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Re-lighting the Coach House Part the Fourth and Final

This is the final episode in the Adventure that has been the Re-lighting of the Coach House. I hope you've enjoyed coming along with us.

Inevitably, the last thing to be done was the very thing that got this project started in the first place. The old Crompton battens have been replaced with superb dimmable T5 battens from PJR Engineering Ltd, and before you ask, they'll be 2700K colour temperature tubes lurking behind in those channels. The installation is being driven via a RAKO wireless control system. Wonderful stuff. But there are a few things I'd like to say about working with lighting control systems before I go any further, because these systems do wake up the bee that slumbers in my headgear.

Let me put it this way; a lighting control system is only as good as the imagination and the effort that goes into writing the script for what happens behind the buttons. I'm well aware that there are some very expensive systems out there that have never been programmed - still running on factory defaults, and treasured merely for the badge on the front of the control plate.
Not good enough, my friends. Truly, that's not good enough.

Let me give you a 100-word masterclass in lighting control. Go on; indulge me.
Don't start with the number of buttons on the control plate. Do that and you will choke the design by limiting the scene-setting options to the number of buttons you have.
Rather, look at the space and see how you want it to look. Know your brief, and work with the influences that the client and the architecture bring to bear on the design. Now work out your scenes and write the script for each button.
Ah, not enough buttons? Then its time to get creative.

The usual problem comes with the variables created by incidental lighting the table lamps and the standard lamps and the fancy knick-knackery that comes with modern living. They act as a multiplier when it comes to creating pre-set scenes and leave you hunting for ways to incorporate them into the system.
The answer? Don't bother. That's why we call it incidental lighting. Use the pre-set scenes for infrastructure lighting, but leave the minutiae of the human living space to the humans. They can work it out, the little darlings.

And that's what we've done. The RAKO system takes care of the big picture, controlling the architectural lighting from dull afternoons to the post-supper snooze-along-a-TV-re-run. The human activity side of things gets dealt with by the age-old method of switching on a local light or trimming a wick or rubbing two sticks together or whatever it is you do to be able to darn your sustainable socks.

Of course, we're not finished yet. Domestic lighting should always have a secret door at the back of the wardrobe marked Evolution. Things will change because that is in our nature. But the foundation is a strong one.

Thanks for giving us your time to read about what we've been up at The Coach House. Come down and take a look bring a bun.

Finally, a quick energy audit on what we've achieved:
When we arrived at The Coach House the main living space whilst being appallingly lit was using a massive 785W in fixed lighting load; that is to say, the fixtures that were actually screwed down.
Now that we're wiping away the sweat from our brows, the fixed lighting load is now around 325W, give or take a few Watts of gear losses. And that's assuming everything running at full tilt.
Of course, we've introduced a fair amount of portable lighting, to the tune of another 100W or so. But we've demonstrated that it's possible not only to improve hugely on a poor lighting installation, but that it's possible to save energy while you're doing it.

Here's the list of supporting manufacturers in The Coach House Re-Lighting Project.
Commercial Lighting Systems Ltd 
ETAP Lighting NV 
Kosnic (UK) Ltd
PJR Engineering Ltd 
RAKO Controls Ltd 
Townhill Studio 

And thanks once againto my good friends Drew and Holly at Moonstruck Films.

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The Coach House
2 East Mill Court
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Sherborne
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