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Mon 11 Jan 2010 04:00 AM

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Bright lights

Cutting light consumption and therefore energy use is crucial in achieving the region's green building goals. But what measures are actually being taken on the ground?

Bright lights
Due to the amount of construction, the UAE will need US $10 billion to satisfy energy demand over the next 10 years.
Bright lights
Dimming a room by 10% is imperceptible to the eye but the cost savings with that level of adjustment are significant.
Bright lights
LEED Version III places significant emphasis on retrofitting existing buildings with energy saving measures.

Cutting light consumption and therefore energy use is crucial in achieving the region's green building goals. But what measures are actually being taken on the ground?

What did we do without mobile phones?' So go a number of bewildered conversations. Well, to answer the question, empires were built and men landed on the moon. Not bad when you think of the lines of communication available.

Equally, the conversation could go: ‘What did we do without artificial light?' Well, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel and London, earth's most populous city with nearly a million people in 1800, prospered using just candles, rushlights, torches and lanterns.

That the modern world needs artificial lighting to function, and only functions 24/7 today because of the lighting technologies available, means the thurst and expectation for light will only increase: reports concerning energy consumption in the UAE last year claimed 25 percent of the Gulf's water had been consumed - one fifth of which was used to generate electricity.

The report also estimated the UAE would need to find US$10 billion to satisfy energy demand for the next 10 years, due to the amount of ongoing construction.

Focusing on energy consumption and the built environment, research by lighting manufacturer Osram shows electricity used for indoor lighting accounts for 10% of the total electric energy required for buildings. In many facilities, this percentage is even higher. For example, illumination in an office space of 400 m² accounts for approximately 40% of the total energy consumption of the space.

Hot topic

"Climate protection and sustainability is a big topic for us," says Mourad Boulouednine, director of projects, Osram Middle East. "We have set the trend in energy saving lamps and feel a great obligation to play an active role in the migration to energy efficient lighting solutions. With our sustainability campaign - which we started in 2007 - we want to tell our customers about the fact that climate protection and money saving go hand in hand, throughout the world."

Energy efficient products already account for 65 percent of Osram's sales says Boulouednine, which the company intends to increase to 80% by 2016. "It is currently possible, for example, to save up to 80% of electricity by using energy-saving lamps, or intelligent T5 fluorescent lamps. On average, more than 90% of the environmental relevance of our products relates to their usage. This is more than in any other industry," he points out.

"Lighting accounts for around 15% of the energy bill in most homes, and around 25% in commercial buildings," says Bastable Lighting Services MD Rod Bastable. "We are UK-based but have an office in Dubai. Just as energy prices have risen dramatically in the West, the Middle East is now experiencing the same with energy bills increasing by around 60%. So the need to implement smart control systems and low energy lighting is pressing, as is attendant lifecycle maintenance."

The architecture industry has always targeted lighting as a key element of sustainable design, and there is now a region-wide initiative to develop and implement lighting solutions that meet people's needs and concerns while also addressing environmental regulations.

With this in mind, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) installed the third-generation version of its green building performance rating and certification system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), midway through 2009. This latest version is the culmination of over four years of technical research, reviews of several LEED certified projects and the advisory activities of energy experts and political heavyweights.The LEED revamp included a detailed restructuring of how points are calculated. The previous congeries of different LEED systems for different project types has been harmonized to be more universal, with weighting given to the specific efficiency strategies that have the biggest positive environmental impact. Control systems

"We don't have to do without light," reassures Bastable, "It's about controlling output. Flexible controls to enable zoning and gradation of lighting do just that - to the human eye, the dimming of a light by 10% is imperceptible, yet the cost savings with that level of adjustment are significant."

Sophisticated lighting control systems that regulate consumption can lead to significant cost and energy savings. In fact, advanced systems are estimated to reduce lighting energy requirements by 35-50% in most applications.

"These systems use less energy while continuing to provide the desired lighting level. They can also reduce peak demand charges by automatically dimming or switching off certain lighting loads during periods of peak electrical demand. Additional savings can be realised through less frequent lamp maintenance and reduced cooling loads. The overall result is a fairly short payback, typically five years or less, and a high rate of return on the investment," notes Bastable.

Osram has developed specific FM software to enable efficient and cost effective lighting management. "Indeed, Osram light@FM 2.0 software also enables owners and facilities managers to track procurement and maintenance costs online, schedule maintenance and cut downtime.And, with data protection in mind, only trained staff can download sensitive project and price data," says Boulouednine.

On the lighting front, Bastable has developed Apollo, a patent pending multiple LED source for fibre optic illumination. "Due to the uniquely designed driver system and optimal cooling techniques, when correctly installed, these light sources will operate for between 200,000 and 400,000 hours," says Bastable. "This is based on the correlation between ‘Life' and ‘Junction Temperature' and validated by mean time between failures data throughout the LED manufacturing industry."

 Furthermore, the light source can be mounted directly into the duct-work of AC systems or into the conduits or piped water circulation systems to maximise life and performance. "Many products widely sold in the industry are already known to be failing, well short of their claimed life, due to excess temperature of the junction in normal operation, which the Apollo mounting negates," says Bastable.

Building envelope

An energy audit comprises an inspection, survey and analysis of energy use in a building in order to understand the energy dynamics of the system."A typical energy audit would involve recording various elements of the building envelope including lighting, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows and skylights. The audit will also assess the efficiency, physical condition and programming of mechanical systems such as HVAC and thermostat," explains Manohar Raghavan,  business development manager, MEA 3M Building and Commercial Services and 3M Construction Markets.

"The energy audit firms typically look at the energy use given local climate criteria, thermostat settings, roof overhang and solar orientation. All the elements in the building envelope system need to be considered during the audit if an integrated approach to light use and energy consuption is to be achieved," says Raghavan. Procurement problems

"Indeed, these systems have the potential to make a huge impact on carbon emissions. But, there's a lot of convoluted and conflicting information surrounding lighting, hindering real progression toward our sustainable goals," says Bastable.

 "In my role as a lighting consultant and designer, a major frustration is the disconnect between procurement and facilities management. Facilities management should ensure the full integration of systems and accurate maintenance schedules throughout the lifecycle of the building, but this is not always the case," he adds.

Bastable continues: "I have consulted on prestigious developments that have not engaged FM from the design stage; consequently lighting was not integrated with all the other services, which is crucial if you're serious about energy reduction."

Cost cutting is also hindering progress on the ground says Bastable. "It's true that lighting is often the first installation to be compromised should cost suddenly become an issue. Specification usually goes out of the window. For example, the price discrepancy between quality transformers and cheaper ones is huge, and often to tempting a saving to resist."

Future protection

It is the simple things like turning lights off, using dimmers and timing switches that can make lighting more environmentally friendly. The technological solutions have to be part of the building envelope system and, in turn, architects, engineers and operations personnel have to be involved at the start of the process if the much talked about commitment to cut emissions is to come to fruition and secure the future for generations to come.

Leviton since 1906

• Lighting controls Leviton offers a wide variety of lighting controls that combine sophisticated design with state-of-the-art technology. These include dimmers, dimming racks, relays, scene controllers, timers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, daylighting and architectural controls.

• Energy management with the most comprehensive line of energy management products to help you save energy, meet code compliance and garner rebates, Leviton brings it all together to help you build a complete integrated energy management lighting control system.

• Entertainment / Theatrical Lighting Controls Our control systems are designed to unlock your vision and creativity, giving you the power to animate your lighting like never before.

• Leviton ME Projects Intercontinental Hotel (Egypt), Vodafone (Qatar), Qasr Al Sarab (UAE), twofour54 project (UAE), Al Nahda Towers (UAE)

Regional Contact:

Motaz Al Batta


Tel: +9714 886 4722

Fax: +9714 886 4723

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