Light Refreshment

The rising sophistication of emergency lighting systems implies that in addition to being a significant a half of a building’s life security infrastructure they’ll also save money and scale back CO2 emissions thanks to the advantages intelligent LED-based solutions with advanced battery know-how have over conventional techniques.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of being in an unfamiliar building when a fire alarm is activated or a major lighting failure has occurred will understand the true worth of an emergency lighting system. Although we often take these familiar green and white signs for granted, emergency lighting’s function, as a half of an total life safety system, ought to by no means be underestimated. Recent years have witnessed vital developments in the know-how deployed in these methods, with the result that they now provide a degree of intelligence that mixes vitality efficiency with reliability and ease-of-use.
Bad Behaviour
The method during which we use power is continually in the spotlight and if additional proof was required of the necessity for all of us to address our behaviour it came in a 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It said that scientists are 95 percent certain that we’re the ‘dominant cause’ of global warming since the 1950s.
This may not come as much of a surprise. However, via larger consciousness of the effects of CO2, mixed with the financial implications of rising utility bills, organisations are extra keen and in a position than ever to use vitality properly. Growing laws and regulation signifies that businesses everywhere in the world are implementing power discount measures. The focus is often on adopting renewable energy technologies similar to solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and ground and air source warmth pumps as ways to generate power, whereas others are using building management systems (BMS) to realize a holistic view of their power use and determine methods to lower their consumption.
However, the strain is on to do even more, which is why building house owners and managers are having to drill down and look at particular person parts of their constructing services infrastructures to see whether there any additional financial savings can be made.
Light Years Ahead
Modern emergency lighting methods provide the likelihood for significant vitality and value financial savings. This is because of two key factors – the use of gentle emitting diode (LED) based lighting and superior battery know-how.
Traditional emergency lighting methods utilise crude nickel cadmium, nickel metallic hydride or lead acid batteries. They drive the centrally operated system by continually charging, discharging somewhat and then recharging – a process that makes use of unnecessary quantities of vitality and shortly decreases the lifecycle of the battery. It implies that battery life is limited to between one and 4 years, dependent upon the appliance.
State-of-the-art intelligent know-how, nonetheless, utilises only the quantity of energy wanted to totally charge the emergency lighting batteries, and then shuts the battery down till an emergency situation happens. This avoids degradation, prolongs life and reduces vitality consumption. Some systems are also out there with luminaires that are equipped with integral batteries permitting continued operation for a minimum of three hours, even in instances the place the control panel or power cables are broken. Maintained luminaires could be powered instantly from the line so as to not have an effect on any battery capability therefore leaving the batteries in an “always ready” state.
So what kind of power savings can be made as a result? It is estimated that clever battery techniques use between five and ten p.c energy of that a traditional battery system would use. Consider larger installations of as a lot as 5,000 luminaires – which are not uncommon in hospitals, for example – and the savings soon turn out to be obvious.
Bright Spark
It is estimated that lighting accounts for greater than 19 % of the world’s complete electrical energy consumption. According to Green LED Solutions, if only half of worldwide lighting was transformed to LED by 2025, energy use can be reduce by 120GW, saving £66 billion a yr and decreasing CO2 emissions from energy crops by 350Mt over the same period.
LED lighting has seen speedy adoption and the worldwide market was price $25.four billion in 2013, according to a Digitimes Research Special Report. LED technology is both price effective and environmentally friendly, making it a greener various to other methods which might be presently obtainable and allowing working prices to be kept to a minimum with out compromising effectivity.
LED technology is now being utilized in emergency lighting techniques and these new luminaires supply some spectacular financial savings. For occasion, they devour lower than zero.5W, while an analogous 8W fluorescent light exit luminaire will use approximately 12W. These systems also include further energy saving options, together with signage that’s related through low voltage 40V cabling, which is powered and configured on the identical loop via a single panel, giving excessive levels of control via an automatic system.
Testing Times
All emergency lighting techniques must be tested on a monthly basis in compliance with BS EN 50172. The test itself normally involves flicking a handbook swap, which interrupts the ability provide to the luminaire, in order that it illuminates. A full record sheet must be maintained for each emergency luminaire and entered right into a logbook, which have to be out there for inspection by the authorities at any time. Failure to provide full check records can end result in authorized action and closure of the building, and if the emergency lighting is defective, the insurance policy for the building could additionally be invalid.
On the floor this all appears affordable and fulfils the necessities of the Standard, however, the testing process itself is flawed and does not essentially lead to a safe and totally functional system. All it does is check that the system works for a quantity of seconds when the guide switch is operated – what happens if the system fails 5 minutes after the test? It will not be retested for an additional month, so may depart a building’s occupants weak within the meantime.
Also, it does not take a look at only for how lengthy the luminaires will keep on and whether or not the battery has enough power to maintain up operation for the interval specified in the relevant standards. The time required to evacuate the premises is dependent upon its dimension and complexity. The duration itself relies not solely on evacuation time but also on whether or not the premises are evacuated instantly the facility and normal lighting fails and/or are reoccupied instantly the availability is restored.
BS EN 50172 states the minimal length of an emergency lighting system as one hour. However, a minimal period of three hours must be used for emergency lighting if the premises usually are not evacuated immediately, as in the case of sleeping accommodation, for example, or if the premises will be reoccupied immediately the availability is restored with out ready for the batteries to be recharged. It also wants to be noted that to adjust to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) one hundred and one Life Safety Code, emergency lights are required to remain lit for ninety minutes.
Modern emergency lighting control panels constantly monitor and test performance in real time. They can be pre-programmed to carry out specific month-to-month, six monthly and annual exams and additionally it is attainable to set operational parameters as a lot as alert when batteries are at eighty five percent capacity, providing a high level of reassurance that the system will work appropriately under all circumstances.
Lighting consumes 19 p.c of all electricity on the planet.
The first LED system was crafted in 1907 by Captain H J Round, a British radio technology pioneer and a private assistant to Guglielmo Marconi.
Nick Holonyak Jr is taken into account ‘the father of the fashionable LED’. In 1962, while working at General Electric, he developed the primary virtually functional visible spectrum LED gadget for business use.
In 2009, a typical 13W LED lamp emitted 450-650 lumens, which is equal to a standard 40W incandescent bulb. LEDs have become extra environment friendly, so that now a 6W LED can easily achieve the same results.
LEDs produce a protracted service lifetime of between 50,000 hours and a hundred,000 hours. This compares with 2,000-5,000 hours for a halogen bulb and eight,000 hours to 15,000 hours for a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).
Unlike CFLs LEDs don’t comprise mercury and can be more safely disposed of.
LEDs emit no ultraviolet radiation (UV) or infrared (IR), which makes them perfect to illuminate costly objects similar to pictures, collections, work and so on.
LEDs produce more light than warmth, which makes them the safest type of lighting and reduces the danger of fires.
Right Place, Right Time
Evacuation is usually hindered by a scarcity of detailed information of the internal connectivity of the constructing space, along with complicated and poorly thought out instructions. Studies have also proven that in these conditions occupants often make use of familiar routes – sometimes utilizing the exit via which they entered the constructing. Even extra worryingly, analysis from the University of Greenwich, as a half of its research referred to as Human Behaviour in Fire Network (HUBFIN), discovered that solely 38 % of people see passive signage in an emergency. This is a frightening statistic and only serves to highlight the importance of siting an emergency lighting system in a means that may information people to a protected location in the occasion of a mains lighting failure.
BS EN 50172 provides steering on the positioning of luminaires, offers a minimal normal that ought to be applied and offers steering on specific hazards and points of emphasis that need to be accounted for. Points of emphasis are obligatory locations where lighting should spotlight specific hazards, security gear and indicators. These embrace areas near stairs, near adjustments of stage, at each change of path, close to firefighting gear and guide call points, outdoors and close to to every ultimate exit, first assist points, at exit doorways, and near security indicators.
Signs are either internally of externally illuminated and the utmost viewing distances for internally illuminated indicators is 200 occasions the panel height, and a hundred occasions the panel peak for externally illuminated signs. Luminaires must supply 1Lux of output in escape routes and 0.5Lux in open areas. Emergency lighting also wants to be positioned in such a means to guarantee that people are free from disability glare, which might stop obstructions or signs from being properly seen.
It is worth remembering that Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL) approved products are independently examined and meet the current product and utility standards. Therefore, choosing merchandise with ICEL approval will provide reassurance of compliance.
Look to the Future
The issues with passive signage are clear from the University of Greenwich’s HUBFIN analysis, which is why the mixing of fireplace detection and emergency lighting techniques is the subsequent step in including intelligence and greater effectiveness to a life safety infrastructure.
Rich lighting system does not enable signs to be ‘shut off’, which can enable folks to unwittingly travel into the path of hazard. In locations such as hospitals and care homes, the place individuals usually have restricted mobility, time is of the essence and should not be wasted by having to decipher probably the most appropriate escape route.
By integrating a fire detection system with emergency lighting, and by identifying where a hearth is taking place, the right route could be configured and communicated. For example, by responding to info despatched from the fire detectors it is possible to place a purple ‘X’ on specific emergency luminaires, which alerts to people not to exit by way of that exact route. This can be synchronised with the prevailing PA/VA system, including one other degree of safety.
Not only does integration make good sense from a security viewpoint, it has numerous cost saving and environmental benefits. It is estimated that it may reduce the entire system’s wiring content by 75 percent, as there could be just one loop with each functions.
Feature Packed
A appropriately specified, installed and maintained emergency lighting system is essential so as to give occupants a means of evacuating a constructing safely in the occasion of a mains lighting failure, or if required, a fireplace. The laws, standards and steering on this subject are complete and the advanced LED lighting and battery technology that is now available combines reliability, performance and usability with one other method to save power.

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