Education, News

University challenge: Count your lights in order to manage them

Knowing how many lights you've got in your university isn't as easy as you might think, says Bristol Uni's Ahmed Abubakir

LONDON– Managing lighting at any organisation can boil down to a simple numbers game of knowing how many lights you own, but that’s not always as easy as it might sound.

That was the message of a session here at LuxLive yesterday on how to manage lighting at universities, where fixtures can be spread across a multitude of buildings and remain out of sight of maintenance crews and facilities managers.

‘What you can’t see, you can’t manage,’ said Jim Huyton, project manager at Capita Property and Infrastructure, a buildings and property management firm.

‘The missing link in all this is information,’ agreed Alan Syme, lighting sales manager of energy services company Mitie . ‘You need to know how many lights you’ve got.’

That all resonated with Ahmed Abubakir, an electrical engineer in charge of special light projects at the Bristol University. Abubakir, who joined the university recently to help improve lighting, said he couldn’t yet be sure how many lights exist across the schools varied 380 buildings. That means that maintenance can be erratic, as the university relies largely on the buildings’ occupants to report outtages.

‘We are working on the lighting control strategy across the university,’ said Abubakir, noting that the university ultimately hopes to integrate lightin management into a buildings management system.

Abubakir might want to compare notes with Goldsmiths, University of London where they also practice maintenance on what head of energy and engineering Richard Groves called a ‘reactive basis’ but where they have counted up 10,000 luminaires that they are replacing with energy efficient LEDs.

While counting might not be as easy 1-2-3, panelists concurred that certain other simple measures can help quickly reduce lighting’s energy consumption. One of the top ones: ‘Encouraging staff to turn the lights off,’ said Kingsley Hull, project manager for 5th Energy, a Kingston Upon Thames energy consulting company that is helping Goldsmiths with its overhaul.

LuxLive continues today.

Photo by Andy Hendry