Major savings in the picture as the The National Gallery introduces lighting control

The National Gallery, London, has become the latest high-profile building to benefit from the introduction of intelligent lighting control. A combination of highly efficient LEDs and a digital control system from Open Technology has achieved 85% energy savings on lighting. The system’s ability to respond to the changing environment allows the Gallery to make full use of available daylight and adjust lighting levels around visiting hours.

Protecting the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the early 20th century, while welcoming 6 million visitors a year, presents a particular challenge when it comes to lighting the Gallery. Paintings need to be lit to exacting scientific standards in order to preserve them, at the same time as being clearly visible in a pleasant environment. Lighting is also a key area that the Gallery has targeted in order to reduce energy consumption and costs.

LEDs are an ideal choice for museums because they don’t produce UV light, which can be harmful to artworks. The project is one of the first in the world to use LEDs in conjunction with a system that automatically adjusts external roof blinds according to the amount and angle of sunlight. As the blinds adjust throughout the day, Open Technology’s LiGO control system reacts in real time, controlling light output to specified levels while using as little energy as possible.

Dome lights. (Photograph courtesy of Life Size Media)


“The LiGO control system has enabled us to integrate a digital dimming system for our lighting. With our previous system we could only switch on and off, whereas LiGO has enabled us to progressively dim and bring up the light in conjunction with daylight levels,” explains Steve Van Dyke, Head of Building and Facilities, The National Gallery, London.

Overall the improvements are estimated to achieve annual energy savings for the Gallery of 765,000 kWh at a saving of around £53,600, with reduced maintenance contributing a further £36,000. The successful project forms a major part of the National Gallery’s carbon management plan, which commits to reducing carbon emissions by 43% by 2015 and prioritises the responsible use of energy on-site.

LiGO is integrated directly with the Gallery’s building management system in order to automate and adjust changes in light levels in response to complex requirements including changing use throughout the day; rehangs which require new light settings; changing availability of daylight; and security patrols out of hours. Further savings are achieved by setting the lighting to a default minimum level out of hours that is raised when presence is detected, and allowing staff to easily adjust the lighting from each room when new settings are required.

“Energy efficiency in the built environment is a key target for both business and government,” explains Chris Bedford, Managing Director of Open Technology. “More and more organisations are taking advantage of the fact that lighting control not only offers them significant energy savings and carbon reductions, but that it can respond to the complex and unique needs of their building to create a better environment for staff and visitors.”

Lighting up the Gallery interior with LED lighting fixtures. (Photograph courtesy of Life Size Media)


Work at The National Gallery follows similar installations from Open Technology in public buildings, universities, hospitals, and across the transport network. Last year, Clapham Junction station announced that it was cutting its lighting costs by 35% by introducing the LiGO system, with plans to roll out similar projects across up to 30 stations and maintenance depots.


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