Having worked with Thorlux products for over 10 years, Sheffield Hallam’s Estates Department is now seeing the benefit of the company’s latest innovation. Describing its SmartScan system as ‘the way to go’, the university has recognised the significant savings that can be achieved by removing the task of manually testing thousands of emergency luminaires every month.

Despite being home to around 30,000 students and 450 staff, over the past 10 years Sheffield Hallam has reduced carbon emissions resulting from energy use in its buildings by 11.2%. As the university has grown the logistics required in testing the emergency lighting in order to conform to legislation have become increasingly difficult. This is where Thorlux were able to offer a solution, the university was one of the early adopters of Scanlight AT, the Thorlux web-based emergency lighting testing and monitoring systems.

Paul Browse is Sheffield Hallam’s Senior Electrical Engineer and he explains: “We have been very heavily involved with Scanlight having experimented with other systems and having found them to be unreliable. Our Scanlight trial found the system to be very efficient.

“The big advantage of the system is the automatic testing of emergency lighting which eliminates the need for physically checking individual luminaires. Before Scanlight, we used a combination of our own staff and contractors to carry out the monthly and annual tests. The new, automated system negates the need for this which is a considerable saving given the size of our estate. We’ve seen a massive saving on staff hours.”
With Scanlight AT already installed across many of the university buildings, the estates department has now started to install SmartScan.

SmartScan merges Thorlux’s Smart energy efficient indoor lighting controls – which are designed with group presence detection and individual daylight-based switching and dimming – with energy-saving Smart External lighting controls. It also incorporates Scanlight AT web-based emergency lighting testing and monitoring systems, combining all three into one wireless control system.

Smartscan emergency luminaires test according to the schedule specified in BS EN 62034:2012 and display current status via a bi-colour LED. The SmartScan programmer can be used to download detailed status information and initiate manual testing.

What makes SmartScan a winner from Paul Browse’s point of view is its ease of installation, particularly in retro-fit situations. SmartScan uses the latest wireless mesh technology to replace wired communications signals between each luminaire.

SmartScan uses 868MHz secure radio communication which offers excellent transmission distance within buildings with each luminaire acting as a wireless node to repeat commands on to the next luminaire. This provides a robust system that will always find a communication path.

The first Sheffield Hallam building to be fitted with SmartScan is the five-storey Arundel Building which combines teaching space with staff accommodation, a café and public access space.
Paul Browse explains the decision to move on to SmartScan: “SmartScan gives us everything in one package. We have been extremely satisfied with Scanlight but the main factor influencing our decision to go with SmartScan was the significant reduction in installation costs. It is an ideal system for refurbishments, particularly in awkward buildings where you have to deal with areas such as stairwells.

“Looking at budgetary figures, the slightly increased capital outlay of SmartScan over the equivalent Scanlight-AT system is more than outweighed by the time and cost savings from not having to install connective wiring between luminaires. With its ease of installation, SmartScan is the way to go.”

Another key benefit of SmartScan for the estates team at Sheffield Hallam is the accessibility of information. Luminaires are wirelessly linked into a Gateway which collects and transmits their status information to the World Wide Web for viewing using tablets, smart-phones, laptops and computers.

With SmartScan now in place in the Arundel Building, further installations are currently underway across Sheffield Hallam’s facilities. Paul Browse also reports that the system has been well received by the university’s major electrical contractors. They’ve taken up the Thorlux training offer which has improved project handovers. He concludes: “I think SmartScan will really come into its own – I just wish we’d had it earlier!”