Controlled Lighting - the Key to Enhanced Security, Lower Costs and “Greener” Credentials

Such are the proven security benefits provided by combined controlled lighting and CCTV systems as the first line of defense in the fight against crime, most authorities now recommend their use to discourage and even prevent vandalism and theft.

Regrettably, however, for many householders and managers of businesses, offices and public places the “controlled” aspect of lighting is frequently ignored or overlooked leading to downstream problems, a diminution of the deterrent effect of the installed facilities, wasteful use of energy, and dramatically higher operating costs.

According to Mark Tibbenham, the MD of Lancashire based security equipment manufacturers GJD Manufacturing Limited; many still view security lighting as a courtesy product or something useful for barbeques and unloading the car on the drive at night. Commenting on the ways in which a high proportion of users of security lighting fail to exploit its potential he remarked, “It’s a fact that the control aspect of lighting is something that is invariably not adequately considered when installing many forms of security systems. The results of this can be witnessed all around in cities, towns, housing developments and the countryside. I suppose one of the classic examples is when uncontrolled, ill placed and wrongly set sensors in use at properties along a road trigger consecutively as vehicles drive past, uselessly illuminating the entire area. Then of course we have the all too often witnessed scenario of offi ce blocks needlessly burning electricity on a 24/7 basis even though staff might be occupying less then 5% of the total fl oor space outside of conventional working hours and even less at weekends.

The bottom line is that uncontrolled lighting has now resulted in the UK possessing the unenviable record of having the most brightly lit after dark skies in Europe. The cost of this in wasted energy has to be enormous and, of course, it is hardly assisting in resolving the current and ongoing drive for us all to become “greener” and save energy wherever feasible.” Continuing Tibbenham added, “From a security aspect, operating lighting in this uncontrolled manner also acts as a very minor deterrent to the criminal or vandal, indeed there is a school of thought that uncontrolled and
semi-continuous lighting actually makes their life easier not more diffi cult by enabling them to visually assess points of entry and other weaknesses with ease during the hours of darkness. This, of course, is the exact opposite of what security systems are designed to accomplish but the reality is that such scenarios are encountered far too often.”

Commenting on ways in which the current lighting and security situation might be reversed and massively improved Tibbenham stated, “It’s really quite simple and inexpensive to incorporate a sophisticated level of control in all security systems which will provide for proven long-term benefi ts and save money by reducing energy consumption. What is needed is some form of intelligent zone management of security lighting providing for maximum versatility within the protected zone or area for example a GJD ‘DygiZone’ lighting controller and enunciator. Modern
detectors, of course, can also be made to activate other aspects of any security system simultaneously and as a result the full and dramatic rewards of a well installed security system can be reaped. Low voltage, weatherproof, external PIR’s such as GJD’s ‘D-TECT’s’, ‘Opal’s’ or ‘Elite’s’ are now recognised as being amongst the most innovative, fl exible and cost effective devices available. When intruders are detected they can activate, for example CCTV systems, audio-visual recorders, internal sounders, visual indicators etc as well as lights offering a very high level of versatility making them suitable for use in any domestic, commercial or industrial environment.”

Concluding Tibbenham stated,”Lighting control is the key to a whole array of improvements which will enhance security, help eliminate light pollution, dramatically reduce energy consumption and save money. There are no adverse effects whatsoever unless you happen to be one of the criminal classes. Given that the benefi ts massively outweigh the relatively minor costs involved the recommendation must be to evaluate existing systems with a view to improving them and ensuring that new systems are properly equipped so that they perform their duties in the most effective fashion. “