Electrical Contracting News (ECN) September 2016 - Page 30

EMERGENCY LIGHTING Taking control However, as is often the case, there is a simple solution. Many emergency lighting systems already operate using DALI protocol to control the luminaires, and in recent years we have seen the introduction of emergency lighting control systems which use both KNX and DALI, allowing for two way communication between the luminaire and the control system. Making this upgrade to an advanced lighting control system, or considering it when commissioning either an extension or new build, can easily eradicate the risk of any emergency lighting system failure going unnoticed. By using an advanced lighting control system, such as Electrak Buscom with Lightrak lighting control units, the end user and the luminaire can effectively communicate with each other. The end user is able to programme the luminaires to run the full three hour test at specific times, monitor all fittings, check they’re able to successfully switch into emergency mode and then report back on the status of the tests, what’s happened, whether there have been any failures and if any replacements need to be made. Crucially, it can also alert the building’s facilities manager if the lamps within the fittings are working or not. This is important as, even if the luminaire’s battery is working, if there is a fault with the lamp then the emergency system will fail. 2367 ExitPoint AD_UK.indd 1 29-30 Emergency Lighting – Legrand.indd 30 However, an advanced lighting control system really comes into its own when feeding into a graphical interface connected to the BMS, sometimes known as a ‘head end’, which allows the end user to extract all the information into an easily digestible format, as well as control scheduling of further tests. What’s more, end users are also able to see a graphical representation of floor layouts with specific alert markers to point out where particular fittings aren’t working. It can even be programmed to deliver email or text alerts straight to the building maintenance team, informing them of any failures, and whether the problem is with the battery, the fitting, or the lamps, so they can fix them right away. As such, there is no need for manual testing, and any potential faults can be recorded automatically, removing the risk of human error and any associated effects on an emergency lighting system. Final thoughts Ultimately, from the end user’s perspective, monitoring and controlling an emergency lighting system via the use of advanced lighting control will remove a very long winded and time consuming maintenance process, as well as the associated risk of potential human error in not testing any lights correctly or failing to log any repairs that need to be made. In effect, it offers full reassurance that the emergency lighting system is fully In UK commercial buildings a functional test of the emergency lighting system must be done once a month. “ EMERGENCY LIGHTING SYSTEMS ARE A LEGAL REQUIREMENT IN ANY PUBLIC BUILDING, IN LINE WITH BS5266-1:2011. operational and will be guaranteed to perform its essential job in the event of an emergency. Given the widespread advances in technology in recent years, employers cannot afford to fall short in this department. Investing in an advanced lighting control system can take the risk out of emergency lighting systems, giving employers peace of mind that – if disaster does strike – they can rely on their lighting system to guide employees to a swift and safe exit. 8/3/16 2:45 PM 10/08/2016 16:26