Case Studies

Ex-Or In Control in Belfast’s Prestigious New Building

​Environmental concerns, the need to make savings in electricity costs and the desire to deliver staff comfort.

These were the main drivers that led to the installation of The Ex-Or MLS throughout one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious new office buildings.

The four-storey Phoenix Natural Gas headquarters and operations building occupies a 2.2 acre site in Belfast. More than 500 luminaires are controlled automatically by The Ex-Or MLS Managed Lighting System. Communicating presence detectors swap information about occupancy and levels of natural light, automatically delivering optimum lighting conditions.

Almost 250 people, comprising engineers, sales, and administrative staff, work in the building which is mainly open plan with some cellular offices and meeting rooms.
Said Phoenix facilities manager Chris Losty: “By its very nature our company is most energy conscious and aware of its environmental obligations and it was necessary to extend these principles into the design and operation of the new building.

“In addition we wanted a system which would ensure the lights dimmed or switched off when there were sufficient levels of natural light.”
He said that The Ex-Or MLS delivers considerably more benefits than stand-alone lighting control options and time-of-day lighting management systems. MLS detectors communicate with each other to provide the correct level of lighting to occupants in work zones and hold lights on automatically in key circulation areas.
During the installation, discrete, flush-mounted detectors were located in the ceilings within the Phoenix building, each of which regulate six linear fluorescent luminaires and four downlighters via a two-core cable which sends a control signal to the digital regulating ballasts. There are a total of 55 detectors on each floor. Communication between the detectors is via a signal bus conveniently routed with the mains wiring.
Groups of luminaires were then easily programmed using the hand-held remote MLS infrared programmer. Both fluorescent luminaires and energy saving lamps are controlled by The Ex-Or MLS. As work patterns change in the future, so Chris Losty can simply alter the behaviour of groups of luminaires by using the programmer. Individual users can temporarily alter the lighting levels of their own lights if they wish, by using their own remote hand-held controllers.

The end result has been the successful delivery of three key objectives for Phoenix Natural Gas.

  • Phoenix’s main aim was to extend its environmental concerns into the fabric of it headquarters building using automatic lighting control. Luminaires burning when they are not needed, or at a much higher light level than required, is not environmentally friendly.
  • Luminaires which automatically dim down or switch off when not needed ensure that significant cost savings are made on the building’s electricity bill.
  • The automatic delivery of correct lighting levels at all times creates the most comfortable working environment for its staff and ensures Phoenix is meeting all current and anticipated future health and safety legislation covering lighting levels and VDU use.
Said Chris Losty: “In the months following the opening of our building the staff have been totally happy with their lit environment. We are satisfied that The Ex-Or MLS is delivering significant electricity cost savings and the system has proved reliable in use.”
Harvey Group plc, mechanical and electrical contractors in Northern Ireland, said they wanted to obtain The Ex-Or MLS from Malone Lighting, Ex-Or’s Irish agents, following a demonstration of its capabilities. Harvey Group then worked closely with Ex-Or at the design development stage to provide a value for money and flexible system that met the needs of Phoenix Natural Gas and came within their budget.
Said Harvey Group managing director Brian Harvey: “We carried out the complete mechanical and electrical installations and we continue to provide the planned maintenance to Phoenix Natural Gas. We found the Ex-Or system simple to install and it has proved to be reliable and simple to operate. The Ex-Or lighting was one of a number of elements in the project described by the principal contractor Bovis as ‘very innovative and well received’.”
The fluorescent luminaires and energy-saving light fittings were specified by M & E Whitby Bird and Partners, London. Architect was Cartwright Pickard.
The Ex-Or MLS is available in two versions, analogue and digital. New MLS Digital offers enhanced ballast compatibility - both DALI and DSI ballasts can be controlled. Digital technology means that more flexibility can be built into the system.

For example, specially designed lit environments can be created automatically when areas are first occupied and later vacated.In addition, various features from Ex-Or’s other lighting management and control systems can be seamlessly incorporated into MLS Digital to offer greater flexibility.