Illuminated learning

Illuminated learning

Swansea University is looking to the future and is keen provide its students and staff with a modern, energy efficient, learning environment

Having just celebrated its centenary, Swansea University is looking to the future and is keen provide its students and staff with a modern, energy efficient, learning environment. Spread across two sites; Singleton Park and Bay Campus, the university's different colleges are housed in a range of old and new buildings. Amongst the older premises in need of refurbishment was the Singleton Campus Library.

Sean Elward, project manager at the university explained more: "Within the library are two large open study areas, each of which was lit with five continuous runs of T5 fluorescent lights that remained on 24/7. Not only was this extremely wasteful of energy, the harsh lighting was not a conducive environment for learning and study." It became clear that an alternative solution was needed so the university turned to lighting designer, Geraint Morgan and luminaire design and manufacturer, Thorlux Lighting, for an alternative solution.

The library is open to students and staff all year round and the study area, with its large, picture windows, required more sophisticated lighting to provide an optimum environment for the library users. It was agreed to install the Thorlux Flex system. which combines flexibility of design with high performance optics, and the award winning SmartScan system. Key to this versatility are the Tridonic drivers; the LC 60W 24V lp SNC driver and the LCA 50W 350-1050mA one4all lp PRE driver, which are incorporated into the smart sensors that in turn monitor ambient light and presence, control light output to the correct level, dim and switch when there is sufficient daylight and illuminate areas only when occupied.

SmartScan is a revolutionary wireless lighting management system that allows users to monitor their energy performance data and complete operational information for all SmartScan standard and emergency luminaires. SmartScan uses 868MHz secure radio communication chosen for its excellent transmission distance and object penetration, especially useful within buildings. Each luminaire acts as a wireless node, repeating each command received on to the next luminaire, providing a robust system that will always find a communication path.

The University's facilities team are able to access all the information they require about each individual luminaire's status and performance via the SmartScan website which can be accessed from anywhere using a computer, laptop, tablet or smart-phone. Here, a clear, graphical user interface provides an overview of the whole site, right down to the performance and operation of an individual fitting.

The full installation was installed over a two-month period in the summer of 2019 and comprised:

  • 12 x Flexview - a recessed lay-in luminaire with a dual light engine combining low power edge-lit technology for its picture window with separate sophisticated, highly efficient low glare optics for main space illumination.
  • 15 x Flexline – a super narrow linear luminaire designed specifically for mounting to exposed T-Bar ceilings, with low glare optics this is a radically different solution to conventional 600x600 luminaires.
  • 8 x Firefly emergencies - LED emergency luminaires for recessed mounting with SmartScan wireless communication which is built around Tridonic's EM powerLED 4W PRO NiMh SCREW-FIX.

Automatic emergency lighting test scheduling is configured on the SmartScan website to minimise disruption for those using the library and to ensure compliance with the latest regulations. This capability is just one of the benefits of upgrading to LED fittings. Others include:

  • Energy efficiency – a traditional fluorescent fitting will either be on or off. By retrofitting the lighting system with luminaires that can detect movement, ambient light levels as well as providing the emergency lighting component, the university is certainly maximising on its investment and in addition the estate management team have access to valuable asset data.
  • Connected - planned, predictive and preventative maintenance of all a building's systems is vital. Replacing outdated, wired, fluorescent light fittings with intelligent wireless luminaires provides a simple solution that automatically checks the installation at the prescribed intervals and records the condition of each individual luminaire in the wireless network in real time.
  • Compliance - accurate record keeping is vital. The installation of Intelligent, luminaires that are connected and reporting on their own status alleviates the need for an engineer to move from building to building undertaking time consuming, manual checks. In the case of the library it avoids disruption to staff and students, trying to study. Additionally, it eliminates human error in terms of misplaced or illegible reporting. When it comes to emergency lighting there is no room for compromise; those lights need to work at the critical moment.
  • Future proofing – not just lighting but the buildings of the future need to be future proofed. The rapid advances in technology of the past decade have enabled the collection and collation of quality of data and this should make the management of components and facilities far more effective. The next step is going to be far more collaboration between the various systems within a building and the ubiquitous nature of lighting allows it to play a central role in true building management. 

"We have worked with Tridonic for years and during that time have developed a strong partnership. On this and other projects, their willingness to develop bespoke solutions helps us to ensure that we deliver the ideal solution for our clients;" said Philip Hill, Senior Product Manager, Lighting Control Systems at Thorlux.

Whilst the number of students using the library may have reduced over the past year, those that have been able to access the facilities are certainly relishing the improved environment. In addition, initial analysis of energy usage indicates an annual saving of 78 percent in comparison to the previous lighting solution.

MEB Media Publishing (UK) Ltd

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Maidstone, Kent
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United Kingdom

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