Established over 50 years ago, Portafina is a leading UK provider of Financial Advice & Pension Planning services, helping people to get the most from their savings, now and in the future. A distinctly innovative and forward-thinking company, Portafina currently employs over 130 people and continues to expand year upon year.
In 2015, after moving into their new offices in Rochester, Kent, the company proceeded to implement a full programme of scheduled refurbishments and improvements, with the goal of lowering their carbon footprint, reducing energy usage, saving money, and enhancing the working environment for staff and visitors. This programme was in part aided by a £10,000 LoCASE (Low Carbon Across the South East) grant; part of an EU-funded project established to help SMEs tackle and adapt to climate change.
Forming part of this refurbishment programme, Portafina sought to replace their existing inefficient fluorescent tube lighting with contemporary low energy LED units across all four floors. Their current T8 fluorescent units looked extremely dated and were beginning to fail regularly, so it made sense to update the lighting throughout the building and put the money saved toward recouping their expenditure over time.
Commercial Director Bob Stark approached Dextra after the company had experienced a botched refurbishment by their previous facilities management company, who had installed incorrect LED panels in their offices, causing a high level of glare from the computer screens and an increase in health & safety complaints due to the intensity of the new lighting. This unsuccessful job had left the Rochester Portafina offices with inconsistent and inefficient lighting, with some office areas reaching as much as 1200 lux at desk level.
“The lighting project proved to be a huge success, exceeding the required energy savings by over 10%, with a tremendous energy saving of 71% compared with the old lighting. ”
The client was looking for an alternative manufacturer or supplier who could amend their current lighting issues and design a brand new lighting plan which would meet the correct building standards, making sure the lux levels are the same throughout the office. The offices also had little to no existing emergency lighting systems in place so ideally these also needed to be installed. Finally, the client wanted to secure a reliable warranty and aftercare service of at least five years following installation, to provide peace of mind, particularly after their previous bad experience.
The lights needed to fit into Portafina’s existing 600 x 600 lay-in grid system. It was also crucial they produce a comfortable light quality ideal for an office environment, and that they pay for themselves within five years, through reduced energy and maintenance costs.
As part of their commitment to energy savings, the client wanted to use the LoCASE government grant which required us to achieve an energy reduction of at least 60% over the existing installation.
Orlando Filugelli of Vitech Services Ltd was the contractor for the project. Dextra initially made the short list due to the ideal fit and spec of our MODLED Office lighting listed. The company conducted their due diligence background research on our company which confirmed to them our credentials as a respected manufacturer, and this led to a follow-up meeting attended by our representative, David Best. During this meeting, the client discussed their requirements for the entire building in greater detail, and David took measurements and readings to create a bespoke proposal. David’s proposal included all the technical information required for the client’s calculations and that of the LoCASE energy grant they were to apply for.
After presenting three different designs, we were thrilled to learn Dextra would be taking on the job. The client decided to use Dextra due to our level of service, the quality of our products, our short lead time (as they wanted to start the project ASAP) and the fact that we are a UK supplier. Their choice was also swayed by our competitive pricing and its inclusion of our Dexreco disposal service, which would remove any need to pay the contractor any fees to dispose of the existing fittings, thereby reducing project costs.
Our lighting design team opted to install MODLED Office 600 x 600 units throughout most of the offices. We chose these dimmable lights as the client particularly liked their style and their enhanced, softer quality of light compared with harsher edge-lit units. Their 600 x 600 dimensions also fitted the existing lay-in grid system. The MODLED lighting range is specifically designed for applications in which monitors are used, making this luminaire ideal for offices and schools. Combining L2 and BSEN 12464 compliance with optimum performance, Dextra’s MODLED Office LED lighting allows installations to be designed with fewer luminaires, lowering energy consumption and maintenance, while capitalising on cost-savings.
Following valuable feedback from testing different temperatures with a broader sample of their staff, the client selected to install 4000K units. They also chose to include a dimmable option and sensor controls, further improving energy savings and ROI in addition to enhancing the aesthetic and safety of the workplace.
Portafina were extremely happy with the aesthetic of the new Dextra Lighting, as well as the level of service they experienced, particularly during the initial design and optioning stages of the project.
Our in-house disposal service, Dexreco, provided recycling for the entire duration of the project, and all Dextra products installed were supplied with our standard 12-month warranty to ensure optimal aftercare. This warranty is further unwritten with Dextra’s ‘enhanced’ 5-year warranty, comprising all labour and parts for the initial three years and all free-of-charge components for the remaining two.