Emergency lighting is what leads you to the closest staircase and helps you leave the building safely when the main lighting collapses. Functional and well deployed emergency luminaires can save lives, therefore they are considered to be part of fire safety equipment and must comply with special technical norms. The luminaires are either powered with an autonomous battery, or connected to a central system. We prefer the latter for a number of reasons:
Autonomous batteries: why they always last shorter than expected
The usual lifespan as stated by producers of emergency luminaires with autonomous batteries is 4 years. Nevertheless one has to bear in mind that the 4-year lifespan is feasible solely under perfect conditions, i.e. around 25˚C. Each additional 10˚C halve the real lifespan. Keeping the temperature below 25˚C is hardly conceivable especially if we use recessed luminaires mounted in panel false ceilings or sealed luminaires. Thus the real lifespan often decreases to 2-3 years, followed by purchasing of new batteries and expenses for their replacement in each individual fixture.
Never ending checks
Apart from the expenses for batteries replacement there are additional operational costs such as obligatory checks and keeping of an operating diary (according to ČSN EN 50172). Once a month a regular check of every luminaire has to be carried out, testing its functionality during a power outage (“functionality test”) and once a year the luminaire must stay switched on for the entire given time period (“autonomous test”). Outcomes of these tests must be recorded in an operating diary.
Central battery system: how it works
Central battery system (CBS) is an alternative to the above described obsolete solution. CBS comprises of emergency luminaires connected to independent emergency circuits with non-flamable cabels. The circuits are then connected to the switchboard with batteries and a control unit for monitoring of the emergency lighting. In high-rise buildings or buildings with large built-up area multi-storey switchboards are usually used. In the event of a power failure, the control unit switches power supply from 230V AC to 220V DC from the batteries. That’s why it’s important for the main luminaires to be able to operate both in DC and AC, which is a standard nowadays due to widespread use of modern electronic ballasts.
Circuit and addressed monitoring
In addition, the control unit has one quite practical feature, and that’s a circuit or addressed monitoring of the emergency luminaires.
- The circuit monitoring is able to locate the circuit with a faulty lighting fixture
- The addressed monitoring finds the lighting fixture directly.
Outcomes of these tests are recorded in a memory of the operating unit. When the check is over, the outcomes can be printed and further used.
HORMEN uses devices by German company INOTEC, which are time-proven and enable a range of specific functions. They allow for instance connecting standard and emergency luminaires in one circuit. Or real-time observation of the emergency lighting system operation online, with each luminaire’s position plotted in a ground plan. The CBS can also be linked to a Building Management System.
Are you not sure, which solution is the right one for your project? Ask our technician.