King’s College London drive down energy with Steinel

King’s College London, one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities based in the heart of London, has replaced manually switch-operated ceiling lights with approximately 800 high-frequency sensor controlled lights from Steinel at one of its chief halls of residence, a move that will provide payback within two years and help fund the next energy/carbon reduction project at this pace-setting education establishment.


King’s College London has had a long commitment to carbon minimisation, particularly in the nine years that Keith McIntyre has been Energy & Environment Manager. In this time, many landmark projects have helped promote the college into the vanguard of environmentally proactive education facilities. In fact, it was one of the first colleges to receive the EN 16001 energy management standard and is now looking at the ISO 50001 equivalent.


One of the latest energy reduction projects came about as a result of constantly finding lights left on at the college’s Great Dover Street Halls of Residence. Here, 769 en-suite single bedrooms are located in 113 apartments served by a network of totally enclosed corridors (no natural light). Lights were often left on around the clock, 365 days a year.


One of the biggest challenges at universities and colleges is behavioural change, especially considering that the turnover of students in residence is so rapid; no sooner has one cohort absorbed the thinking, than they have been replaced by a new intake. The answer was to use ‘intelligent’ lighting.


“We had quite a demanding specification,” admits Mr McIntyre. “We wanted a light with an integral control system, as well as energy savings. Initially I couldn’t see anything on the market suitable, but then I saw the Steinel RS PRO 500 high-frequency sensor light at an exhibition – it was just being launched and it struck me there was nothing else like it.”


In 2009 the college installed the first phase of 200 Steinel lights, equating to a whole block of six floors with two corridors on each floor.


“The RS PRO 500 has totally solved our problem,” states Mr McIntyre. “The students have some low level background lighting [from the 3w LED module] with the main low energy lamps [2 x 13W] activating as soon as someone enters the corridor. Further lamps activate as the person moves along the passage. The lamps remain on for 15 minutes before switching off automatically.”


Each Steinel RS PRO 500 features state-of-the-art high-frequency sensors that guarantee detection accuracy in 360°, at a distance of up to 8m. The sensors do their work regardless of ambient temperature or direction of movement. They provide switching performance that’s virtually instant and are integrated more or less out of sight.


“We like to push the Steinel units simply because they are so reliable – failures are very rare indeed,” says Colin Daly, Director at Adlec Installations Ltd of south London, the electrical installation contractor on the Great Dover Street project. “The standard fitting is a real blessing too, if the customer wants low level  light at night then the snap-in LED module is a two-minute job.”


King’s College London has now ordered for the final phase of three blocks, which will bring the total number of Steinel RS PRO 500s at Great Dover Street to around 1,000. Funding for the project has been aided by the college’s participation in the ‘invest to save scheme’ through Salix, an independent, publicly funded company set up to accelerate public sector investment in energy efficiency technologies.


“With the Salix funding there are strict criteria on ‘carbon savings per pound’ as well as installation costs, but by using the Steinel RS PRO 500s we could meet these requirements and demonstrate payback within two years,” explains Mr McIntyre. “We can then reinvest these savings to fund new projects on a rolling basis.”


Driven by cost considerations in the face of rising energy prices, university expansion and reputational as well as regulatory concerns, the Great Dover Street lighting project is the latest successful example in the college’s recognition of the need for strong action on energy management.


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