Feature, Retail

Lights caring for The Green Planet

The Green Planet, gorgeously lit up at night

The Green Planet is an exhibition in Dubai which is a beautiful tourist attraction. It is lit in a gentle way, and successfuly avoids harming the plants and animals it holds.

The overall lighting approach for The Green Planet faced a number of diverse aesthetic and technical challenges. The unique ecosystem and program for the facility presented several distinct challenges to the lighting team, which all needed to be overcome. To accomplish this, the team carefully studied the situation, and designed the lighting around the issues.

A careful study of the glazing relative to the rotation of the sun, the orientation of the building and positioning of the tree was performed to determine how best to sustain the health of the plants and animals year-round. Given the environmental conditions in the UAE, this was as much of a challenge to the architectural and lighting designteams as it was to the mechanical and electrical design teams who were tasked with maintaining a constant temperature and humidity and conserve energy.

Multiple layers of artificial task and accent illumination were required throughout the building to support proper visibility of the exhibitry, planting and animals by the guests during both daytime operating hours (due to shadowing) and after dusk. Just as with humans, many species of animals rest in the evening hours … too little light, and they try to sleep and disappear from view of the guests, too much light, and the health of the animals can suffer. Plants also need darkness to thrive, as well.

The lighting had to be carefully designed to be healthy for the plants and animals.

Even with the use of design elements such as mirrored panels on the upper balcony fascia and highperformance curtainwall glass, daylighting alone could not meet the necessary illuminance levels mandated by the horticultural consultants. More than 100 high-output, wide-beam IP65 floodlights fitted with HPS lamps were integrated into the architectural design of the balconies and ramps to meet these light levels. These are programmed in conjunction with the building management system to switch on and off at varying durations throughout the year depending on the position of the sun.

Evaluating the lamp chemistry and PAR output of the numerous horticultural and aquarium sources available to the market was also a critical step to ensure the longterm health of the museum ecosystem. Finally, maintenance and sustainability played key roles in the development of the lighting approach. High humidity levels, corrosion-resistant mounting details, netting systems for the protection of animals and insects, service access to lighting positions above the tree and aquarium tanks, as well as the longevity of light sources were all factored into the design process.