Pennie Varvarides discovers the difference installing lighting controls with presence detection can make in a warehouse

A high street retailer is set to save £30,000 a year on energy at its Midlands warehouse after it installed lighting control systems from Ex-Or.

After taking over the business park unit in 2010, the retailer awarded a contract for lighting refurbishment to M&E contractor Imtech G&H. Phase 1 of the contract involved upgrading the installation from SON discharge lamps to 80W fluorescents installed in blocks of four in high bay fittings, all controlled through a high-level bus bar.

LightSpot presence-detecting controls form the backbone of the system

The original SON lamps were 15 years old and they were left on constantly, wasting energy when the warehouse was empty.

Imech G&H project engineer Ian Pattenden says: ‘Because of the seasonal nature of the products, and the fact that at certain times of the year there would be very few personnel in that part of the unit, it was vital that all unnecessary use of lighting would be automatically eliminated.

‘The SON discharge lamps could not be controlled or dimmed effectively, nor did they suit the high density racking layout that extended upwards to 15 metres. We needed at least 200 lux lighting level with the ability to control highlevel

Detecting your presence

To ensure light was not being wasted, Ex-Or Hi-Bay LightSpot presence-detecting controls were installed, forming the backbone of the control system.

Pattenden says: ‘We’re using more lights, but we’re using them efficiently. The warehouse was a big open box before and it was wasting a lot of energy.’

As warehouses and storage facilities increase in height in an attempt to make the most of the building’s footprint, energy costs are going up. This is because products are stacked higher and large internal areas remain lit, even though they are not occupied.

Hi-Bay’s presence detection technology responds to movement in the monitored area. Anyone entering automatically activates the lighting and it stays on for as long as they continue to work. When the area is vacated, the lights switch off automatically.

The detectors have a narrow angle of view despite the great height at which they are mounted. This means small areas can be monitored and lighting can be delivered with greater precision.

Remote controls

The controls can be programmed from the ground using an infrared, handheld programmer. This significantly reduces commissioning and recommissioning costs and eliminates any health and safety risks associated with working at height.

The detectors have dual outupts, so emergency lighting can be tested without the expense of a special, single-function controller or any hard wiring. These emergency tests can be carried out using the remote control.

‘Energy saving and reduced installation costs were the main drivers for installing lighting controls in this first phase,’ says Pattenden. ‘The retailer is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and employing the latest methods of energy conservation at its sites.’

The next step for Imtech G&H is to install lighting control and management systems in other areas in Phases 2 and 3 of the warehouse project.

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