Stimulate productivity with the ‘Best Warehouse and Office Lighting Solutions.’

Just as with any other lighting concept, lighting for an office fit-out or commercial building needs to be fit for purpose, energy efficient and cost effective. Lighting installation must fit in with the style of the building’s design and provide optimal light dependent on the visual tasks that are to be undertaken; this requires a balance of indirect and direct light sources and between daylight and artificial light.

In the workplace, it’s safe to say that we want to stimulate productivity, right? Therefore, the optimum level of light must be present to avoid issues, such as lack of concentration or eye strain. The level of lighting emanating from a lamp is referred to as the illuminance.  The way in which this is measured, is referred to as Lux. A minimum of 500 Lux is stated for the brightness within office work stations. Generally speaking, an increase in illuminance boosts the visual performance and can positively influence detailed and fast visual information processing. An illuminance of between 500 and 1000 Lux can also be seen as stress-free, now that’s something we’ll all endorse. The more complex the visual task, the higher the illuminance is sought.

 

Types of Office Lighting

T12 Lamps | T8 Lamps | T5 Lamps | Halogen Lamps

Quite simply, ‘T’ is the diameter of the tube inside of the lamp.  That would make T12 the largest, T8 smaller, and the T5 smaller yet.  Typically, the more narrow the lamp, the more efficient it will be.  All lamps have a general life expectancy of around 36,000 hours, running for 12 hours per day. In regards to costs, the T8 lamp is roughly 20% more expensive than a T12 lamp, with the T5 lamp being 2-3 times the cost of T8 lamp.

  • T12 lamps are old and inefficient
  • T8 lamps have higher efficiency
  • T5 lamps have the highest efficiency

When it comes to comparing brightness (or lumen output as it’s technically known).  This, among other factors is an important part of determining different levels of efficiency. The two characteristics of light that we like to look at are quality – Colour Rendering Index (CRI) and quantity – Lumen’s per Watt (LPW).

In some circumstances a T5 lamp (as shown below) can in fact be the same quality as a T8 lamp and although there may be only a slight increase in the quantity (factors like ceiling height can affect this), it may not be significant enough to justify spending extra for a slight variable. Furthermore, if you’re considering replacing the lamp, there would also be the extra spent to replace the fixture, lamp and the ballast. But, if you have an old T12 lamp, then it would be recommended to install a T5 lamp. Compared to 400-watt universally mounted Metal Halide Lamps, T5 lamps can save up to 40 system watts per fixture and deliver as much as 75 percent longer lamp life. Maintenance costs can also be reduced as well.

The halogen lamp is known for its moderately high efficiency, quality of light and high rated life, compared to the regular incandescent lamps. It is a type of incandescent lamp, which uses a halogen gas in order to increase both light output and rated life.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) & Incandescent

CFLs are most commonly used as screw-in replacements for incandescent lamps. Incandescent lamps are probably what you imagine when you think of the traditional light bulb. They are most often found in exit lights.

Metal Halides

Metal halides are dome shapes lights that are found in factories and offices with high ceilings. They resemble a screw-in incandescent lamp, but on a much larger scale.

LED Lighting

LEDs consume around 80% less power than a standard halogen light of equivalent brightness. LED fixtures have been designed to replace nearly any other fixtures design. They’re a great choice for the long term energy and cost conscious workplace. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the State Government’s VEET scheme for LED lighting installation, then what are you waiting for?

Emergency & Exit Lighting

Need to get out in a hurry? Emergency & Exit Lighting signs are required by the Building Code of Australia’s regulatory standards to be installed on every level of a Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 Building where the floor area is more than 300m2, and  in every passageway, corridor, hallway, or the like, having a length of more than 6 metres from the entrance doorway of any sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building to the nearest doorway opening.

 

Warehouse Lighting

High Bays

High bay lighting is a great solution for large industrial and commercial warehouses that require maximum brightness at lower costs. They use up far less power than traditional lighting whilst providing an even beam of light for high area, over a large space.

Linear and T-Bar Troffer Lights

T-Bar panels are a complete fitting replacement for traditional fluorescent fittings, or perfect for new lighting installations where they can be recessed, suspended or surface mounted. Many offices have begun replacing their common grilles with T-Bar panel lights, as they emit a soft light without glare and disperse direct light around a room.

Speciality Lighting for the Office

Downlights

Do you require a lot of direct lighting? Down lights are a great option for home and office lighting, because they’re very flexible in terms of the amount and type of light they provide. They’re perfect for ambient lighting as they can be installed around the edge of a room (recessed into ceiling space), and dimmed to the level of light that you require. Down lights are also a great choice for use as task lighting, where you need a lot of direct bright light, as they throw a narrow beam of light downwards.  All are circular in shape, but different coloured trims are provided which allows you to pick a colour that will suit the room’s decor. The most commonly used bulb in a down light is a halogen bulb, however compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs are quickly becoming the preferred choice due to their energy efficiency.

Track Lighting

Looking to light up an area in a creative way? Track lighting – ceiling mounted from metal tracks is most often used to highlight displays in lobbies or along hallways.  This type of lighting is very effective at drawing attention to key areas.

Pendant Lighting

Everybody loves a pendant light, versatile and uber stylish; they come in a countless array of styles, shapes, colours and alike. They are sometime called drop or suspended lighting, because they hang from above – usually from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod. Pendant lights often come in multiples and create a focused source of light for dark areas, incorporating a unique decorative element. Great choice when floor space is a priority, as they take up much less space than floor lamps.

Dimmers

Too bright? Easy, just turn the lighting down with a dimmer. Controlling the amount of light gives you full control with the ability to instantly adjust the required amount of light for a task and as an added bonus it helps with energy consumption also.

Chandeliers

Want to make a statement? Install a chandelier in the foyer, reception area or hallway of any office and you’ll be sure to create a grand first impression.

Chandeliers are different from pendant lighting as they consist of multiple lamps and hang in a branched frame.

As great as chandeliers are, they can present some challenges. Knowing correct sizing and how high to hang one can prove tricky. A simple rule is not to hang it any closer than four feet from any wall and hang a chandelier low enough so they light up the desired area, but not so low that anybody will hit their head.

Cove Lighting

Why not snazz things up a bit with cove lighting? This form of indirect lighting is built into ledges or other recesses and illuminates both the ceiling and the adjacent walls for a truly beautiful lighting effect.

Office Lighting Checklist:

  • Is there sufficient natural light in the workspace?
  • Does the selected lighting correspond with the visual task(s)?
  • Is the balance of direct and indirect light guaranteed?
  • Is there a need for optimisation in regards to the use of energy saving lamps?
  • Are you using glare- free and flicker-free lighting?
  • Is the light intensity in the workspace individually adjustable?
  • Are you using pleasing, bright colours – warm white, neutral white?
  • Are you avoiding glare and distracting reflections?

 

We make choosing the right lighting for your office an easy process.

Call Prolux Electrical Contractors today on 1800 800 880 and let us transform your commercial or industrial workplace with lighting solutions that will stimulate productivity. 

New Standards Set For Emergency & Exit Lighting Legislation

Standards Australia has set new building regulations for emergency and exit lighting requirements. Effective January 2016, the new legislation includes the mandatory installation of a new test switch when an existing emergency or exit light is being changed over by an electrician, to a fitting that is not the same type, in the same location and same wattage as the current one; this falls under clause 1.7 of AS2293.1.

AS/NZS 2293 Emergency Lighting for Buildings covers three parts:

Part (i) Installation
Part (ii) Maintenance
Part (iii) Performance of Luminaires

Changes to any part of the emergency and exit lighting standards (AS2293.1) must be implemented by Facility and Property Managers, for building compliance.

Although the changes are substantial, in this article we are covering only manually tested Single Point Systems (the most common type).

Single Point Emergency and Exit Lighting Systems were implemented in the 1990’s. In 2012, emergency and exit lighting became a national standard, following the publication of the AS/NZS 3000:2007 Amendment 2 and AS 2293.1.

What are the changes associated with Emergency & Exit Lighting for Property Managers?

For properties under your management, there are four main changes that will impact the cost of replacing, or installing additional emergency and exit lights. These changes don’t need to be implemented during the six monthly testing, these changes need only apply when:

(i) a new fitting is added, or
(ii) an existing fitting is replaced with a new fitting, that is different from the current one

1. Circuit Monitoring

Circuit monitoring must be applied to an added circuit, or when a fitting is replaced. The intent is to provide lighting when there is a loss of general lighting, to allow a person to vacate a section of the building.

How it works
Upon failure of the electrical supply to any lighting circuit within a building, circuit monitoring will detect that a lighting circuit has been de-energised and will automatically activate the emergency and exit lighting. Once the lighting circuit has re-energised, the emergency and exit lighting will de-activate and return to charging state.

2. Emergency Test Switch

An emergency test switch must be applied to an added circuit, or when a fitting is replaced.

How it works
An emergency test switch is used as a manual test facility. The buttons on the test switch are used for testing purposes (i.e. enable/disable prolong, set duration time, enable/disable monitoring lines). For six month scheduled testing, the test switch is used to control the emergency and exit lighting without affecting any other part of the electrical installation.

3. Dedicated Emergency & Exit Circuits

Any emergency or exit fitting added or replaced to a circuit, must be on a dedicated circuit for emergency and exit lighting only. If this existing circuit is mixed (e.g. the same circuit as general lighting or power) it must be rewired on a dedicated circuit, back to an emergency test switch.

4. RCD’s for Emergency & Exit Circuits

RCD’s are no longer a mandatory requirement for emergency and exit lighting circuits. In the past if an emergency or exit light was replaced and the circuit was not RCD protected, there were additional costs for installing an RCD.

To avoid the occurrence of a faulty tube or globe, faulty switch, battery or charging unit it’s important to perform routine electrical maintenance of exit and emergency lighting and equipment.

 

Prolux Electrical Contractors abide by the highest codes of practice in the electrical industry.

Call us today on 1800 800 880 for a non-obligation quotation on how we can achieve maximum efficiency and safety for the buildings you manage.

Exit and Emergency Lighting Tests

What are the requirements for testing exit and emergency lighting?

  1. Faulty tube or globe: Check that the light globe isn’t damaged in anyway. Replace if necessary.
  2. Faulty switching: Disconnect the existing battery and connect a ‘fully charged’ battery (of the same type or voltage). Test the switch/circuit breaker, if the light fails to illuminate then the switch is faulty and will need to be repaired or replaced.
  3. Faulty charging circuit: Disconnect the battery and check its voltage by connecting a voltmeter on dc volts across the positive and negative output terminals of the circuit board. The voltage will read between one volt and that of ten volts higher than the battery. If it’s a faulty charger circuit then the voltage will be overly high, lower than the voltage of the battery or have no voltage at all. It will need repairing or replacing. Connect an ammeter on dc amps in series with the positive lead of a fresh battery to check the current flowing to the battery. To do this connect the red lead of the meter on the positive battery output terminal of the circuit board and the black lead of the meter to the positive side of the battery, while the negative lead of the battery is connected to the negative output battery terminal of the circuit board. The current flow should read between 120 milliamps and 400 milliamps or .12amp to .4amp. If the reading is below .12amp or there is no current flow at all then it has a faulty charger circuit and it will have to be repaired or replaced.
  4. Faulty battery: The battery life in an exit or emergency light is anywhere between three to five years duration, depending on the type of battery used, fixtures/fittings, location of light and the lighting operation conditions. Check the battery’s condition first, is it distorted or leaking? A faulty (existing) battery can still show a correct test result, voltage current flow, but may not be holding its charge correctly.

NOTE: After conducting any work on any exit or emergency lighting it should be rechecked on power fail and a duration test should also be performed after replacing and charging (24 hours) the batteries.


Electrical Maintenance of exit and emergency lighting and equipment

Electrical Maintenance testing should be carried out every six months, along with duration testing, for a minimum of 90 minutes, as per the guidelines outlined in the emergency evacuation lighting in buildings Part 2 – inspection and maintenance.

The test results are to be logged in the relevant evacuation logbook for future reference and performance analysis of simulated mains failure and battery performance.

Discharging of lights is advised by turning off the corresponding circuit breaker, not via an emergency light discharge facility.

When it’s necessary for the batteries to be replaced, the system shall be recommissioned, fully charged and a duration test carried out, to ensure correct operation of the system.

Exit Signs & Exit Lights – The regulations Building Managers need to know

On May 1st, 2014 an amendment to E4.8 of the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) was implemented, permitting the use of photoluminescent (PL) exit lights and signs. All PL exit signs must now have a dedicated, uninterrupted light source and emergency luminaire backup. An escape or exit sign luminaire maintained in operation does comply with the current regulations and is the preferred option for this purpose.

How should PL exit signs be used?
This has been an area of concern amongst electricians, building owners and building managers, as to how PL exit signs may be used. When installing a PL exit sign, it also requires the installation of two additional luminaires. It firstly stipulates that a PL exit sign must have a dedicated, uninterrupted light source continuously illuminating 100 lux onto the face of the sign and secondly, that an emergency luminaire must be installed within 2 metres of an exit door or where there is a dedicated point of entry/exit. Unlike electrically powered exit signs, PL material cannot achieve a light output to be classified as an emergency luminaire, so the additional emergency luminaire is essential for it to stay well lit and for the required duration of 60 minutes following a power failure.

What are the safety and legal regulations?
Exit and emergency lighting, or escape lights are an essential occupational health and safety device. Therefore, there are legal requirements which must be complied with; the NCC and AS/NZS 2293.1 and the WH&S legislation. In Victoria the maximum penalties for a corporation are $1.3 million dollars and $625,000 respectively, and significant financial penalties and possible imprisonment are imposed for serious breaches by an individual.

What are the costs associated with Luminaire LED and PL exit signs?
The installation costs associated with the two additional luminaires does have a significant price impact. The supply and installation cost of a standard LED exit sign is approximately $250, with the ongoing energy costs of $3.16 per year. The supply and installation cost of a PL exit sign, accompanying emergency light and separate luminating light source is approximately $550, with the ongoing energy costs of around $21.56 per year. In addition to these costs, there are the expenses associated with the ongoing maintenance. (A detailed breakdown is available from Lighting Council of Australia.)

*Lighting Council Australia

Call Prolux Electrical Contractors on 1800 800 880 for a no obligation discussion on how we can provide you with programmed electrical maintenance for the buildings you manage.

Emergency Exit & Lighting Systems

It is your legal responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees and clients by complying with the Australia Standards for all commercial and industrial and or office buildings to have installed emergency and exit lighting systems.

In a serious incident, exit & emergency lighting systems can play a big part in preventing life threatening injuries and/or death in some circumstances. Just like in your personal home, you are required to install smoke detectors to ensure the safety of your family in case of a fire. The same risk is at your workplace, installing and maintaining emergency systems are essential to the safety and credibility of your workplace.

Emergency exit and lighting systems need to be positioned correctly to ensure adequate lighting is always available in an emergency, they must also be installed on a lighting circuit and derive its supply from a permanent active.

It is essential that emergency exit & lighting systems are routinely inspected and endure regular scheduled maintenance checks by qualified electrical personnel. Maintenance plans need to be managed and scheduled every 6 months, which includes inspections, testing and repairs; such as replacing fluorescent tubes or batteries, entire fittings and repairs or replacement on the control equipment.

Whether you’re constructing a new building, or redeveloping an old one, it’s very important to ensure that exit & emergency lighting systems are carefully considered. Contact the Prolux Electrical team if you require a maintenance plan, a quotation or an upgrade on any emergency & exit lighting system.