Case Studies

Sports facilities are ‘on the ball’ with energy savings

At Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park stadium, managers have seen their lighting costs slashed by 50 per cent following the installation of Ex-Or presence detection systems in the North Stand.

With more than 20,000 light fittings and lamps throughout the stadium, managers were acutely aware that huge energy
savings could be made if the lights were lit only when actually needed. Although many areas are used only on match days, lights were left burning needlessly every day, all over the stadium.
This is no longer the case; LightSpot controls automatically switch lights off when occupants leave the monitored areas. They have been installed in a variety of locations including offices, reception areas, function suites, ticket offices, walkways, spectator areas and concourses.

“An incredible difference”

The difference that Ex-Or lighting control is making is incredible,” said stadium manager John Newsham. “Although various activities take place at Ewood Park in addition to regular matches, many areas are used only occasionally. However, human nature being what it is, lights were being left on because no-one thought to switch them off before leaving an area.
“Now the lights automatically switch on when someone enters, and automatically switch off again when the system detects the area is no longer in use. This is leading to dramatic cuts in our energy bills.”
Before the installation, lighting accounted for more than half of the total electricity load at Ewood Park and the annual electricity bill was more than £100,000 per year. At the time of installation, this was set to increase to almost £180,000.

“Annual saving of £40,000”

Briar Associates, the consultants who commissioned the Ex-Or systems after having carried out a Carbon Trust-funded survey, estimated that the lighting element of the electricity bill would be cut by 50 per cent thanks to Ex-Or lighting control - an annual saving of up to £40,000 for the completed lighting control project.

“Unexpected bonus”

But John Newsham has pointed out an unexpected bonus as a result of the installation. Before each Saturday game in the season, it was quite usual for staff to replace up to 300 failed lamps around the stadium. Now, thanks to the reduced amount of time the lights are left on, only a handful of lamps in the North Stand need replacing before each match - achieving savings in both staff time and the cost of replacement lamps.
More and more managers of sports stadia, football grounds and sports centres around the UK are seeing the light. Efficient management and control of lighting not only leads to significant cuts in energy costs, but also ensures optimum light levels for participants and spectators alike.
Other sporting venues enjoying savings thanks to Ex-Or controls, include Falkirk Football Stadium where lighting use has been optimised in various areas including stands, training areas, offices, changing rooms and public areas. It is a similar story at Doncaster Football Club, where Ex-Or's presence detection systems are employed throughout the concourse areas to prevent the lights being left on when the areas are not being used. Similar equipment is installed in concourse areas and toilets at MK Dons' new stadium.
In fifteen David Lloyd fitness centres the traditional discharge lighting has been upgraded to high frequency fluorescent dimmable units which give a much higher quality of light for players. At the heart of the new lighting systems are Long Range microwave detectors from Ex-Or which, when the courts are not in use, automatically cut light levels down to 10 per cent to provide background lighting. Similar Ex-Or systems have been installed in tennis courts and squash courts in every single Esporta centre to ensure lights automatically go off when the courts are not being used.
What level of savings should managers of sports stadia and sports and fitness centres expect to achieve? There are no figures specific to this sector available. However, according to a BRECSU Building Research Establishment document on energy efficient lighting prepared for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, lighting controls have been shown to save up to 60% in electricity usage in non-domestic buildings, with 30 - 50% considered to be an average figure. This seems to be borne out by Ewood Park's experience.

“Lighting scenes customised to suit activities and times of day”

Lighting controls can deliver other benefits as well as energy cost savings. Ex-Or's SceneSelect II, provides the ability to create customised lighting scenes to suit particular activities, times of day or other requirements, and then recall them at the touch of a button. SceneSelect II has been incorporated into the redevelopment of the South Stand at Twickenham rugby ground, in the main concourse and spectator areas. Three different lighting scenes can be instantly realised to match the use being made of the ground: match-day mode when an international is being played; non-international mode, when other activities such as training are taking place; and cleaning mode, a brightly lit scene used when the cleaners move into action.

Similarly, at the Megastore sales operation at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium, SceneSelect II has been installed to allow staff to access a variety of pre-set lighting scenes by one touch of wall-mounted buttons which are situated in different locations in the Megastore.