Christchurch International Airport LED Lighting


Christchurch, New Zealand

“Making the switch to energy efficient lighting provides us with both environmental and financial benefits, without any compromise on the quality of lighting. Philips has delivered a solution fitting our vision for Christchurch International Airport to be recognised as New Zealand’s leading tourism gateway,” - Andy Lester, CIAL Chief Operating Officer.

The Project


As the first carbon neutral airport in the Southern Hemisphere, and the second worldwide, when Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) began the $237m upgrade of the terminal, it was important to maintain and enhance its environmental credentials.

Stage one of the redevelopment included upgrading the lighting in the international departures terminal and passport control area. As the gateway to the South Island, with 85% of South Island tourists transiting through the airport, it was important it be lit in a way that delivered high quality light without compromising the airport’s sustainability.

The Challenge

Christchurch International Airport is a 24/7 business, meaning the lighting installation had to be performed around flight schedules, passenger movements, and the airport’s daily routine. With the project involving areas from passport control to flight gates, there were also strict security requirements.

We had to work around a number of conditions to deliver the result CIAL needed, which often included working in the evenings and during the night to avoid disruption to the terminal activities. As the area is fully secured, the installation team had to undergo full security clearance to access the area,” says Allan Stephenson, Philips Project Manager.

Continuing quake tremors in Christchurch were an added complication as the 5.1 magnitude quake on 23 December forced the airport to close for a period, which resulted in a number of delays as the building was checked to ensure it was safe to reopen to the public.

The Solution

As part of Philips’ early discussions with CIAL, the benefits of LED lighting and the advantages of making the switch had been highlighted. For CIAL, the most compelling benefit was the dramatic energy savings LED lighting would bring, which would further reduce the airport’s carbon footprint.

“LED lighting is a really obvious choice when replacing older compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) due to its low energy use and long life. This makes it particularly useful for areas where maintenance is difficult, either due to access or use of the space,” says Gordon Wiffen, Commercial Manager at Philips Lighting.

Over four months 1,700 light fittings were replaced in the departures terminal and passport control area with LED technology, providing high quality inviting lighting that not only stacks up aesthetically, but also delivers major energy savings.

Philips used a range of its LED products to fit the airport’s various requirements, including the PowerBalance LED recessed fittings, LuxSpace LED downlights and eW Cove luminaires.

Philips PowerBalance is an affordable LED luminaire specifically developed to meet office and commercial requirements. LuxSpace downlights feature state-of-the-art LED technology, resulting in very efficient and high quality lighting, with glare control, good colour rendering, and the ability to be used on a dimmer.

The eW Cove fittings are the next generation of high-quality linear LED cove lighting. These low-profile fixtures deliver a high output of white or solid colour light and are designed to replace traditional white cove lighting sources for wall and ceiling glow effects, wall washing and indirect lighting from a single cove.

Although LED technology for large interior spaces is relatively new, Philips’ reputation as a leader in lighting reassured CIAL that this was the right decision.

“As a company, Philips invests heavily in research and development to ensure we are providing the highest quality, and we stand by our claims. This means our customers can be assured that when we state our LED lighting has an average 50,000 hour lifetime, we can justify the claim. The systems are extensively tested before releasing to the market,” says Allan Stephenson.

Philips provided a turnkey project solution for the new LED lighting, including design consultation, financial modelling, managing the installation with local Christchurch contractor Arnold Jensen Electrical, and commissioning and overall project management.

Philips expects take-up of LED lighting in New Zealand to occur rapidly, as growing energy costs and environmental awareness drive businesses and individuals to look at where efficiencies can be made.

“The environmental and financial benefits of LED lighting are significant. Globally, Philips expects at least 50% of global lighting to be LEDs by as early as 2015, and 75% by the end of this decade,” says Gordon Wiffen.

The Result

Staff at the airport have commented on the clarity and sharpness of the new lighting, particularly in the passport control section, as well as the effort from Philips to reduce glare on computer screens and at the Smartgates in this high-security area.

For Christchurch Airport’s infrastructure maintenance team, Propel, a key result of the new lighting will be the reduced maintenance costs due to the long life of the LED lighting.

“We work with a small team and minor issues like light replacements can have a significant labour cost, depending on where in the airport the issue occurs. Because of things like ceiling heights, simply changing a light bulb can mean needing to cordon off an area of the airport and bringing in a cherry picker,” says Matt Williams, Technical Services Engineer for Propel.

LED lighting is up to 80% more efficient than traditional incandescent lighting and Christchurch International Airport has reduced its annual lighting load by more than 60% through the new LED lighting. As well as saving around 70 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, the reduction in energy use will have significant benefits for the bottom line.

“Making the switch to energy efficient lighting provides us with both environmental and financial benefits, without any compromise on the quality of lighting. Philips has delivered a solution fitting our vision for Christchurch International Airport to be recognised as New Zealand’s leading tourism gateway,” says Andy Lester, CIAL Chief Operating Officer.

Philips is proud of the results at Christchurch International Airport: “By providing an advanced lighting solution for CIAL we have been able to bring the benefits of LED lighting to them right here and now, and to provide a superior quality light for the millions of tourists who pass through the airport,” says Mr Wiffen.

The Christchurch International Airport redevelopment project is due for completion in late 2012.

Philips PowerBalance

Philips LuxSpace

Philips eW Cove

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