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Lighting 246Carbon-neutral church buildings - lighting

A guest blog by Astley Fenwick, Trinity Energy Management

Within some church buildings, the lighting predominately consists of fittings using tungsten and tungsten halogen lamps, which, when originally installed was the most aesthetic way to provide general and localised lighting.

The drawback of this lighting is high energy consumption with some lamps rated at 500/1,000 watts and the relative short life of the lamps, circa 3,000 to 5,000 hours. Because of the short lamp life, regular replacement of the lamps must be undertaken which usually involves access by a ladder with the associated dangers of working at a height.

With the advent of affordable and aesthetic pleasing LED lighting, five churches within the Diocese of Durham have devised new lighting schemes whilst keeping costs to a minimum by using existing lighting wiring.

An example is St Mary’s in Staindrop, Co. Durham. This is a medieval building being some 1200 years old. The nave and chancel area have very high roofs and lighting mainly consisted of 500-watt tungsten halogen lighting. The existing lighting was at a height of some 8 metres and consisted of some 48 fittings which equated to a connected load of 24 kW and due to the height, lamp changes had to be arranged through a local contractor.

Following the design to improve lighting using LED technology, permission was sought and tenders obtained. The new scheme consisted of new LED spotlights with varying beam angles and wattage ratings of 12, 32 and 39 watts. The new connected load is now some 1.44. kW which is 6% of the previous load and lighting levels have also improved by some 50% and notable features of the of historical interest have now been highlighted.

Added to this the LED lamps have a rated lamp life of some 50,000 hours which at an assumed occupancy of a 1,000 hours/year equates to the lamps lasting about 50 years.

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A guest blog by Astley Fenwick, Trinity Energy Man, 05/05/2020

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