attend day’s programme packed with content that’s relevant to you. For instance, Thursday 24 November is the outdoor lighting day, when the discussion will be about the latest thinking in street lighting.

This year LuxLive will also feature a new theatre, the Escape Zone, which will focus on emergency lighting. The long-awaited revision to Emergency Lighting Code of Practice BS5266:1 2016 was issued in May and calls for a more nuanced approach to emergency lighting design.

The scope of the new standard, which will be discussed at LuxLive, has been extended beyond its traditional remit and there is now greater emphasis on who is competent to design, install and maintain emergency lighting. Central to the new approach is that of the risk assessment and the standard now provides increased guidance on risk assessment, identifying people at risk and the provision of safe means of escape, including provisions for people with disabilities.

Key issues
The standard now covers safety lighting and standby lighting as well as escape lighting.

Escape lighting - the minimum illuminance figure for escape routes has been increased to 1 lux from 0.2 lux. To be in line with European requirements.

Safety lighting - the new standard introduces the concept of ‘stay put’ lighting, recognising the fact that often emergency lighting is triggered as a consequence of power failure, rather than a real emergency. The revised standard allows occupants to stay in place if the emergency situation is of ‘minimum risk’. Occupants may be moved to a safe refuge, so escape lighting has to be combined with ‘stay put’ illumination.

The idea of having people stay in a building during an emergency situation means that other aspects of a building’s interior needs to be reviewed as part of the building’s risk assessment (see below). Additional signage, may also be required. The revised emergency lighting standard suggests that light levels designed for a ‘stay put’ regime should be designed for higher levels than those required for evacuation.

Standby lighting - by bringing standby lighting into the remit of BS5266:1 it enables ‘stay put’ lighting to be properly incorporated into an emergency scenario. The revised standard requires that standby lighting systems should provide the necessary lighting to enable safe evacuation of a building should a power failure situation escalate.

Emergency lighting ‘rest mode’ control - it is now permissible, where ‘stay put’ lighting is in place, to switching off emergency lighting in order to extend the available life of the system, provided that reliable alternative illumination is available.

Fit for work - the revised standard underlines the importance of knowledge and experience on the part of those people responsible for emergency lighting. The standard defines a competent person as someone with training and experience appropriate to the task and appropriate training, such as that offered by ICEL.

Emergency lighting design is not a tick-box exercise and the earlier prescriptive methods are no longer fit for purpose. To find out more make a beeline for the Escape Zone at LuxLive.

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