COLEG GWENT “INVEST TO SAVE”

The educational sector has never had to be more adaptable and resilient in order to succeed. Amidst the tides of restricting budgets and rising expectations, schools and universities have to provide high standards of education whilst attending to broader objectives such as social inclusion, eradicating poverty, contributing to economic growth, and nurturing sustainable culture and communities. All these issues inevitably require the funds to tackle them appropriately.

The educational sector has never had to be more adaptable and resilient in order to succeed. Amidst the tides of restricting budgets and rising expectations, schools and universities have to provide high standards of education whilst attending to broader objectives such as social inclusion, eradicating poverty, contributing to economic growth, and nurturing sustainable culture and communities. All these issues inevitably require the funds to tackle them appropriately.

What has this got to do with lighting? Well, the answer, quite simply comes down to money. Energy-efficient lighting upgrades have become increasingly popular with schools and colleges, as they can generate significant financial savings through one simple, affordable and immediate solution.

With lighting amounting to roughly 40% of an average school’s utility bill, high-quality LED sources such as the latest LM80-verified Lumileds LEDs utilised by Dextra Group, can offer energy savings of approximately 70% compared to conventional HID or fluorescent sources. Add intelligent sensor control to the equation, and both the financial and environmental viability of a building will drastically improve, with new systems offering clients extremely fast payback rates and prolonged returns on investment.

The durability and long-life of these LED chips also guarantees a significant reduction in maintenance costs, as not only do they have a lower failure rate compared to conventional lamps, but also offer a lumen maintenance (measure of sustained brightness) of up to 90% for the first 60,000 hours. Luminaires can therefore perform as they were originally intended, for longer, without the expense and disruption of frequently servicing them.

With the government constantly setting new targets towards achieving a low-carbon economy, investments into LED upgrades in all sectors, are often encouraged through a number of sponsored funding programmes and tax incentives. Dextra Group for example, has been supplying educational establishments around the UK with ECA compliant luminaires and control technology, which are eligible to a 100% tax levy upon purchase. In addition, energy-efficient lighting also enhances an establishment’s performance in the nationwide Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme, leading to further financial benefits.

For the public sector, efficiency measures such as these are a godsend, as they allow for taxpayer money to be used more effectively to deliver the best education possible to the UK population.

Coleg Gwent and the “Invest to Save” fund

Coleg Gwent, one of the largest and best performing colleges in Wales, recently signed up for the “Invest to Save – Green Growth” funding programme, offering a flexible, interest-free loan to transform its estate and infrastructure. The programme, developed in a collaboration between Salix Finance and the Welsh Government, is largely modelled on the existing SEELS (Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme), whose precept is to repay loans with the energy savings of a proposed efficiency scheme. Successful applications require well-defined and researched procurement strategies and design proposals, showing a clear prospect for both financial and environmental sustainability in the long-run whilst involving reputable consultants and suppliers.

As the contract was tendered against an open market, many lighting manufacturers and suppliers flooded in to be involved in the project. As Coleg Gwent boasts a number of green credentials, including being the only Further Education organisation in Wales to achieve ISO 9001, ISO 14001, BS OHSAS 18001 and Level 5 of the Green Dragon Environmental Management Standards, it ran a meticulous selection process, requiring all candidates to be on the same page with regards to sustainability and present a long list of documentation to demonstrate their competence. Coleg Gwent has also been an EAUC (Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges) member since 2011, taking an extra step towards achieving the collective goal of a zero carbon economy.

Dextra Group’s international and British standard certifications, ample insurance and liability covers, and multiple industry awards were instrumental in securing the contract, as was the ability to produce this information promptly and efficiently. However, this would’ve meant very little if the products did not meet the college’s high standards and specific needs. By producing a range of sample products, Coleg Gwent were able to perform a thorough inspection, scrutinising each luminaire for their performance, energy-efficiency and look.

Successfully clearing this stage, Dextra Group’s design and specification team and LDD’s appointed consultants, surveyed the five campuses in question on multiple occasions, to design the most efficient, cost-effective bespoke solution possible for Coleg Gwent. and Camelot Electrical’s technicians were responsible for installing Dextra’s new lighting systems in a diverse set of locations including: engineering and construction workshops, an equestrian centre, dressing rooms, fashion studios, corridors and stairwells. The new lighting was destined to work alongside existing biomass boilers, solar panels, voltage optimisation transformers, and natural ventilation systems to minimise the estate’s carbon footprint.

From design, manufacture, payback calculations, insurances and delivery right through to commissioning support and legal disposal of old fixtures, Dextra Group worked quickly and efficiently within the tight schedules common to the educational sector. During this time, staff and students alike were offered an induction session on the system’s sensor control functions features.

“From design, manufacture, payback calculations, insurances and delivery right through to commissioning support and legal disposal of old fixtures, Dextra Group worked quickly and efficiently within the tight schedules common to the educational sector.”

THE PRODUCTS

To provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution for each area, a wide spectrum of luminaires and lighting controls were carefully selected from Dexeco, Dextra Lighting and Dexsor product ranges.

Eco Impervia LED – Construction Centre / Equestrian Centre (Manége) / Auto Tech Assessment Centre / Engineering and Carpentry Workshop

Various versions of the Eco Impervia LED were specified for high-level areas requiring additional protection, premium performance and integral sensor control. The luminaire’s IP65-rated glass reinforced polyester (GRP) construction and polycarbonate diffuser are ideal for both interior and exterior applications, offering increased protection for dirty, dusty and potentially wet areas such as the construction, engineering and carpentry workshops. The luminaire’s cover is also secured by sturdy stainless steel clips with screw fixings to provide tooled access as per regulations. As the name suggest, the luminaire is designed to be eco-friendly, minimising energy consumption by using the latest Lumileds LEDs and Tridonic control gear. This technology, paired with efficient optic design, allows the

luminaire to offer an LOR of 90% while performing at an average efficiency of 140 luminaire lumens per circuit watt, making it an ideal choice for low energy projects. To add to these energy saving properties, a number of integral sensor control and dimming options are made available with this range.

In all the designated areas, luminaires were assembled with integral sensors from Dexsor’s Reacta range, including the R25E microwave sensor, which offers accurate presence detection when paired with the system’s digital dimming function. In other locations requiring both daylight and presence detection, luminaires were installed with the R44 sensor; maximising savings by responding to occupancy patterns and harvesting daylight savings simultaneously.

LED technology has also allowed the luminaire to be manufactured in a wide range of output packages, starting from a 2464llm, to as high as 18,630llm, without compromising full compliance to ECA energy-efficiency criteria. With multiple lumen outputs, body sizes and configurations (twin or single), the ECO Impervia can be tailored to the exact requirements of each design brief, maximising efficiency and performance whilst adapting to the building’s architecture.

Ecopack LED – Engineering & Carpentry Workshop

The Ecopack LED was selected to minimise energy and maintenance costs, raise light levels and perform a cost-effective installation in the technical workshops. The luminaire features a matching footprint to a typical fluorescent batten, enabling a quick one-to-one replacement of existing fittings. A practical rear spine with an incorporated gear tray and diffuser with quick release push buttons also allowed for hassle-free electrical connection and mounting onto the ceiling beams. Compatible with a range of integral sensors and dimming options, the Ecopack brought the functionality of Dexsor’s R44 sensor, which includes presence detection, daylight regulation and remote control programming, without incurring the cost of extra modifications to the external wiring needed for standalone sensors. Camelot Electrical’s technicians were therefore able to mount and commission the entire system quickly and easily to satisfy the clients exact needs.

In terms of performance, the ECA and L2 compliant luminaire combines a high-transmission curved opal diffuser with industry leading Lumileds LED sources to offer high LORs at an average efficiency of 130llm. With lumen outputs of up to 7992llm and a range of optics across three luminaire sizes, designers have the flexibility to tailor this product to a variety of room sizes and ceiling heights. Due to the workshop’s high ceilings of over 5m, a high-rack optic was supplied to provide a more directional light distribution at the desired lux level and uniform coverage. Sensor lenses were also adapted to offer the most suitable detection range for each area.