Efficiency and quality in harmony
We hear a lot about the amount of energy which lighting uses and even more about the ways in which we can work towards reducing that energy, but how do we effectively reduce the quantity of energy we use without reducing the quality of the lighting which we provide?
The answer is quite simply to reduce the energy consumption but not the lighting, something which Waldmann has got down to a fine art.
A new concept
Twin-C is a new concept from Waldmann which basically says that you can achieve low energy costs and satisfied employees by working towards a balance between lighting efficiency and lighting quality – or to put it another way, maximum comfort with minimum energy output.
The key to achieving this, according to Waldmann, is by focussing on the visual task zone rather than the entire room and by taking into consideration the requirements of the individual. This might sound like one of those ‘touchy feely’ type of concepts but statistics show that proper lighting lowers sick leave and absenteeism and thus reduces non-wage labour costs in the medium to long term – which certainly makes it worth taking seriously.
The heart of the problem
Health problems such as headaches and eye problems are a common reason for absence from work, but you can reduce this considerably with the right lighting solution. For example a large number of work areas do not have sufficient lighting with computer workstations in particular suffering from ‘dark pockets’ or reflections and glare, all of which have a negative impact on the employee and their levels of motivation.
If we just look at the comfort factor – we all work better if we feel comfortable in our surroundings and therefore it stands to reason that if you are designing a lighting scheme for an office you have to provide the comfort levels for each individual occupant in order to increase motivation. But how do you create the perfect environment for a group of individuals who each have a different set of needs while at the same time taking into account the negative impact of such things as reflections and glare?
An additional factor which you need to take into consideration is that of age. The number of older employees in every company is on the increase and with that the demands of lighting in the workplace becomes even more complicated as a person’s need for light increases with age and the sensitivity to glare also grows.
If you add all of these factors together it begins to get really complicated and the perfect lighting solution seems way beyond the average persons reach. But that is where the Waldmann Twin-C solution provides the answer, taking into account the energy saving needs of a building as well as the health and productivity of your workforce.
The right solution
The basic concept of Twin-C is that it enables companies to see – and by this Waldmann mean that it enables companies to appreciate the needs of both their employees and their costs and provide a solution which meets the needs of both.
Twin-C covers four basic areas; energy savings, economic efficiency, health and productivity. If we start with energy savings, in a typical office up to 75% of the electricity costs which are spent on lighting can be saved if outdated technology is replaced with modern systems. This actually sounds quite simple but the fact remains that many companies would rather stick with their current, outdated solution because they do not have the capital to invest in new lighting. But that argues Waldmann is where we are going wrong because if we look at the whole life costs of a system, the payback period is decreasing as energy costs escalate and therefore it makes sense to make the changes sooner rather than later.
There is already a good argument for change before we even look at the issue of economic efficiency. Older lighting systems will simply provide a ‘blanket’ of light across an office environment which doesn’t take into account the needs of the individual. Instead the focus needs to be on illuminating the area of the visual task, and with intelligent integration with a building management system this can be done in a far more cost effective manner than a traditional lighting solution. In addition by focussing on the task area you can reduce glare on computer workstations and thus reduce the health complaints from employees associated with this and increase the productivity through a general sense of well being.
The Twin-C concept considers everything from the architecture of the building to the luminaire, for example, it takes into account windows and the need to reduce the levels of light to take into account natural daylight as well as the size and shape of a room and the dark and light pockets within it. In short it provides a means to provide a lighting solution which is designed for visibility.
But providing the right solution is not something which can be taken lightly and for Waldmann it is a four step process which starts with an on-site survey by their in-house lighting consultants to determine the essential requirements of any particular building.
We have already said that every building and its occupants have specific needs which is why the survey takes all of this into account and as a result an individual lighting solution is designed for each customer, only then can the appropriate components be selected to achieve the perfect lighting solution.
The final part of the process is the solution and ensuring that the correct light is in the correct location, thus ensuring that every employee has the correct levels of light to carry out their day to day tasks while at the same time achieving the necessary cost savings to meet the budget requirements.
Making it work
This all sounds good in principal but clearly the key is in making it work – something which Waldmann appear to be very good at. Not only do they have an excellent range of products to suit every requirement but they also have a whole host of satisfied customers who provide the proof that they know what they are talking about.
A good example of this is the Amsterdam Stock Exchange which proved to be a challenge when you take into account the ceiling height of 22m and the requirement for 6-9 monitors per workspace. In this type of environment there is no place for error and the Waldmann solution came in the form of Tycoon desk mounted luminaires with innovative reflection screens which resemble sails on a boat. The resulting illumination blends perfectly with the overall design and achieves a dual purpose in that the individual visual tasks of each employee can be perfectly performed and the building specific requirements were more than adequately covered.
The constant move towards achieving energy efficiency is all very commendable providing it is not at the expense of the comfort of your employees because this can very soon result in an increase in costs due to sickness and absenteeism.
There is a balance which needs to be achieved and while it may seem like the search for the Holy Grail, Waldmann has proved that it can indeed be a reality. By working with the right company and looking at all aspects of your lighting solution you can achieve results which will keep everyone happy – even the accountants.