There is no question that public health experts and essential service workers are leading the charge in overcoming the greatest pandemic in our generation. It is humbling to examine and reflect on how the engineering profession can provide solutions that lead to better health outcomes for our communities.
As an engineering consulting firm, our clients rely on us to provide designs and specifications that will lead to a safer, more efficient and reliable environment. Intricately tied to this is how we can manage system upgrades with the least amount of disruption to building occupants and operations.
Prism recently completed a lighting project for the Westminster Wing of the Richmond Hospital in our home province of BC. Prior to the upgrade, lighting for most circulation areas and practicum wards of the Wing was provided by wall mounted or suspended linear indirect fluorescent systems. The luminaires were used to illuminate the volume of the space utilizing the walls and ceilings and provided no direct light on the floor or task surfaces.
In the day ward and physiotherapy, luminaires were positioned away from the patient beds. The lack of lighting directly over these beds made it difficult for staff to perform their tasks. Furthermore, the location of the indirect lighting systems caused shadowing for the nurses when attending to patients at their bedside.
Another challenge with the previous lighting system was the number of hours required by maintenance staff to keep the lights free of debris. As the luminaires were a linear system with perforated diffusers, they became dusty very easily. Maintenance staff were required to vacuum the indirect luminaires on a monthly basis to remove dust.
To address these issues, Prism recommended and implemented a LED lighting system upgrade where new luminaires were installed in all circulation areas. The revised lighting spacing now provides optimal and uniform lighting throughout these spaces. In patient care areas, additional lighting systems were installed and centred above the practicum spaces to provide better visibility. Dimming controls now allow staff to adjust illumination to suit their preferences, their tasks and for patient comfort.
This lighting upgrade resulted in:
- Safer work environments with more effective lighting to help essential service workers do their jobs.
- Reduced risk for infection as dust was less likely to accumulate on systems.
- A significant reduction in costs by allowing maintenance staff to work on other more critical tasks rather than cleaning existing luminaires.
- An estimated 162,000 KWh of annual energy savings, or nearly 75% savings compared to the previous lighting system.