Lighting control makes savings

A leading UK high street retailer is on track to make energy savings of £30,000 a year at its half a million sq ft distribution warehouse in the Midlands. This is thanks to the installation of lighting control systems from Ex-Or, the Honeywell- owned lighting management specialist.

The retailer took over the business park unit early in 2010 and the refurbishment of the lighting system was undertaken by M & E contractors Imtech G&H Ltd.

Phase 1 of the contract comprised the upgrading of the lighting from SON discharge lamps units to more efficient 80w fluorescents installed in blocks of four in high bay fittings, controlled from a high level bus bar.

Imtech G&H project engineer Ian Pattenden explained that Phase 1 involved the part of the warehouse used as its national seasonal stock distribution centre: “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 were not capable of being controlled or dimmed effectively, nor did they suit the high density racking layout which extended upwards to 15 metres. We needed a minimum of 200 lux lighting level with the ability to control high level lighting.”

Presence detection

Ex-Or Hi-Bay LightSpot presence-detecting controls, specially designed to eliminate unnecessary use of lighting in buildings with greater ceiling heights, formed the basis of the lighting control system in the warehouse.

Distribution hubs and storage facilities such as this are increasing in height to enable operators to maximise the value of the land footprint occupied by the building. However, stacking higher can lead to higher energy costs – in particular, large internal areas can remain lit despite being unoccupied for much of the time.

Like all LightSpot systems, Hi-Bay employs presence detection technology which enables the lighting to respond to any movement that occurs, however small, when the monitored area is occupied. Anyone entering the monitored area automatically activates the lighting and subsequently sustains it by the movements they make as they go about their normal working activity. When the area is vacated, the lights automatically switch off.

In any warehouse and storage application, especially where there are a large number of racking aisles, precise lighting control is needed. The Ex-Or Hi-Bay LightSpot detectors provide a narrow angle of view despite the fact that they are mounted at great height. This means that much smaller and more precisely targeted internal areas can be monitored by Hi-Bay so that lighting can be delivered where it is needed with much greater precision.

Despite the height at which they are mounted (the internal height of the Midlands warehouse is 18 metres) Hi-Bay LightSpot controls can be easily programmed from ground level by using an infrared hand-held programmer. This significantly reduces commissioning and re-commissioning time costs and eliminates any health and safety risks associated with working at such heights.

Remote control

In a further enhancement, the Hi-Bay LightSpot detectors employed at the warehouse were dual-output, which allows the testing of emergency lighting to be carried out without the expense of a special, single-function controller or any hard wiring. The remote control hand-held programmer is used for the emergency lighting testing.

“Energy saving and reduced installation costs were the main drivers for installing Ex-Or lighting control in this first phase,” said Ian Pattenden. “The high street retailer has a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and to employing the latest methods of energy conservation in their facilities.”

In terms of cost, the retailer has an annual lighting bill of £150,000 for this warehouse facility. At a conservative estimate, the employment of Ex-Or lighting control is delivering a 20% reduction in electricity consumption. Taking the cost of the lighting control installation into account, this is giving the retailer a payback period of three years. The Ex-Or system will continue to deliver energy cost savings over the life of the installation.

Now Imtech G&H are installing Ex-Or lighting control and management systems into Phases 2 and 3 at the warehouse.

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