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Lighting the Corridors of Learning

Lighting management specialists Ex-Or are helping the University of Essex not only to make significant energy-cost savings but also to meet one of its core objectives, environmental sustainability. Ex-Or, part of Honeywell, has supplied and installed LightSpot detectors in all corridors and kitchens within the 700-bed student accommodation complex in Colchester.

The Quays is the newest of the residential developments at the University and has won the Colchester 2020 & Royal Institute of Architects award for best new contemporary building. The project follows similar Ex-Or installations at other key locations on the University of Essex campus.

Richard Frost, University of Essex energy manager, said: "Before the Ex-Or installation, lights in the communal areas of The Quays burned endlessly because of the human factor - quite simply, no one switched them off. But now the lights only come on when required, then automatically switch off after use."

This is because Ex-Or LightSpot presence detectors respond to the movements that occur when corridor and kitchen areas are in use. Anyone entering a controlled area automatically activates the lighting and subsequently sustains it by even the smallest movements they make. When they leave, the lights automatically switch off. The LightSpot detectors also incorporate photocell control which dims or brightens the luminaires according to levels of natural light.

By measuring kilowatt hours usage before and after the installation, the University has confirmed it has cut its total energy bill by 5 per cent. But further savings have also been made, thanks to the Ex-Or installation. Because lights are no longer on 24 hours a day, there are fewer lamp and control gear failures and, as a result, lower maintenance and replacement costs. This is saving the University a further £2,000 a year on its maintenance bill for The Quays development.

"One of our core values is environmental sustainability, and we look at this in its widest sense," said Frost. "Reducing unnecessary energy use obviously helps us cut our carbon footprint. But we are also keen on specifying products made in this country rather than imported from overseas. This increases employment opportunities for domestic workers, cuts imports and reduces international transport - all of which actively promote environmental sustainability.

"Ex-Or's equipment is made in this country and that is one reason why we are keen to specify it by name. On a practical level, when we need spare parts, or new equipment is needed to enhance the systems we have in place, we do not have to wait for it to be shipped in from overseas. This helps us reduce our carbon
footprint, so helping us meet our core value of environmental sustainability."

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