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Light fantastic

The LED revolution is engulfing the entire lighting industry, and in 2013 it looks set to hit the commercial office sector. Kuldeep Vali of Concord at Havells-Sylvania explains how changes to legislation and design will bring LEDs into the workplace

The way a lighting scheme is designed for an office environment depends on a few important factors: energy efficiency, regulation compliance and meeting the minimum wattage per square metre. All this – and within an aesthetic luminaire. Certainly, one of the main drivers to energy efficiency within lighting is new legislation.

The October 2010 revision of Part L2A of the Building Regulations requires an average efficiency for an office building (excluding emergency lighting) of no less than 55 luminaire lumens per circuit watt. With so many different lamp technologies available it is often hard to know which one is the best option. At the moment, it is not always LED. The marketplace is waiting for manufacturers to develop affordable solutions that meet all requirements.

LED is not currently the right choice for all office lighting for two very simple reasons. Firstly, to deliver the light output specified by the regulations, you need to drive the LEDs hard, which means that achieving the required energy savings can prove difficult. The other is that the capital cost of the LED fittings may not give you the payback required. In many cases, fluorescent is still the most viable option.

Alternative lamp types can work just as well as LED and an example of this is at One London Square. The 5,100m office space in Guildford, Surrey, underwent a complete refurbishment and achieved a BREEAM rating of excellent. The building was refurbished using recycled and energy efficient materials wherever possible. The most notable lighting product used on the installation was the Concord Officelyte Concave Linear Low profile, a fluorescent luminaire. Specifically designed for office-lighting applications, the luminaire achieves a Light Output Ratio of 90 per cent and at One London Square the luminaire is averaging 400 lux at under 6W/m. This shows that LED is not currently always needed to meet energy targets.

However, during 2013 this will start to change and LEDs will become more applicable for office environments just as they have within display lighting. Office lighting is where display lighting was two-years ago in terms of LEDs. In display lighting LED is well established and provides huge energy savings for end-users. Over the last few years, a lot of work has been put into the colour rendering of LEDs to create the right effect for display-lighting requirements and is now the equivalent of halogen in many cases. It is also able to provide end-users with the necessary energy savings and pay back.

We recently worked on a new lighting scheme for the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle on Tyne. The lighting was designed to enrich the visitors’ experience and the results were instantly noticed by visitors and staff alike: the colours looked vibrant and, more importantly, the paintings are now protected from the potentially damaging effects of artificial light. This is because there are no UV/IR emissions from the LED light source and full dimming control adjusts the brightness levels on the painting.

The gallery chose the 3000k ‘Warm White’ version of the Stadium LED spotlight with a colour rendering index of 93 to show the exhibition in an atmosphere close to gas lighting, which would have been in use when the paintings were shown in the 19th century. Finally, the 50,000 hours of life from the LED means that no lamp replacements are required. Previously this had been required almost monthly when the tungsten halogen lamps failed during an exhibition.

Choosing the right manufacturer to work with is paramount when it comes to selecting products. At Concord, we pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers a best practice lit environment with a long and valued 40-year heritage, which encompasses high-end innovative products. We offer a wide range of British-made luminaires and only use LEDs on a project when it is the right option.

There is no doubt that 2013 will see further developments in LED technology and following the display lighting trend, LEDs will soon become commonplace within office applications. During 2013, changes to the Building Regulations and Part L will impact the way lighting is measured and are set to drive manufacturers to improve the standard of lamp technologies such as LED.

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