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Birmingham NEC

Birmingham’s NEC achieves 70% energy savings on lighting costs with the help of Waveguide Lighting.

The Challenge:

The NEC in Birmingham wanted to replace existing lighting in its Gallery and Concourse Suites and above the Skywalk with lighting that would improve the visitor experience while saving energy and lowering carbon emissions.

As an organisation the NEC has committed to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Reducing their lighting energy usage is a massive part of them achieving this target. The NEC has around 70,000 lights throughout its site – that equates to a fifth of their total energy usage.

That is a huge cost and finding solutions that improve light quality while reducing energy consumption is key.

The lights also needed to be designed to be in keeping with the NEC’s current branding and be able to dim to 7% in key areas without flicker.

Our Solution:

Waveguide Lighting installed 144 TiLites in the Concourse and Gallery Suites and 260 bespoke RodLites above the 400m long Skywalk that were designed to be match the NEC’s corporate branding and to be in-keeping with lighting finishes in other areas. The 30watt RodLites replaced 54watt T8 Tubes (58-60watts with ballast) – immediately creating energy savings of 50%.

As the lights are on continuously software was installed that uses sensors to detect when the Skywalk area is empty and dims the RodLites to just 10%. With these intelligent controls more than 70% energy savings have been achieved.

In the Concourse and Gallery Suites, Waveguide Lighting replaced T8 fluorescents with the TiLite 30 and TiLite 30/120 fittings that were engineered to dim down to just 7% and to work seamlessly with RGB LED down lights. Waveguide Lighting provided 300 Lux for the Skylight and in the Concourse and Gallery suites 600Lux was achieved.

The Skywalk’s lighting creates daylight indoors and has received extremely positive comments from the NEC’s customers for making the area more welcoming. Waveguide Lighting’s digital light sources’ ability to deliver specific colour – and with an 80 CRI – not only makes the Skywalk brighter, cleaner and friendlier but shows everything in its truest colour. All these effects are over and above the 70% energy savings and carbon reduction that the installations helped the NEC to achieve.


“We definitely found the best solution in terms of budget, energy reduction targets and overall lighting effect with Waveguide Lighting. The light colour, output and uniformity is tremendous and all in all I believe we have the right light solution for the NEC. Waveguide Lighting has the right attitude and real enthusiasm for their lighting technology. They have the ability to be flexible and offer bespoke solutions – nothing was too much trouble. They listened and found solutions. We have only had positive comments from customers and NEC staff alike about the new lighting, – particularly about the Skywalk.” Andrew Cope, project engineer at the NEC

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