Case Study – Christchurch London
We had been cleaning and changing high-level Lighting at the Church for many years, at 120W each and mountains of them, the heat losses from them alone were huge.
There was some serious energy being consumed here, and not in a useful manner.
One day we got a call out as half the lights were out and most of the rest were behaving erratically. It was a 1980’s install on stage lighting dimmers, state of the art for the time.
We set about diagnosing the issues, unsurprisingly it was not the lamps. The control for the lighting was 54 switches on a panel, this was going to be fun!
It appeared there were some fried electronics in the switch panel and some of the dimmer packs had blown fuses, replacing the fuses did nothing. This system was long obsolete and was going to need expensive component-level repair. Not the best news for a small congregation.
I laid out the options to the churchwarden, we discussed several solutions. The main issue was how we would address the 8.5kW of dimmable lighting, that’s huge.
Modern LED Lighting
LED lamps have come on massively and Lighting manufacture Bell had a direct replacement for our PAR38 120w lamps. A 14w fully dimmable lamp with a stated life of 25000 hours. Amazing! It actually felt like real quality too.
Decision number one done! Let’s cut the energy usage, save on maintenance, and make the choice for new dimmers easier.
The number one suggestion was always going to be Loxone. Not because it is great but because this Church already had it installed and running the plant room.
That meant money savings for the Church. Half of what they would need was already there and working.
The existing dimmer controls were huge, they were wall mounted in the basement. Great, plenty of space to mount a new enclosure in exactly the right spot for the wiring.
The mains wiring to each of the lighting circuits was all ok. After a few light fittings were repaired from heat damage caused by the old lamps everything tested perfectly.
We set about constructing what would become the new lighting control panel. A fairly basic panel, we reused the existing 3 phase supply and added individual circuit protection for each group of lights.
We needed to link our new panel into the existing Loxone system. Loxone works on a 2 wire CAN bus, same as most modern cars. It is essentially a data connection that just connects all the modules, dimmers, and relays together. All we needed was to find the end of the existing bus and add a 2 wire link to our shiny new lighting control panel. Done.
User Lighting Controls
In the old system, we had the 54 switches on the wall, not the best! We discussed at length with the Rector and the churchwarden how and when they used the Church.
We needed to understand when they wanted lighting and for what purpose, Loxone excels in Scene and Motion-based lighting.
I wanted to make the new controls much more user-friendly and visually acceptable too.
The Church already had an iPad on the wall which they used for the heating controls. This was to be the new lighting control point.
Between us, we came up with 8 presets, Scenes if you like, for the lighting. Things like ‘all on’, a rare need but useful for cleaning. And a more useful scene called Early Service. this was something they would use every week for the first Sunday morning service. We had gone from pressing a sequence on the 54 buttons to one tap on the iPad screen.
With part of the Church also having been rewired, we once again extended the Loxone system. It now manages the outside lighting and the new shower room heating and ventilation.
Loxone is a real all-round system. There is very little that cannot be controlled, managed, or integrated with to provide ultimate flexibility in energy use or simply user convenience.