Taking the university challenge

Located in Middlesbrough on the south bank of the River Tees, Teesside University has become one of the UK’s foremost seats of learning. It achieves consistently high rankings in surveys that assess the quality of education on offer, and in 2009 it was named as the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards University of the Year.

Currently home to over 28,000 students, Teesside University has become renowned for the quality of its facilities and it has made a £120m investment to provide a top-class learning environment. Recent developments include The Athena which is a 4,000sq m area of studio space for computing, design and media students, and The Phoenix, which is home to the Institute of Digital Innovation.

Sky high

Middlesbrough Tower is the University campus’s most imposing structure. 11 stories high, it houses the main reception area and administrative facilities, as well as teaching areas including newly equipped labs to support forensic and analytical sciences, environmental sciences and food technology.

One of the oldest buildings on the site is currently undergoing a phased refurbishment, the first phase of which has now been completed. The building’s previous emergency lighting system had been in place since the late 1960s and for the University’s Electrical Services Manager, David Newton, it was time to upgrade this important part of Middlesbrough Tower’s life safety infrastructure.

David says: “The central battery system which had been installed in the basement area had become expensive to run and maintain, and it took up quite a lot of space because it was supplied by two large 110 volt battery cubicles. Also, the 8W luminaires that the old system used needed the fluorescent lamps to be changed frequently and this took a lot of time as well as being costly. Therefore, in line with the University’s energy reduction targets, I wanted to install a system that would reduce overheads, while utilising the latest technology.”

A perfect fit

David was introduced to Hochiki Europe’s new emergency lighting solution by its installation partner, TCS Fire Safety Services Ltd, based in Middlesbrough, and he quickly realised that it would meet all of his selection criteria.

Manufactured in the UK, it is an EN50172 compliant intelligent low voltage system which utilises light emitting diode (LED) technology. It comprises an addressable emergency lighting control panel with battery back-up, and features addressable, self-contained LED luminaires and signage connected via low voltage (40V) cabling. The luminaires are also equipped with battery back-up, making sure they will function in every situation, while the units fit directly onto a standard Hochiki sensor base (YBN-R/3), making installation simple.

Lighting the way

120 LED luminaires were installed during phase one and these were linked to an addressable controller using existing cabling. With maintenance being a major problem with the old system, Teesside University’s onsite team is now able to comply with EN50172 legislation.

David explains:  “In contrast to other systems, this system is programmable and its control panel continuously monitors and tests the functionality of the system. If there is ever a problem I can be notified straight away. It can also be pre-programmed to carry out specific monthly, six monthly and annual tests and we can then download the results from the control panel and print out the servicing and test schedules. This makes the system fully compliant with the requirements of BS5266-1:2005, while reducing our overheads considerably.”

The system’s long life LED technology also means that it requires less than 5% of the lamp changes compared with traditional fluorescent lighting.

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