The 234-room InterContinental Hotel Wellington is encased in a modern glass building with arresting city and harbour views. To complement the natural light streaming in through walls of windows, a harmonising system of LED lighting fixtures was installed in a roll-out of lighting upgrades beginning with a refurbishment in 2013.
Switch lighting products have been used throughout the recent retrofit to the luxury hotel, taking energy load from 330W to 109W per room; nearly 70 percent energy reduction has been achieved.
With plenty of LED solutions on offer at the time, InterContinental Wellington, chief engineer Grant Slater told AMG that the upgrade had not been approached lightly. “We must have tried 20 different fittings before we decided to go with Switch Lighting”, and the trial was extensive. The process began with several proto-type rooms. For six months, all manner of expert was engaged in a feedback loop that saw regular hotel guests, managers and owners of other hotels, engineers and designers providing feedback on the lighting experience.
So, what were all these experts evaluating? Mr Slater indicated that a broad spectrum of characteristics was assessed, ultimately leading to the implementation of Switch Lighting solutions. “We looked at the quality of the build and how easy it was to install, and aesthetically; we were interested in the beam angle, the spectrum of light attained, and of course, the general look of the light fittings in the room or space”.
In technical terms, the hotel was concerned with the colour of light produced; an LED lighting revamp was effective in creating an ambient comfort level, with an emphasis on the management of glare.
One factor contributing to a comfortable lighting experience is ‘beam angle’. Gerard Woods of Switch Lighting explained that many total luminaires on the market have a frosted front lens that creates a beam angle above 100°, which is great for service areas. For prioritising comfort in a guest room or lounge area however, 60° is a good general purpose beam.
InterContinental’s Grant Slater said they “were interested in the CRI [colour rendering index] rating of the settings”. CRI measures a light source’s ability to show object colours ‘naturally’ or ‘realistically’. Switch Lighting engineer, Gerard Woods places the ideal rating above CRI 90 to provide a true warm and comfortable environment for guests. Interestingly, traditional halogen light sources have an index of 100.
While the initial planned installation is complete, the hotel’s engineering team has continued to work with Switch Lighting to extend LED solutions to other areas in the hotel. “They’re just great to deal with, they’re a New Zealand company, and their products are great”.
While Gerard Woods told AMG “there is a misconception that LED lights do not generate heat”, they do, and poor thermal management can produce “strange tints of colour such as pink and green, known as chromaticity shift”.
Other factors that contributed to InterContinental’s confidence include safety and energy saving benefits. Mr Slater placed a high value on the safety of the hotel’s guests. “The fittings are ‘IC-F’ certified, which means you can have insulation above the LED fitting and it won’t present a fire risk”.
With so much to consider, InterContinental’s chief engineer recommended doing your own research and undertaking extensive testing. The six months of proto-lighting was illuminating on many fronts, and the solutions engineered with Switch Lighting addressed considerations of safety, cost effectiveness, and optimised user experience.