Netherlands, 18th April 2010
Still no flights in Europe…British Airways announced today that all their flights for Monday have been cancelled, which means my planned meeting in London is off. We will try and have the meeting through a conference call instead…thank God for internet these days! The subject of emergency lighting fits very well with the current emergency situation in Europe and some people’s desperate situation, stuck somewhere at an airport or foreign country…at least I am lucky holding fort at my parents place while waiting for my flight to be confirmed. Let’s face it; there is no better restaurant than mum’s cooking!
I kill my time working on some projects of which I have always plenty with me. In one of them, we have a debate with the client about who should be responsible for the emergency lighting. We generally do not take emergency lighting design as part of our services. I believe it should be the responsibility of the M&E consultant. But we do coordinate and integrate the proposed emergency lighting layout into our architectural lighting design planning. Specifically in interiors as I am not a great fan of those so called UFO’s, those little exposed ceiling “dishes” with a halogen burner. I prefer to minimize the number of lighting points in the ceiling. So we designate strategically located architectural lights to be part of the emergency lighting. When the light is not an instant start type we build an additional little halogen burner in the light fittings reflector.
In exteriors it is a bit more difficult because most light sources we use are generally gas discharge types, which do not have an instant start or re-strike. So we end up with additional emergency light fittings specifically for the purpose.
Emergency lighting can be powered by an individual battery pack or by linking the selected lights to an emergency power supply, generally a generator set. The emergency power comes on automatically when the normal grid power fails.
As emergency lighting is often a grey area, I believe as lighting designer we should take the lead and be in control of the overall integration and coordinate with the M&E consultant’s requirements.