The Mill, Batley

Gamma proves there's more to light than just LEDs

Project requirements
The Mill, Batley is the UK's largest retail mill.  It offers visitors 40 stores ranging from fashion, furniture, homewares and gifts at discounted prices and all under one roof.

The maintenance manager at The Mill initially contacted Gamma after it was recommended as a reliable lighting designer and manufacturer.  The Mill was about to carry out a refit of the first floor, however, the budget for the refit was limited and so Gamma was tasked with advising and supplying a cost effective low energy alternative to the electricity hungry 150W metal halide pendants that were being used.

Gamma visited the premises to conduct a site survey in order to fully understand the lighting requirements as well as to ascertain the budget available.  The survey established that not only were the pendants of low quality and were inefficient but, they weren’t being maintained effectively and many lamps were failing prematurely and as a result the required amount of light and life wasn’t been obtained.

In addition, the survey also found that low voltage downlights weren’t being used effectively and instead of generating appeal by illuminating displays, they were being used as a visual lighting feature.  Additional problems they posed were the high cost of replacement lamps, resulting in spot replacements as oppose to a planned maintenance programme.  As a result The Mill was experiencing issues with inconsistent lumen depreciation along with huge colour shifting problems between luminaires.  This was highlighted by the need to reduce the price of some stock as the light wasn’t accurately representing the colour of the displays and consequently they weren’t selling.
As a result the following lighting requirements were established:

• Reduce energy costs
• Increase lamp life
• Ensure that the fittings stayed within the restricted refurbishment budget
• Generally create a more pleasant shopping experience with the ambient light source
• Increase the visual appeal of displays

Project solutions
After discussing and assessing the requirements with the client, Gamma suggested that the best alternative for the ambient lighting application would be the DDG 2x42W CFL pendants.  In theory these luminaires shouldn’t offer any increased light levels when compared to the 150W metal halide pendants but due to the low quality and low DLOR of the existing luminaires, along with poor lamp maintenance, the application would benefit from a higher quality of light output provided by the CFL pendants as well as other benefits, which included:
• Maintained colour temperature and colour rendition
• Reduced energy by over 40%
• Increased lamp life with less failures

For the display lighting, Gamma advised that the low voltage luminaires should be utilised more effectively with the introduction of some extremely powerful adjustable metal halide Topaz 115 G-Spot spotlights.  These could be installed around the low voltage downlights to provide a discreet yet highly effective display light source, whilst retaining the visual attractiveness of the lighting feature.

Project results
By changing from the 150W metal halide lamps to 2x42W CFL’s, The Mill was benefiting from an energy saving of 66W per fitting, not including driver consumption.  Multiply this by the number of light fittings required and the savings are significant.

In the display areas, the addition of the Topaz metal halide spotlights ensured that the stock benefited from an accent lighting solution which was accurate, consistent in its light output and has a life that out-perms the comparable low voltage lamp.  So much so that the stock that had been previously reduced was put back to full price and started selling.    

At present the emphasis on LED luminaries often means that the energy saving benefits take priority over the best solution for an application.  However, experience suggests that LED is not always the right solution and it‘s Gamma’s responsibility to listen and understand the requirements before advising the client on the best solution that suits the application and budget.  By considering all the available good quality light sources Gamma was confident that the CFL solution for ambient lighting and metal halide for the accent lighting would tick all the boxes for The Mill without the need to jump to LEDs.

All-in-all a pleasant shopping environment was created and resulted in visitors spending more time and, more importantly, more money, as a result of the revived appeal of the displays.  This ultimately meant that The Mill’s owners were able to place a higher value on each retail commission space.

Further to this installation, and as a result of wanting to increase energy savings and reduce maintenance further, an initial trial of Gamma’s lingo LED track spotlights has recently been completed.  Gamma is now looking forward to a long working relationship with The Mill and is planning the next stage which will see lingo being incorporated into the lighting scheme.