Emergency lighting and exit signage are essential to ensure safe egress by building occupants when the normal lighting fails, including during a fire or other crisis. The right product selection has a significant effect on both the compliance outcome and the overall cost of ownership for the end user. Once installed the cost of maintaining the emergency lighting system to ensure compliance has been a significant issue. In many cases, the maintenance cost exceeds the cost of installation when using old technology batteries including Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)
So, in short, the real costs begin after installation and Clevertronics L10 range of products powered by Lithium Nanophosphate® battery technology will cut maintenance and energy cost by 85%.
With recent advancements in Lithium Iron Phosphate battery (LFP) technology combined with some clever engineering design, the issues around high maintenance costs can be a thing of the past for Building Owners and Facilities Managers. It is important to note that different LFP batteries will produce large variations in maintenance cost savings, therefore, it is very important to ask manufacturers for actual site results before making a selection based on your requirements. As an example Clevertronics has two ranges fitted with LFP products, the Lithium Premium (LP) range produces around 50% maintenance savings range compared to NiCd products and the L10 Optimum range fitted with Lithium Nanophosphate® technology batteries is able to produce an unmatched 85% in maintenance savings. Other benefits that can be achieved with select LFP products is an energy saving of up to 80% and the important fact that Lithium is a much safer option for humans and the environment due to the absence of dangerous toxic substances of Cadmium, Nickel and Lead.
To review the performance difference the Clevertonics L10 range can have over old technology batteries a case study at Marvel Stadium was undertaken. In 2012 the Clevertronics L10 product range with Lithium Nanophosphate® battery technology was installed on-site at Marvel Stadium and is well on track to deliver an incredible saving of over $1 million during the 7 year maintenance period.
Marvel Stadium is a 52,000 seat multi-purpose facility designed to cater for major sporting and entertainment events, as well as social, business and private functions. The venue hosts as many as 80 arena sports and entertainment events and 600 non-event day functions annually in its 15 different function spaces. The stadium now hosts in the vicinity of 50 AFL matches a season, as well as A-League games and Big Bash League cricket matches. The venue also regularly stages international sporting events such as Rugby League World Cup matches, Rugby Union Tests, and World Cup qualifiers.
In 2012, Honeywell was tasked with a review of the emergency lighting within Etihad stadium as the maintenance and energy costs continued to climb. The existing fittings were nearing end of life which had created the need for major components replacement. With 2,756 Exit and Emergency lights installed within the facility and a high volume of foot traffic, quality, and performance of emergency lighting and escape signage is critical so a decision was made to refurbish the entire stadium.
The Honeywell Victoria TAM Operations Manager who was involved in reviewing the options available to ensure the stadium met the standards required and also provided the best total cost solution for his customer.
After considering the options he selected the L10 Nanophosphate product from Clevertronics and was amazed at the performance this product could achieve over previous alternatives.
He commented “The L10 Lithium range is the way of the future, I believe the move away from NiCd batteries will be quite swift as building owners and facility managers become aware of the numerous advantages that lithium batteries offer. The added advantage of low environmental impact and also less waste through longer replacement intervals also makes it a far more sustainable technology compared to existing practice. Having no memory effect and being smaller in physical size are also advantageous qualities that attracted us to the product. During the installation period, Clevertronics also provided outstanding technical support to assist with the installation, ensuring a swift and uncomplicated installation of the L10 product. We estimate that the total energy and maintenance costs will drop from $1,083,830 to $178,867 over a seven-year period, which is an 83.5% saving. The switch will also ensure an energy saving of approximately 70%, equating to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 932 tonnes over the same seven-year period, which is quite remarkable.”
The project was a twelve-month staged upgrade and was completed in April 2013 which involved installing 2,756 Exit and Emergency lights integrated into a Zoneworks computer monitoring system. The Zoneworks monitoring system allows for automatic compliance testing of the system, real-time luminaire reporting and access to testing and reporting over the internet.
Interestingly the product selected by Honeywell was also the world’s first LFP powered Emergency light designed and manufactured by Australian based company Clevertronics. The development of the Clevertronics L10 range was no small feat and took over three years of Research, Development and Testing by a team of Australian-based engineers. The L10 range installed throughout the stadium has a design life of 10 years, which is approximately double that of emergency lighting products powered by NiCd or NiMH batteries.
Latest project update
Recent results in August 2020 has shown that the average capacity of the L10 Nanophosphate fittings are at 93.51%, with an average run time of 178 minutes (90 minutes is the required time) after 7 years in service. This indicates that the L10 batteries are on track to exceed the expected design life of the L10 product by a significant margin. The site has now delivered the maintenance and energy savings estimated at the time of installation and continues to provide the site with the lowest cost emergency lighting solution on the market.
To understand the challenges of incorporating an LFP battery into an Emergency light and why long term testing and making it work in harmony with the total product is vital to ensure long term reliability Michael Duce – National Systems and Engineering Manager from Clevertronics provided some insight. “When we were embarking on this project we knew the reliability of the product was centered around the impact heat would have on the components inside the emergency luminaires so we put significant resources into redesigning products to place batteries away from heat sources. In the case of batten luminaires, we developed a thermally isolated section or POD at the end of the batten to house the LFP battery and the emergency LED light source”. Testing was rigorous and Michael and his Australian-based team spent over two years testing the product before it was released on the market. Michael adds further details about managing the project. “The second challenge was to ensure we could incorporate the battery into the various range of fittings. Our customers needed a complete range of Emergency, Exits and Battens fittings for their projects and to realise the 80% plus maintenance savings from the L10 range we needed to deliver the entire range as a package. This was challenging from an engineering perspective due to the massive scale of the development task given the large number of different products in our range. It meant that we had to structure the development team to work on several product families concurrently and work very closely with the Production Team to ensure a smooth transition to full-scale production. To see the results now after having them onsite for close to 4 years provides great satisfaction, especially being the global innovators of this technology”