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Make the Light SWITCH

What if a failure of supply occurs in the hours of darkness? Regulation BS5266-1:2011 requires that external lighting must be provided to guide evacuees from the point where they exit a building to a place of safety. This means that many applications will need a weatherproof luminaire operating in maintained or switched maintained mode, controlled by daylight sensors. LED luminaires can be used for this purpose to reduce maintenance and running costs.

Minimum routine testing schedules are one of the requirements of the regulations and standards. The time this takes can become a significant demand on facilities managers and maintenance teams. One way to avoid the ongoing costs associated with maintenance, servicing, repairs and replacements is to specify quality emergency luminaires in the first place. Another tip is to consider self-testing systems, which reduce the expense, time demands and disruption associated with manual testing regimes upon individual luminaires. With automatic test systems, results from an entire network are collected and fed back to a central point where the exact location of the fault can be pinpointed. The system will also identify the cause of the fault which might be a failed lamp or module, so that the necessary spare part can be selected and taken to the location to speed up the repair process.

In addition to the emergency lighting, it’s important to consider signage at the earliest stage. The obligation is to ensure that escape routes are clearly defined and identified with the correct exit signage. When selecting a product, be aware that the viewing distance for an internally-illuminated exit sign is calculated by multiplying the height of the illuminated element by a factor of 200. This information will normally be available from reputable manufacturers. For externally illuminated signs, the multiplication factor is only 100, but it must have at least 5 lux at any point of the sign in emergency conditions.

An alternative option is the photoluminescent exit sign. However, it is important to remember that these rely on ambient light to charge their photoluminescent membrane. Additionally, EN1838 states that under emergency lighting conditions the sign shall be sufficiently illuminated to be visible. The safety colour must remain green and the contrast colour must remain white within the colour boundaries specified in ISO3864-4. This usually means that general lighting must be permanently switched on in order for the exit light to self-illuminate in the event of a power failure.


People often talk about the benefits of LED lighting, but less often do we hear about the use of LEDs in unusual, even foreboding environments. Harsh and wet applications are just the tip of the iceberg. Cold storage facilities, industrial plants, car washes, and marinas. David Neale, product and marketing manager UK fixtures at Havells Sylvania digs deeper.

With the LED revolution currently sweeping through the market, the lighting industry is rapidly changing. The new emphasis on energy saving, largely driven by legislation (such as the phasing out of incandescent lamps) and the well-informed facilities managers, is leading to the development of some excellent products. The changing capabilities of LEDs mean they can be used in a wider variety of applications and do not just have to be thought of as a solution for office blocks and retail environments. Extreme environments can also benefit from LED…

Luminaires chosen for cold stores should be resilient to avoid damage to the light source and be amply protected against the freezing conditions – IP65 rated and above is essential. They should be fit for purpose; products need to be able to operate at extremely low temperatures. An important consideration is access and the cost of maintenance, so selecting LED minimises the need for regular and frequent maintenance.

A wide variety of tasks are performed in open areas of warehouses, so it is important to understand the different uses of the space to ensure the correct levels of lighting. Factors to be considered include, colour rendering to enable workers to see effectively in production areas and maintenance requirements, to avoid costly downtimes.

When using LED lighting in these areas it is important to understand how the space is used and how frequently, this will enable luminaires to be utilised for maximum efficiency and safety. Ensuring a good level of vertical illuminance is one of the main considerations when designing the lighting scheme alongside providing good levels of illumination on the horizontal plane to help read control panels and labels on boxes. An LED Lighting scheme should be flexible to allow for easy repositioning if there are future changes to the use of the space.

About Sarah OBeirne


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