Gatwick Airport – North Terminal

London’s first carbon-neutral airport hits energy management KPIs with precision-engineered LED system – Dextra Lighting and LEDextra took on the challenge to create a bespoke solution for Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal that would produce more light with less than half the electricity. The customised retrofit solution saved the airport 54% in energy usage, reduced maintenance and minimised waste by re-using some existing luminaire housings.


About the client

In spring 2017, Gatwick Airport launched a five-year investment plan worth over £1bn to upgrade and expand its facilities. This year alone, the airport will spend an estimated £240m on the transformation project, aiming to attract new customers, cope with rising demand and boost operational efficiency.

Despite years of record growth, Gatwick has set an example for sustainable practice in the aviation sector. Through its Decade of Change Programme, the airport has strengthened its green credentials by making steady progress in its ambition to reduce energy consumption by 20% and carbon emissions by 50% (against a1990 baseline) by 2020.

Competition amongst London Airports is fierce but Gatwick has managed to stay on top, growing by a record 3.2 million passengers last year (8% compared to 2015/16) increasing its share of the London market to 26%. Despite this, the airport strives to balance growth with sustainability, as construction director Raymond Melee confidently states: “As we plan to grow towards 50 million passengers per annum, we will focus on efficiency and service so that our passengers continue to receive the airport experience they expect, in the most sustainable manner possible.”

When Dextra Lighting was finally approached for the latest upgrade of Gatwick’s North Terminal facilities, it was clear that the airport would not compromise on either sustainability or service excellence. The partnership reflected the airport’s Energy Management Action Plan as the project involved investing in low carbon technology and “working with partners to drive improvements in waste management that improve our energy consumption profiles”.

Competition for the large-scale development contract was also tight. Gatwick goes the extra mile to procure not only the highest quality products, technology and services for the development and maintenance of its facilities, but also ensures that partnering contractors and suppliers would reflect its strong commitment to the environment.

With a portfolio of successes at a number of UK airports including Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast, Gatwick were reassured that Dextra Group had the manufacturing, design, transport and recycling capabilities to meet the high-specifications of the project, not to mention the extensive range of precision-engineered LED products and intelligent lighting controls.


Dextra Group (working to concept designs developed by Gatwick based Lighting Design Consultancy – StudioFractal) was to provide its total service deploying its various subsidiaries – from surveying and design, manufacture and assembly, right through to delivery and installation.

Gatwick allocated a total of £19.2m for the upgrade of its North Terminal baggage reclaim and check-in areas. A portion of this budget was dedicated to updating the existing fluorescent lighting to a sensor-controlled LED system. Airport terminals are portals from one country to another. This is where impressions count and lighting designs are crucial to maintain a strong visual identity and communicate to the passenger.

The main design aim was to increase light levels and quality whilst reducing energy usage and maintenance costs compared to the existing fluorescent fittings. The airport specifically wanted to include high-output luminaires in the design but make drastic cuts to energy consumption. All products were to conform with the airport’s modernised brand and renovated interior design and offer full compliance to airport safety and emergency regulations.

The project would test Dextra Group’s bespoke and design capabilities – customising some existing products to suit the application as well as providing retrofit solutions that would integrate seamlessly and efficiently into the existing infrastructure. Retrofit solutions would adapt to the airport’s Building Management System (BMS), connection points, and architecture and existing central battery units.

By selecting high-quality products featuring the latest LM80-verified LED sources and reliable drivers, the new installation would require minimal maintenance by eliminating the need for frequent lamp changes compared to conventional fluorescent alternatives.

Old fittings and electrical equipment were to be disposed of or recycled quickly and efficiently according to WEEE regulations.



The Runway Surface/Suspended Continuous – Main Entrance & Check-In Area

The Runway range of luminaires is designed for maximum design flexibility. At once architectural and practical, the luminaire can be seamlessly integrated into any interior or configured, and reconfigured, to dramatic effect.

The Runway can be fashioned into a discreet or show-stopping solution depending on what is needed. With the versatility to be surface-mounted or suspended, standalone or in continuous runs, combined with corner sections, output packages in various lengths and optional bi-directional distribution – the luminaire allows designers to be creative with layouts and lighting effects to transform any space into an attractive and alluring environment for occupants enjoy.

The list of options does not end there, however. The luminaire is also available with integral emergency, white tuneable and dimming options, two optic styles, minimalist opal finish or microprism for compliance with the BSEN12464 3000 candela limit and UGR (Unified Glare Rating) 19 for areas where monitors are in use. Taking this flexibility a step further, LEDextra, Dextra Group’s specialised components subsidiary, stepped in to customise this product to Gatwick’s exact requirements – allowing the Runway to offer options beyond those already at its disposal.

A seamless showstopper – An impeccable retrofit solution using the latest RGB LED sources and bespoke gear trays

With the aid of LEDextra’s extensive range of high-quality components and on-site assembly capabilities, the Runway’s gear trays were manufactured in custom-sized lengths to fit the measurements of the previous fluorescent installation, which were then assembled in raft formations. These square configurations were suspended within deep skylight niches in the ceiling which, due to the reflectances produced by the luminaire’s bi-directional optics, acted as glowing light chambers.

The luminaires were equipped with the latest high-performance Lumileds RGB LED sources from LEDextra and DALI dimming drivers, allowing each niche to be tuned to a desired colour and dimmed as required.

The modified Runway gear trays were customised for high-level applications offering an increased light output and wider distribution.

Bespoke connection points and DALI compatibility were also made in-house for easy wiring and full control from the terminal’s centralised BMS system. Staff can now adjust the level and colour of the lights to suit changes in corporate theme as well as benefit from the existing energy-saving sensor functions for daylight regulation.

With LEDextra’s modifications, the luminaire features a bi-directional distribution that produces white 4000k light, directed downward, to aid the checking of documents and interactions with staff whilst a red or blue uplight offered a decorative and colour branding purposes. The colours also help passengers locate certain check-in areas from a distance, making it easier to navigate by dividing the large open plan into clear sections.

The wide corridor of the main entrance was brightened up by bespoke luminaries fitted in close succession to one another – filling up the grooved recesses in the ceiling. Here, the gear trays provided were also tailored to seamlessly fit into the existing trunking system, enabling a hassle-free and cost-effective installation. By increasing the number of luminaires in each row, lux levels were significantly raised compared to the previous, sparser luminaire arrangement.