Lighting the way to a fully connected university with smartphone-accessible controls system

A London university has had a smartphone-accessible DALI control system installed, which means operators can independently manage the building’s lighting using an app 

The University of Roehampton, in the Borough of Wandsworth, planned to redevelop the Sir David Bell Building – named after the businessman, publisher and philanthropist who is also chair of council at the university – on the Digby Stuart Campus. This involved remodelling and extending two adjacent buildings to consolidate and improve facilities for the department of media, culture and languages.  

This included the creation of specialist teaching areas including film, television and sound studios, a 90+ seat cinema, photographic studios, cutting/editing suites and a flexible creative project space for the university’s new digital media course.  

The scheme was also designed to provide accommodation for university-wide students facing support facilities such as academic services, audio visual resources, digital learning and IT services.  

Seminar rooms were created to promote collaborative learning through a variety of flexible layouts; supported by extensive social learning and ‘commons’ spaces including the creation of a glazed courtyard. 

The University of Roehampton appointed mechanical and electrical building services engineering company, Michael Jones & Associates, based in Reigate, to design a new lighting control system, specifically for the Sir David Bell Building development. 

The brief was that the university required a system which would enable staff to control lighting themselves with the added benefit of reducing energy usage. Typically, lighting can account for around 25 per cent of a university’s energy costs. Nationwide lighting controls specialist BEG Lighting Controls were approached by Michael Jones to provide a user friendly and flexible lighting control system to meet the university’s control criteria.  

BEG Lighting Controls proposed the BEG DALI-LINK system which offers flexible, scalable DALI lighting control and, because it is Bluetooth-enabled it is easy to configure and change as room uses evolve, from changing scenes to adjusting the lights brightness. This DALI addressable system can be programmed simply and quickly using a smartphone and using the free-to-download BEG app.  

BEG Lighting Controls Specification Director, Tom Greenrod, said: “The controls system was mapped out and approved for use by the university in the majority of areas such as teaching rooms, open plan and cellular offices, seminar rooms, studios, computer labs and in the cinema/lecture theatre where occupancy detection and/or scene control was required. 

“In the teaching rooms, the university required constant light level control with absence detection and a scene for presenting. This was achieved using a mains power supply and a DALI bus linking all of the luminaires, the DALI-LINK multi-sensor and a push button module. This module was located behind a two-gang switch plate with two push to make retractive switches.  

“One switch was used for absence and daylight linking and the second for a pre-set scene. The multi-sensor in this situation was used in absence mode but can also be used in presence mode or even work as a photocell. These changes are made to the settings via the BEG app. There is an option for de-activating the multi-sensor if required.  

“The lecture theatre required six scenes and this was achieved using the Bluetooth push button module and a second non-Bluetooth module. Using a second push button module the number of scenes available is increased to eight. A maximum of 16 scenes can be obtained using four modules.  

As the BEG DALI-LINK is app-based system it is very easy to make changes to settings and store them. To protect these settings from sabotage a pin code can be set up to limit access to designated users.”   

The DALI-LINK system can also provide orientation lighting to give some illumination to an area when it is unoccupiedavoiding unlit areas and providing safe and secure environment. There is also another option, called the ‘Follow Me’ feature where lighting will ramp up and down in relation to the movement of a person. This is beneficial in corridors and in stairwells to minimise the energy usage. 

In the remaining areas where a less flexible lighting control solution was required, BEG Lighting Controls used DALI broadcast sensors. At the end of the project, a handover was carried out and training given to university staff by BEG specialists to ensure operators were fully aware of how to use the system and and how changes could be made if required.   

BEG Lighting Controls sales director for UK and Ireland, Paul Jones, said: “BEG is proud to have been involved in this fantastic project with the University of Roehampton working alongside Michael Jones & Associates. 

“The university required a clear and defined lighting control solution which would enable them to operate lighting themselves and, as a consequence, reduce its energy costsDALI-LINK is easy to use and enables university staff to control room lighting and scene selection individually at a touch of a button from a smartphone using the BEG app. 

We‘re delighted to have delivered a solution with the proven DALI-LINK system which will provide the university with substantial monetary and energy savings.”

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