Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre saves energy and reduces carbon emissions with award-winning lighting

The NEC in Birmingham has completely refitted its Skywalk with award-winning LED lighting to improve the visitor experience while saving energy and lowering carbon emissions.

The NEC asked experts at lighting specialists MHA Lighting to devise a bespoke solution for the Skywalk that would reduce energy bills whilst improving light quality.

MHA Lighting were also selected to replace the traditional fluorescent lighting in their Concourse and Gallery suites with their unique LED lighting that uses wave guide technology to achieve energy savings of up to 80% with intelligent controls.

MHA Lighting installed 144 TiLites in the Concourse and Gallery Suites and 260 bespoke RodLites above the 400m long Skywalk that were designed to be match the NEC’s corporate branding and to be in-keeping with lighting finishes in other areas.

The 30watt RodLites replaced 54watt T8 Tubes (58-60watts with ballast) – immediately creating energy savings of 50%.

As the lights are on continuously software was installed that uses sensors to detect when the Skywalk area is empty and dims the RodLites to just 10%. With these intelligent controls more than 70% energy savings have been achieved.

In the Concourse and Gallery Suites, MHA Lighting replaced T8 fluorescents with the TiLite 30 and TiLite 30/120 fittings that were engineered to dim down to just 7% and to work seamlessly with RGB LED down lights.

Andrew Cope, project engineer at the NEC, said: “As an organisation the NEC has committed to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Lighting is a massive part of us achieving this target.

“We have around 70,000 lights throughout the site - that equates to a fifth of our energy usage. That is a huge cost and finding solutions that improve light quality while reducing energy consumption is key.

“We definitely found the best solution in terms of budget, energy reduction targets and overall lighting effect with MHA Lighting. The light colour, output and uniformity is tremendous and all in all I believe we have the right light solution for the NEC.”

He added: “MHA Lighting has the right attitude and real enthusiasm for their lighting technology. They have the ability to be flexible and offer bespoke solutions – nothing was too much trouble. They listened and found solutions.

“We have only had positive comments from customers and NEC staff alike about the new lighting, - particularly about the Skywalk.”

MHA Lighting provided 300 Lux for the Skylight and in the Concourse and Gallery suites 600Lux was achieved.

MHA Lighting is the only lighting manufacturer to use wave guide technology to shine light sideways into an encapsulation – not directly outwards. This avoids direct contact with the eye and provides a safe and efficient light output.

They also use acrylic rods to amplify and control the light output, reducing the number of LEDs required. This means they can use high power LEDs, draw less current and have no need to diffuse the output.

MHA Lighting MD Tom Harrison, said: “When I first saw the completed installation in the NEC’s Concourse and Gallery Suites I felt extremely proud of the truly impressive lighting scheme we helped create.

“The combination of the colour changing LEDs and the white light from the TiLite working in harmony under DMX control is sensational and creates a unique environment for events and conferences.

“The Skywalk’s lighting creates daylight indoors and I know has received extremely positive comments from the NEC’s customers for making the area more welcoming.

“Our digital light sources ability to deliver precisely the specific colour – and with an 80 CRI – not only makes the Skywalk brighter, cleaner and friendlier but shows everything in its truest colour.

“All these effects are over and above the 70% energy savings and carbon reduction that we have helped the NEC to achieve.

“We continue to be delighted to be working with the NEC and hope to be able to offer further unique solutions that help Andrew and his team in their quest to improve lighting across the NEC Group’s portfolio whilst saving energy and honouring their commitments to carbon reduction.”

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