Lighting the Gateway with Helvar Lighting Control Specialist

Helvar Lighting Project

Lighting the Gateway with Helvar Lighting Control Specialist

Helvar Lighting ProjectUtilising its specialist lighting control expertise to provide a solution suitable for six large school buildings, Helvar has recently completed work on the first BREEAM Outstanding rated education project in the UK – The Gateway to the Valleys School, located in Bridgend, South Wales.

With the school’s main atriums set up as an open teaching space with no local controls, it was crucial that the chosen system could be operated via web-browsing devices connected to the school’s wireless network. Helvar provided this through the installation of its BMS interface kit, Tridium Jace, which runs Niagara software – a platform that is able to integrate diverse systems and communicate with the 34 DALI router processor units installed on site.

All 32 of Helvar’s 910 routers installed were configured in this way using a standard Ethernet connection to combine multiple DALI networks. With security a key concern in a school environment, Helvar was able to fine-tune the system so that different users could be afforded varying levels of access by making the system password protected.

Other internal areas of the school including classrooms, the main hall and sports hall, were fitted with DALI luminaires controlled with PIR detectors and sensors that are integrated into the lighting control system to detect movement within the unit range and respond accordingly to changes in occupancy levels. A preferred lighting scene can be recalled on a keypad or retractive switch, so that the lights are not on unnecessarily.

At Gateway to the Valleys school, the scene set up was ‘absence only’ with the sensors detecting when a room was empty and the lights triggering off after ten minutes of absence. The sensors are also able to detect the ambient light levels and remain at a specific lux level in accordance with this; automatically dimming or raising as the ambient light level changes.

Working in this way, the lights can be maintained at an optimal level – not too bright or too dim – while also providing additional energy savings by ensuring that the lights are not on unnecessarily.

Adding extra flexibility for the teacher, also integrated into the system is the ability to control the lighting surrounding the windows and whiteboard area. The row of lights around the whiteboard are controlled using a retractive switch, where the teacher can simply switch them on and off, or raise them and dim them, depending on their preference. The same can be done with the lights near the window – which can be altered in accordance with the natural daylight.

For the main hall and sports hall, the lighting system needed to be flexibly controlled via scene setters, users have the ability to dim or raise the lights by using pre-set levels for different events, for example sporting activities require increased lighting levels – working in this way, the lighting can be tailored towards specific requirements and activities taking place.

Externally, the system controls a photocell, which reads the outdoor light levels and can adjust the lighting accordingly, with external lighting only being triggered during dark days and evenings. Helvar’s integration of open protocols on this project was key – DMX colour control lighting was integrated into the lighting control system and was used externally to light the front statues.

Hywel Morton, Project Manager at Whitehead Building Services, who specified Helvar for the project, commented: “For such a large school it was crucial to implement a lighting control system where everything was fully integrated and could be controlled simply, as well as affording practicality and flexibility, with scene settings and pre-sets available so each room could be specifically tailored to individual needs. For this, Helvar’s control system was perfect, providing a complete and fully integrated system that could also be altered to suit the requirements that come with a school.”

Commenting on Helvar’s work at Gateway to the Valleys School, Peter van der Kolk, Business Development Director at Helvar said: “Helvar are proud to be part of this, the first BREEAM Outstanding rated education project in the UK. Our lighting control solutions are tailored to meet the specific requirements if each individual project.” He continued, “At the Gateway to the Valleys school we have delivered a lighting control solution that stands up to the environmental and human centric demands of the built environment today.”

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