Baulogic delivers discrete emergency lighting control for Cambridge College,

Integrator :  Baulogic Ltd  -

Category :  Public sector


Building intelligence specialist, Baulogic, has provided an easy to operate and artfully concealed KNX-based automated emergency light testing solution for two historic spaces at St Johns College, Cambridge.

St John’s College was founded in 1511, and over its 500 year history the College has grown into one of the largest and most prestigious in Cambridge with more than 150 resident Fellows, 580 undergraduates and 300 graduates. Building on an earlier installation of a KNX/DALI communal lighting control system which had covered various buildings at the college, Baulogic designed and implemented this new emergency lighting control system for the Dining Hall and Combination Room in 2016.

The Grade 1 Listed, 16th Century, Dining Hall features a beautiful hammer-beamed roof, painted black and gold and decorated with the arms of its benefactors, whilst portraits of masters and famous alumni hang imperiously from its wood-panelled walls. Incorporating an emergency lighting system into this structure, without compromising the fabric of the building, was a potentially tricky task. Customised high-powered LED spotlights were installed within discrete brass fittings along the roof beams that are powered from a central battery in an adjacent loft.

The Combination Room, a long wood-panelled space adjacent to the Dining Hall primarily used as a dining room for the college Fellows, incorporates an elaborate plasterwork ceiling but no electrical lighting. Instead, it is lit solely by daylight and in the evenings by candlelight. Despite wishing to maintain this unique ambience, it was necessary to install a modern emergency lighting system to light the way to the exits in the event of a fire. Again, this challenge was met by the installation of custom LED spotlights, located behind the folds of curtains at the windows, ensuring they are almost entirely hidden from view. These spotlights are fed from a central battery in an adjacent butlers’ pantry.

The emergency lights are controlled by Baulogic’s KNX and DALI lighting control system which monitors the fire alarm and turns the lights on in the event of an emergency. A Theben TA4 Push Button interface for the test switches is also located in the butlers’ pantry.

Baulogic has successfully integrated this new system with the existing KNX control system they had already provided for the College. It also connects seamlessly with the automated emergency lighting control in place at the college’s Cripps Building, School of Pythagoras and Divinity School carried out in a previous installation via a Siemens DALI gateway and a GIRA server for visualisation. 

From the maintenance department, the college’s electrical team can schedule automated emergency lighting duration tests that simulate a mains failure and monitor the status of the central batteries for three hours. The status of all DALI devices and LED lamps is constantly monitored and relayed to the college’s maintenance team via a GIRA KNX/IP Router which links the new control system to a KNX IP backbone that covers the different college buildings.

This approach has significantly reduced running costs, by eliminating the need for the maintenance team to perform manual emergency light testing in these areas. At the same time, the Baulogic installation is invisible to casual visitors and maintains the integrity and ambience of both rooms.