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Bluewater Shopping Centre


Self-testing emergency lighting at Bluewater achieves 60% savings

Bluewater is one of the UK’s largest shopping centres with an annual footfall of 28 million, 90% of whom travel to Bluewater by car. This means that the 13,000 free parking spaces available need to be well lit for the safety of Bluewater’s customers and staff. And that the emergency lighting that is installed to automatically switch on if the normal lighting fails, needs to be effective. Bluewater is committed to remaining at the forefront of sustainability within the retail and leisure sector and sustainability is an integral part of the company’s culture. Reducing environmental impacts is central to their business strategy so lighting technologies need to be energy efficient to contribute to Bluewater’s aim to reduce its energy and carbon intensity by 40% by 2030.

GA Harpers has provided electrical and other services to Bluewater since it opened more than 20 years ago and throughout this time has been supporting its estates management team to identify ways in which to improve the effective and efficiency of its lighting systems.

Lighting from NVC, supplied by Edwardes Bros has been used extensively at the Kent mall including around 7,000 NVC GREENLAND IK 10, IP66 rated, non-corrosive, impact and chemical resistant industrial luminaires, which have been installed throughout Bluewater’s car parks and back of house facilities. Thousands more will be installed during 2021 during the next phase to upgrade the car park lighting.

NVC’s GREENLAND luminaires form the basis of Bluewater’s car park and back of house lighting and emergency lighting system, which is controlled by Chess UK MyMesh technology.* This system manages dimming and timed parameters via PIR activations to give customers adequate lighting, but avoid energy being wasted when the car park is not being used. This is helping to achieve energy and cost savings of 60% compared to similar car parks at Bluewater which still have T5 lights installed.

These savings are impressive and are monitored via a lighting control and metering monitoring system that gives Bluewater’s estates team daily usage stats viewable via a desktop platform.

In common with all commercial buildings, it is a legal requirement for shopping centres to undertake regular testing of their emergency lighting systems comprising a short functional test of each emergency lighting fixture once a month and a full discharge test every year.

Harpers Electrical Manager Warren Thornton says: “To further improve efficiency at Bluewater, the emergency lighting based on NVC luminaires is self-testing removing the need to walk around the facilities and manually undertake the required testing. This not only saves time and cost it also means that the reports generated by the bespoke platform we developed, which details the IDs of the fittings and their locations, are always 100% complete, accurate and timely. In addition, any emergency lighting issues are identified and can be rectified and addressed when required rather than waiting until the ‘’planned ‘’ emergency testing that would be required if this type of system was not in place.”

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