Ashford Borough Council
Dextra Lighting’s LED solutions and intelligent lighting controls help create a brighter, greener, safer and more professional setting for Ashford Borough Council’s business and policy negotiations.
Ashford – “A Place to Invest”
With the government not supporting local authorities like they used to, Ashford Borough Council has taken its future into its own hands. Recognised as one of the most entrepreneurial local authorities in UK history, it has adopted a corporate management strategy aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in a bid to benefit local taxpayers.
As Cllr Neil Shorter, portfolio holder for finance, budget and resource management, explains: “We continue to earn money through our commercial approach, rather than relying on central government or our residents for this additional income. It has helped us to set the lowest council tax in Kent once again, while maintaining services for the benefit of our residents.”
This commercial approach is centred around investment and connectivity. With its high-speed and international rail links, as well as plans to increase its motorway capacity, the town is strategically located to build fruitful bridges with London and Europe. Accompanied by the acquisition of land and commercial buildings, Ashford is increasing its global appeal by investing in the newly expanded Designer Outlet, a regenerated town centre, modernised office buildings, upmarket residential developments and of course infrastructure as part of its ambitious “Big 8” development project.
To appeal to global investors however, the council needs to look the part. The recent refurbishment of its offices in Tannery Lane was a clear announcement that Ashford is open for business and ready to forge new and fruitful relationships. As Cllr Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, said, “When we are promoting Ashford as the place to invest, grow your business and create jobs, it is important we have the right environment to meet and talk to developers and investors and we set the right impression”.
LED – A strategy for the future
The £70,000 office renovation project was as much a statement as it was a commitment towards building a stronger Ashford. In participation with other local partners such as Edmundson Electrical Ltd of Ashford, Dextra Lighting delivered a lighting installation that would help the council project an image of trust and competence to investors whilst being an example of sustainable best practice.
Investment in the highest quality and well-designed LED systems shows a commitment towards the environmental and financial impact that comes with development and growth. By keeping the building’s energy usage and maintenance costs to a minimum, Ashford will be able to free up capital for frontline services or its many commercial enterprises.
The council will also save money by improving its performance in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment league by keeping its C02 emissions low. Nowadays, energy management has become a vital part of building a strong reputation for organisations in both private and public sectors.
Via this combination of savings, the installation will pay for itself within a short payback period, making the investment too attractive for the business-minded council to miss in a time when energy costs are constantly on the rise, as are the demands on organisations to reduce carbon footprint.
“By keeping the building’s energy usage and maintenance costs to a minimum, Ashford will be able to free up capital for frontline services or its many commercial enterprises”
Dextra Lighting were approached by the council to upgrade the office’s existing fluorescent lighting to a future-proof LED. The process involved thorough site-surveys, accurate light mapping, payback calculations, and a close collaboration between Dextra’s in-house design team, council staff, electrical installers and interior designers to achieve the best
result for Ashford’s new business headquarters.
New lighting had to be designed, manufactured and delivered for the downstairs offices and the converted second floor that was previously left unused.
As Cllr Clarkson’s vision was that, “the changes” would “also make an improved working environment for staff”, the installation was to comply to all the latest UK guidelines and standards for optimal office lighting whilst adhering to all relevant safety regulations.
The lighting would need to seamlessly integrate with the building’s architecture and conform to the council’s new corporate theme.
The cost-effectiveness of the installation was to extend beyond the energy-efficiency of the luminaires themselves by keeping the initial installation and ongoing maintenance costs low. Customised sensor functionality and user-friendly controls were key requirements to allow staff to adjust the lighting and sensors however they see fit without incurring the extra cost of calling out specialised technicians for commissioning.
Dextra Lighting’s extensive range of LED products are manufactured using the latest LM-verified 3535 HE Lumileds LEDs, offering 90% lumen maintenance for the first 60,000 operating hours and feature highly efficient optical designs to make the most of these sources. The project would therefore be able to fulfil ETL (Energy Technology List) energy-efficiency criteria, making the council eligible to the ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowance) scheme offering 100% tax levy for the first year of purchase.
Sustainable practice was to be observed until the final stages of the project, with Dexreco, Dextra Group Plc’s AATF registered luminaire recycling subsidiary, promptly collecting and recycling all the old fixtures in accordance to WEEE regulations.
MODLED Surface / Suspended Office – Offices
Designed specifically for office applications, the MODLED Office Surface / Suspended brought maximum visual clarity and comfort to each office at minimal energy and maintenance costs. The luminaire ensures superb light quality with its high-performance Lumileds LED source and dual-optic design featuring a central microprism panel and a high-transmission opal diffuser surround Together, these elements create a perfect balance between glare control and light intensity, allowing the installation to achieve the CIBSE recommended 400Lux for offices using cost-effective luminaire spacings of as wide as 3m by 3m.
The MODLED Office Surface complies to the latest BSEN 12464 3000 candela glare limit per metre squared above 65 degrees and UGR (Unified Glare Rating) 19 required for areas where monitors are in constant use, as well as comfortably meeting L2 standards and eligibility to the ECA tax scheme. This triple compliance package makes the MODLED Office the ideal choice for office environments that are looking to impress without breaking the bank, whilst prioritising both staff wellbeing and energy-efficiency without compromising on performance.
The luminaire can be tailored to suit a variety of office spaces and meeting rooms with output packages from 1900llm to 7422llm in either 600 x 600mm or 1200 x 600mm sizes and, as the name suggest, can be either surface-mounted or suspended. To provide optimum light levels with the most efficient and economic luminaire spaces, forty-five 3310llm versions of the luminaire were installed in both open plan and smaller offices. Luminaires were supplied with 4000k light sources providing a comfortable “cool-white” colour temperature. The result was a bright and uniformly lit working area for staff to enjoy, compliant with all health and safety guidelines.