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Paul Jones, director, UK and Ireland at BEG Lighting Controls, discusses how flexible lighting controls can transform public buildings into super-efficient, multi-use spaces.

It’s well known that the spaces in which we live and work have a significant impact on our wellbeing throughout the day. What is sometimes overlooked is the significant part lighting plays in the comfort of a space for its occupants, be that employees, school children, patients or customers.  

Lighting not only has the power to subconsciously change temperament and emotions, it can even be used to shape and change spaces and subliminally direct our behaviour. 

Thanks to recent advances in lighting controls technology, lighting designers can now take full advantage of these ‘human centric lighting’ techniques to make any public space fully adaptable and flexible to suit the full range of activities that might take place in the building. 

What lighting controls tech is available?

Here at BEG Lighting Controls, we believe that lighting solutions should be able to be as creative as the imagination of the lighting designer. We work tirelessly to develop lighting control products to answer every potential requirement of the lighting industry – with the hope that whatever might be dreamt up to meet an FM’s need, there is a lighting controls solution to make it possible. 

The most common features required are energy efficiency and cost savings, for obvious reasons. Our occupancy sensors know when the room or space is in use and adjust the light accordingly. We also have sensors which evaluate how much natural light there is and adjust the output of the luminaires accordingly. 

We have sensors which can be time activated, sensors which can be linked together to work as a set, or independently, as needed. We have sensors that work at very high ceiling heights across a wide area, or can be shielded to work for just a small section of a space. We have sensors which can change the warmth of the light as required and can dim or brighten as required.   

And our switches offer the same level of complete flexibility. Lighting can be controlled by a simple wall switch, adjusted from an app on a mobile phone, or operated remotely from a central unit. 

When lighting designers are aware of all that can be achieved through lighting controls, they can take advantage of every small and affordable trick which can make a huge impact. 

Different lighting for different types of building

By creating this level of flexibility, we have enabled people to achieve their perfect lighting designs across a huge range of buildings, such as offices, restaurants and hotels, health centres and schools. 

Commercial and public buildings often have key similarities in their needs. They are all likely to have offices within them which will require good lighting levels for PC work. They will have corridors which might not need to be lit brightly when not occupied and they will generally have reception areas which need to be welcoming all day long. 

Whether creating intelligent lighting schemes for offices and work spaces – such as the bespoke lighting systems BEG designed for two refurbished call centres for a large UK broadcasting company – or creating creating flexible lighting for hotels and restaurants which might need different modes for customers and cleaners, it can be done. 

School buildings have another set of requirements, and BEG Lighting Controls recently undertook a project for the brand-new John Keats Primary Free School in London, whose ethos is focused on providing an enhanced learning environment for its pupils. The building’s lighting had to be designed and controlled in a way that would maximise the pupils’ comfort, concentration and alertness. We also helped them make the most of their spaces by creating multi-purpose rooms. 

In health centres, the lighting design brief is somewhat different, the key focus being on safety, hygiene, and energy savings. Corridors and communal areas need to be well lit to ensure that medical staff can do their jobs around the clock whilst on wards, patients can be well rested and peaceful at night.

It is inspiring to see how the great strides that are being made in lighting controls technology are being used to their maximum potential in buildings designed for such different purposes. We believe in pushing the boundaries of what is possible with creative lighting solutions and we love to see our products helping to really make a difference to an entire building’s environment and the experience of everyone using it.