Belfast City Hall is Belfast City Council’s civic building. It is located in the heart of Belfast city centre. It is a quadrangular building by Alfred Brumwell Thomas (1906) in the Renaissance style. The building is a tourist attraction and visited by 1 million visitors every year and is a focal point for public events.
Main characteristics of the pilot project
The pilot is related to the replacement of the existing luminaries on the domes, and façade. The installations are 20 year old with increasing maintenance and operation costs. The building architectural features are not properly highlighted and the lighting system does not have the flexibility that could even increase its touristic value (colour) and reduce its operating costs (dimming). There were also issues identified with the previous lighting system, such as variation in colour temperature, variation in light intensity and poor linkage of the building elements.
The expected results were:
enhanced lighting to promote the architectural features of the building
flexible lighting level control,
energy savings thanks to the LED but also maintenance costs reduction
colour changing effects
While the colour changing capabilities has brought an interesting dynamic to the project, this is viewed as an added bonus when compared to the savings it will deliver in terms of reducing energy consumption and maintenance.
433 light fittings installed on and around Belfast City Hall, each of which can be individually controlled to provide both static and dynamic scenes which can call on a palette of 16 million different colour options.
The installation is the largest “Intellipower” system in Europe using “Ethernet over power” technology to transmit data signals over the existing mains cabling within the City Hall. The Intellipower system allowed the internal cabling to remain in situation, minimizing disruption within the building, and causing no aesthetic issues. The system is based on an astronomical clock with lights switching on or off based on the sunrise and sunset. However, additional flexibility has also been added with the ability to hand control over to a lighting desk, similar to those used at concerts.
But the real focus is on generating savings, both in terms of operating and maintenance costs. The system reduces the annual electricity bill by around £12,000 per year and thus reduces carbon emissions by 40 tonnes. Maintenance costs should also be reduced by around £4,500 per year as the SSL lighting devices have a potential 10-year life-expectancy, whereas the old scheme involved substantial re-lamping each year.
Similar LED projects are already under development in other buildings managed by the Belfast City Council.