Lighting : Lighting April 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 2
18 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | April/May 2016 April/May 2016 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 19 LEDs are just starting to impact the sports lighting sector. REES Electrical recently completed the Austin Oval project in Morriset, one of the first LED soccer field projects in NSW. Image courtesy of REES Electrical. JOHN HELLYAR Managing Director REES Electrical Tell me about REES Electrical. Our core business is open space and sports field lighting. So open space includes area lighting, it could be pathway lighting, park lighting, car park lighting. Our sports lighting focuses on soccer field, rugby field, hockey, AFL, cricket – any of those large open area playing fields, we also aim and commission floodlighting systems including light level measuring and final certification To what extent are LEDs becoming part of the work that you do? We mainly use LEDs for our open space work – pathway lighting for in-ground uplighting, for projects that require smaller light levels. For example, if you wanted to light up a car park to 15 lux, your small 40-90 watt LED lights will do that. Any roadway lighting, any open space area lighting now is mostly all LED. We’re currently doing a project at Macquarie Park, and we’re putting in about 98 smart poles. In 2014 when the original specification was written, it was all metal halides, and then when it came to construction it was all changed to LED. You don’t see any new metal halide anymore in projects of this size; most of it’s LED. You’re currently working on some LED sports lighting projects too. Tell me about those. LEDs for sports lighting are here and we are in the early stages of a new era. We’ve installed one of the first LED soccer fields in NSW at Morriset near Lake Macquarie and the light levels came up really well, but it’s still not common to use LEDs for these projects due to the initial cost of the LED – it adds 50% to the cost of project versus a conventional metal halide system. As time goes on they will get cheaper. Another thing to consider is controlling the spill light – with the experience we’ve had with early LEDs, the spill light can potentially be a big issue. They throw out so much light, and this becomes a problem in residential areas. When will we see more LEDs in this sector? We’re already seeing movement now; there are really only sort of one or two products at the moment that I would probably put my name to so far, but we’re going to see more. The councils all know it’s there, but not many of them want to take the risk on the first job just yet. I think within the next year they’ll start to cotton on to it – I wouldn’t be surprised if 50 per cent of the public sports lighting tenders that come out in the next year or two will be based on LED lighting. It’s sort of exciting, because the technology’s now at the stage where outdoor/indoor low- level lighting was three years ago. As an electrical contractor, what sort of challenges do LEDs throw up? From a sports lighting perspective, the lights go up a 20-30 metre pole, so we add weight and sail area to the pole [compared to] metal halide[s]. The way these fittings operate is the larger ones might have four LED modules in them. The pole manufacturers face similar issues – their poles were designed for technology that’s 20 years old. There will be little teething problems when these things first come out in the sports lighting side of things, but we’ll adapt. How do LEDs really compare to their predecessors? Does the technology really live up to the hype? It is more efficient, especially on smaller scale projects – it’s more efficient to have LED than the metal halide. Maintenance is a factor as well, so with metal halide you’ve generally got to replace lamps every 4000-10,000 hours, whereas the LED stuff lasts anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 hours. As far as the hype goes, it’s a technology that just keeps changing. You know, you’ll have an LED chip that you’ll put up in a light fitting this year, and then next year you’ll have the same light fitting but it’ll have the different, more efficient LED chip technology in it. The one we used last year might have been a 90 watt LED chip; this year it’ll be an 80 watt LED chip but it’ll still put out the same amount of light. So it’s continually changing, improving and [becoming] more efficient. How can you be certain of the quality of new products that are making their way into the market? We’d probably be contacted about once a week with a product that can light up a soccer, rugby, or AFL field, but when you have a look at the data sheet, you think no, that’s rubbish. You also get a lot of people who come into the LED marketplace from a sales or environmental background, so their technical knowledge and experience isn’t as good as someone who’s been in the lighting industry for a while. And you’ve got to remember that for the bigger stuff we do, we’re talking outlays in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re not going to put up something we’re not confident with, especially when we have to maintain it and give the client a warranty. So we tend to do a little bit more research. Open space lighting is now predominantly LED, as seen here in this Collaroy Beach pathway and carpark project. Images courtesy of REES Electrical.
Lighting February 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 1
Lighting June 2016 - Vol 36 Issue 3