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Lighting controls specialist BEG has enabled a brand-new London free school to achieve its energy efficiency ambitions and provide an enhanced learning environment for its pupils. Elinore Mackay spoke to Stephen Payne of BEG to find out more about the project on what benefits the project has already brought and what can be expected from the future

Stephen, do tell me how the project at this London school came to fruition

John Keats Primary Free School opened to reception pupils in September 2018 and occupies the first two floors of a new residential development in South Bermondsey, London. It will eventually cater for 420 pupils up to year six. 

We were selected to supply the presence and motion sensors for the school as the products offer the dual benefits of complete lighting flexibility to ensure the building is fully energy efficient, while helping to create an excellent learning environment.

The new school has high ambitions for its pupils and, with the building designed with education in mind, the lighting had to be designed and controlled in a way that would maximise the pupils’ comfort, concentration and alertness.

How were energy savings/costs approached?

The lighting also needed to be automated and adjustable, with different areas requiring different lighting levels and timings, and the additional need that areas were only lit when occupied, to save energy and reduce costs. To meet all these requirements, we supplied two different types of presence and motion sensors from a range of KNX products.

The sensors selected were the PD11-KNX FLAT FC and the PD4 KNX C FC.

The PD11 sensor was selected for the classrooms and other rooms, including the headmaster’s office, as it is less than 1mm thick, making it a flush and discreetoption.

The classrooms have been set up to operate in semi-automatic mode (sometimes referred to as absence detection). This means the lights and the detector must be turned on with a wall switch. 

The lights then set their brightness levels automatically and will continue to operate until there is enough natural day light or no occupancy present in the room. Reading the level of daylight in the room, the PD11 automatically adjusts the luminaires to the required level to make sure the lighting level is always enough and make maximum use of natural light.

For the corridor areas of the school, which run nearly the entire length of the two floors, the PD4 KNX C FC was selected. This product is specifically designed to cover long corridors so fewer devices were required to get full coverage, resulting in a reduction in time and additional cost savings for the school. 

What additional components or equipment formed part of the brief?

The building controls, cabling and trunking were designed and installed by Neo System Automation. The company used the lighting sensors as part of a modular I/O WAGO 750 Series building control system, along with other devices, to control not only lighting but heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) too. 

The KNX system monitors conditions to provide optimum lighting, temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in the school, all of which have been shown to improve alertness and concentration.

How have the school’s staff coped to date with the changes?

Importantly, with use of the BEG sensors, school staff can manually override the controls and dim the lights down or off for presentations or showing films, while reducing lighting levels in areas when there is no occupancy at all. Automated controlled systems can reduce energy costs by up to 30% compared to manual control.

We were naturally delighted to work with Neo System Automation on the new free school.

The PD11 has a very sophisticated design and with a visible thickness of .85mm the device is fitted into a ceiling making it virtually invisible, so it was ideal for placement in the classrooms and offices. It is very discreet but it still capable of detecting motion and light within an area of up to 9m.

The PD4 was the most logical product for the corridors as it saved installers lots of time as fewer sensors were needed for this space thanks to the extensive coverage it offers.