Monodraught has worked in partnership with supermarket Waitrose to develop a new retail lighting unit featuring a Sunpipe integrated into an artificial light fitting. The new system, a Composite Sunpipe Assembly (CSA), is designed to maximise the use of natural daylight, while controlling and balancing it with artificial light. Due to the success of the initial installation in customer toilets and office areas at the latest Waitrose store at Altrincham, there are plans to extend the concept to other spaces within branch interiors.

Commenting for Waitrose, engineering manager Toby Marlow says it has been proved that natural daylight enhances the built environment, so Monodraught and Waitrose lighting supplier Luxo Ltd were involved at the early stages of the development to integrate a Sunpipe and a Luminaire to meet the challenge that Waitrose had set. The Luxo Luminaires are standard T5 fluorescent office fittings, which were redesigned to accommodate the introduction of the Sunpipe and linked to a simple light sensor to control light output dependent upon the lux level of the natural daylight available. The Luminaires are controlled via simple local dimming arrangements directly controlling their ballasts.

The new Composite Sunpipe Assembly (CSA) maximises the use of natural daylight while controlling and balancing it with artificial light. Those fitted in customer toilets and office areas, are piping natural daylight from the store’s roof into parts of the building that do not have a natural source of light. In addition, they are saving energy for Waitrose, which has now decided to extend the development of the Sunpipe CSA to introduce similar solutions into the main selling environment.

Summing up the result, Toby Marlow says Monodraught was identified early in the Waitrose team’s thought process as a forward thinking company leading the way in natural lighting with its Sunpipes.

“We believed they were equal to the challenge of integrating two technologies into a single energy reducing solution. The result has justified our confidence and is exceeding our expectations. At Waitrose we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and have set ourselves the target of improving the energy efficiency of our shops by 20% and the Sunpipe CSAs are certainly making a significant contribution to energy reduction at Waitrose Altrincham. While we will need to establish a full year’s cycle before we fully understand the benefits, early indications are very positive.”

Commenting for Monodraught, managing director Tony Cull says: “As well as helping to meet the Waitrose energy reduction target, Sunpipe CSAs are maintenance free, and provide good light levels and a more comfortable environment to the areas they serve.”