An efficient lighting scheme saves energy while illuminating the striking interior of this Gothic church in Birmingham. Mark Burgess reports

The St Augustine of Hippo Church at Edgbaston in Birmingham is a Grade II*listed building in a geometric Gothic style.Inside it has numerous stone carvings and a striking painted chancel ceiling that represents the Book of Revelation. It was built in 1868, and eight years later the 56-metre tower and spire were added,the tallest in Birmingham.

Ecclesiastical lighting specialist LightingDynamics UK was appointed to upgrade the church lighting by the Parochial Church Council (PCC), and churchwarden Stephen Hartland acted as project leader.

Lighting Dynamics UK – from Sutton Coldfield– has supplied interior and exterior illumination for ecclesiastical buildings from cathedrals to small rural churches throughout the UK.

It worked with church architect Mark Evans and electrical installers AJ Electrics to develop a dimming and lighting controls system linked to sensors and wall-mounted control panels at various points around the building. Old linear tungsten-halogen lamps and reflector spotlights were removed, and replaced by 70W and 150W ceramic single-ended metal halide lamps from Venture. Ventronic low-wattage ‘switch dim’ electronic ballasts were also fitted.

The lamps incorporate slip cast, single piece, arctubes, and deliver up to 100 lumens per watt. Their colour rendering qualities make them suitable for interior applications – such as this one – where the light enhances the colour, features and textures on display.

Gerry Browne of Lighting Dynamics UK says the scheme shows that saving energy need not be at odds with good aesthetics. ‘As well as a reduction in running costs, the new lighting clearly accentuates the many architectural features throughout the church.’

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