Selecon at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2010

   

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery.  With a focus on the history of Australian art and the development of the region, the gallery counts the original Eureka Stockade flag and an assembly of works that depict the only armed rebellion in the history of the nation among its prized offerings. In addition to displays that chronicle the development of the region, the gallery houses an impressive Australian collection that covers Colonial times to Contemporary and offers an exciting program of changing exhibitions in temporary spaces.

In visual environments such as a galleries or museums, precise lighting is crucial to ensure that exhibits are presented as intended.  When the Art Gallery of Ballarat recently decided to replace existing fittings as a part of an energy efficiency initiative, they chose Philips Selecon.  Ben Cox, the Gallery’s Exhibition Officer, explains what purchase criteria and research led to their decision.

“The Gallery has been looking for a long time to improve energy efficiency, as we were still running thirty year old fittings with seriously inefficient lamps” he says. When Ben first came on board around six years ago, he looked in to changes that could be made to decrease energy consumption, but it was a government driven city-wide energy audit conducted in recent years that facilitated the current program of change. 

“The audit resulted in a capital works budget being earmarked for initiatives that would reduce energy consumption and we were fortunately able to tap in to that” says Cox.  “As with most galleries, we house both permanent and temporary collections.  We decided to address the permanent space first, where the exhibition remains fairly static.  In that environment, it is imperative that lux levels are constant and the overall lighting effect uniform.”

“When determining what fittings we would ultimately select, price and colour-rendering ability were the two decisive factors” he says.  “We use a mixture of luminaires throughout our space and looked at a few options when making this purchase.  None of the brands offered the same performance as Philips Selecon at the right price. “

“We replaced the majority of the fittings in the permanent space, which takes up most of the Gallery’s second floor.  We installed 55 of the 35W CDM Wing Wall Washers, 60 of the 70W version, as well as 25 x Metal Halide Selecon Display Profiles.  This saw an immediate load reduction of 30,000W, which is quite substantial” Ben explains. 

The Wing range of wall washer floods received the Award of Excellence for Luminaire Design from the IES in 2008.  The fittings were judged as having “neat detailing and attention to engineering requirements in a range of products that also have distinct architectural appeal”.  The aesthetic of the product itself is important in a gallery or museum, where fittings are typically track-mounted and thereby become an integral part of the space.  They must blend with the environment, providing a flawless source of illumination, without detracting from the exhibition in any way.

While the visual appearance of the product is a consideration, nothing matters more than performance.  The 35W and 70W CDM metal halide Wing Wall Washers are equivalent to 200W and 300W linear tungsten halogens, respectively.  The immediate benefit of installation is a reduction in load, as experienced by the Art Gallery of Ballarat.  The reflector design of the CDM Wing series ensures a visually even wash of light over wall surfaces, fading smoothly out onto the floor.  A more even wash of light means up to 20% few luminaires are required to achieve the same result. 

Installation of the Wing series has provided the Art Gallery of Ballarat with a metal halide solution that sees an immediate overall energy consumption reduction and meets the requirement to phase-out tungsten halogen lamp technology, all while keeping those controlling the purse-strings happy.

“Based on our calculations, we expect to achieve payback on these fittings within five years, which is very attractive from an investment point of view” says Cox, “as we not only realise an immediate decrease in energy consumption and maintenance costs, but our capital outlay is justified in a much shorter timeframe than we expect the installation to last.” 

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