Lighting up Africa's greenest hotel - Hotel Verde
Hotel Verde, part of the BON Hotel Group and owned by Mario and Annemarie Delicio, has been dubbed ‘Africa’s greenest hotel’ and it is obvious why. Every aspect of the hotel is designed to be as sustainable as possible, employing systems that are efficient at saving water and electricity, while reducing waste. The building features green landscaping, a vegetated roof, impressive three-3kW vertical axis wind turbines and a façade of photovoltaic panels contributing to renewable energy, generated on-site. The lighting infrastructure formed a central part of the energy savings envisioned by the owners and they wanted to invest in cutting edge, energy efficient lighting technologies right from the start, whilst considering the aesthetics of the hotel. In order to achieve this, they turned to local lighting experts Eurolux and Blair Hammond & Associates for help.
Eurolux and Blair Hammond & Associates were contracted to design and supply lighting solutions for Dematech’s offices, Hotel Verde’s bedrooms, conference rooms, living wall, parking garage and exterior lighting, which included architectural, street and security lighting. The brief was to create an exceptional guest experience showcasing the beauty and functionality of energy efficient lighting, whilst adhering to the most advanced global sustainability standards. Given the hotel’s location – but a stone’s throw from Cape Town International Airport – aviation standards required the hotel to only illuminate downwards, further emphasising luminaire selection.
In order to achieve all of the above, a complete lighting design was completed for each of the specific areas, taking into account luminaire specifications and lighting control systems. A detailed Basis of Design (BoD) document was also compiled to document all technical aspects of the concept design, relevant codes, systems, equipment and parameters required to achieve a maximum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating.
Each area of the hotel was modelled in lighting design software in order to confirm correct light levels and to ensure achievement of the lowest possible lighting power density targets, over and above the LEED baseline values. “The use of lighting design software enables the client to make an informed decision by being able to visualise the effect of the lighting designs, this allows the design process to run smoother and more accurately,” explains Daniel Hammond, lighting designer at Blair Hammond & Associates.
LED light sources were installed throughout the hotel’s interior and exterior, with the exception of the conference rooms and task lighting for offices. In the conference rooms and offices, low brightness T5 fluorescent fittings were installed, as these illuminate work spaces while minimising glare. Eurolux also supplied all 2560 meters of LED strip lighting and 528 drivers for the hotel. All fittings in the conference rooms, reception and restaurant are controlled by the lighting control system, which was installed by a specialist company. This ensures that the optimum usage of light and energy is realised when needed.
Eurolux further boosted the energy efficiency of the hotel by supplying a range of sensors. All public areas, including the passages, boardrooms, underground parking areas and gym have motion-sensors that activate the lights when motion is detected. After a timed period of about 15 minutes without any motion being detected, the lights will switch off. In addition, they also fitted light level sensors that measure the amount of light received. These sensors consider factors such as natural light entering through windows, and dim or brighten the output of the lights to ensure sustained light levels.
“The lighting designs by Blair Hammond & Associates specified the latest LED technologies, with careful consideration for stable colour temperature, good colour rendering, durability and most importantly, aesthetics,” says Shaun Bouchier, director at Eurolux. “We provided top of the range products that met with all the requirements.”
Eurolux supplied all the bedrooms in the hotel with 7W GU10, non-dimmable Aeon Lighting Technology (ALT) LEDs with a 60° beam angle. These lamps produce a warm white light like no other LED on the market, and offer a three year warrantee. Seven down lights were installed per room, as well as beautiful matching pendants and table lamps, which were also fitted with LED lamps. Finally, warm white 12V LED strip lights were concealed in the bulkheads and behind the TV units. These illuminate the ceiling and walls with a beautiful wash that adds to the overall sense of well-being and relaxation.
Hotel Verde’s rooms are access controlled with all lights and electrical equipment activated upon the insertion of the access card in the slot. The exception is the plug sockets which enable the charging of devices while rooms are not occupied. These however, are then deactivated on departure, to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
Another striking feature of the hotel is its beautiful living wall, adjacent to the reception lobby and restaurant. It receives sunlight on the one side via skylights as well as red and blue light from LED grow lamps on the other, which stimulates plant growth. Thirty-five watt LED grow lights, manufactured by ALT, were installed as per Blair Hammond & Associates specifications. Chlorophyll stimulating red and blue light provides the living wall with perfect levels of radiant energy, which is required for the photosynthetic process. Daylight conditions are mimicked using a colour mix of one blue LED chip (460-470 nanometers) and three red LED chips (620-625 nanometers).
The red and blue wavelengths produce a specific spectral light output that is ideal to stimulate plant growth. The blue wavelengths maximise the absorption of chlorophyll and carotenoids, stimulating growth. The red wavelengths have a lower absorption that notably affects the circadian rhythm of the plant enhancing plant health. The LED grow lights had to be wired into a circuit fitted with a timer, ensuring that the lights are switched on for sixteen hours of daylight and off for eight hours of night time. Plants need this downtime to ensure an undisturbed carbon dioxide production counter-cycle.
Hammond adds: “Not only are these LED grow lamps energy efficient, converting nearly all of their power consumption into usable light, but they are also able to optimise photosynthesis without added heat, infrared or UV. These lamps truly deliver outstanding results as the plant develops a higher abundance of leaf nodes than those in their natural habitat, which translate to a larger crop harvest.”
A chandelier from Eurolux’s Meteor range was selected for the lobby of the hotel, creating an eye catching feature. The pendant was a perfect selection for the hotel as it is fitted with long life, 1W Spica LEDs instead of the traditional halogen bi-pin lamp, ensuring decreased maintenance and replacement costs. In addition to this, Eurolux also supplied their P372 pendant fitted with the same 1W Spica LED to complement the lounge areas in the lobby.
Hammond designed the hotel’s exterior lighting and says the owner gave him great creative freedom in this regard. One request was however that the tented canopy outside the entrance needed to be washed in coloured light, as the occasion required. Eurolux supplied RGB colour changing LEDs to meet this requirement. These colour changing lights were installed on the poles of the tent and connected to a DMX lighting controller and a computer. The computer software enables the user to select various colour combinations, patterns and set moods for special occasions, for example, green and white on St. Patrick’s Day or red, green and white over the Christmas period. This adds to the atmosphere of the hotel, while providing ample functional light on arrival to Africa’s greenest hotel.
Perimeter & Street Lighting
“With the hotel being located in the Airport industrial area, one of the owner’s biggest concerns was that we provided sufficient lighting for security purposes. We strived to provide the functionality required whilst at the same time selecting fittings that complemented the overall design of the hotel,” says Hammond.
The fitting Hammond selected for the exterior parking and street lighting was the perfect choice, given the green status of the hotel. The 32W LED pole light (pictured above), available exclusively from Eurolux, not only produces great quality usable light but also features an integrated optical motion sensor. The motion sensor is able to detect movement within a 10 meter radius, and once movement is detected it immediately illuminates to 100 percent light output. However, after a five minute period of no movement, it then dims back down to 50 percent of its light output.
Façade & Wall Lighting
One part of the brief that Blair Hammond & Associates needed to adhere to was the owner’s request to effectively illuminate the façades of Hotel Verde. This was achieved in a variety of ways; the first was by installing Eurolux’s 22W LED Wall Washer, manufactured by Jingri, on the north and south facing façades. These were installed at a height of 17 meters, which at night effectively sets the hotel apart from the rest of the buildings in the area by washing the façades with natural white light. In addition to this, LED strip lighting was installed on the north facing façade in Hotel Verde’s corporate colours, green and purple; helping guests arriving from the Cape Town International Airport to easily identify their destination. The final piece to the façade jigsaw puzzle was illuminating the striking mosaic mural on the elevator shaft. This was done by utilising three of Eurolux’s FS122 80W LED flood lights which were each mounted on an outreach arm. Once the flood lights were installed correctly they were then precisely aimed to evenly wash the piece of art with light from top to bottom. Lastly Blair Hammond & Associates specified wall mounted lights from Eurolux. These were installed outside all the exterior doorways of the hotel, which provided ambient and security lighting.
David Pollock, Hotel Verde Project Manager, commended the combined effort of Blair Hammond & Associates and Eurolux, “The beautiful lighting design and installation demonstrates how important it was for Hotel Verde to team up with specialist lighting companies. Every box was ticked and the goals set out in the lighting design brief were successfully achieved. The end result is magnificent and is one that we at Hotel Verde are extremely proud of.”
Eurolux also supplied the lighting for the parking garage with its 2 x 28W T5 Fluorescent Vapourproof Fitting. The ramp down to the garage is illuminated with Duett 5 year warranty wall lights from Eurolux’s SG range. These were perfect for their task, producing no glare for oncoming drivers.
Hotel Verde showcases sustainability in action by investing in green technologies that will stand the test of time. “It is wonderful to be part of a project of this magnitude on South African shores, we can only hope that many other enterprises will follow suit,” concludes Bouchier.