EVA – Take a direct approach

Why EVA Optic direct lights are the modern and efficient solution for swimming pool halls

Finding the right lighting solution for a swimming pool is a significant challenge. Glare and reflection on the water surface must be minimised so that both swimmers and lifeguards have good visibility in the water. For years indirect lighting was prevalent, but the arrival of new technology is leading to an entirely different approach.

Out with the old

Indirect lighting is common within commercial pool facilities. This is where fittings are placed so that light is emitted upwards and reflected onto the water. Well-known guidance from industry authorities highlights indirect lighting as the preferred solution. However, this notion is based on the use of old technology that relied on high levels of concentrated light. It required an indirect light source to be installed in order to avoid significant glare and surface water reflection, and the continuing use of powerful LED lights means the same guidance still prevails.

Today, stakeholders working on leisure centre projects — be it architects, contractors, or mechanical and engineering consultants — still perceive indirect lighting to be the correct solution for commercial pool halls, but it is a potentially outdated view.

New, cost-efficient direct lighting technology now offers another option, which should be considered when making lighting recommendations and selections during new build, renovation or relighting projects.

Pioneering Dutch company EVA Optic provides direct LED lighting solutions designed to significantly reduce glare and water surface reflection. To date, the brand has been used at over 500 swimming pools around the world.

Unlike indirect lighting, EVA Optic lights are fitted around the pool shining directly down over the water. All products within the EVA Optic range have a Unified Glare Rating of less than 19 due to a microprism cover that allows powerful yet glare-free light.

“Historically, indirect lighting was appropriate for commercial pools, but EVA LED direct lighting is an innovative new approach,” said Shaun Adams, Director at Golden Coast, the UK distributor for EVA Optic. “The LED lighting provides a safer pool environment, as there is minimal reflection on the pool’s surface, giving better visibility into the water.

“Direct lighting has been used in commercial pool builds for years with great success. It’s the solution the UK industry has been missing.”

The EVA Optic pool range includes EVAline individual or modular lights, Downlights, Hydra spotlights and Pendant lights. All are made to international safety standards. Metals used to make EVA lights are either anodised aluminium, have a duplex coating, or are galvanised in order to withstand the aggressive corrosion from airborne chloramines, as well as the punishing heat of the pool environment.

This durability means EVA lights maintain their mechanical integrity and aesthetics in the long-term. In fact, EVA lights have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours (assuming 18 hours a day for 7.5 years) and are extremely energy efficient thanks to the use Constant Light Output technology.

Shining examples around the UK

Following its proven success around Europe, EVA Optic LED lighting has already been used in several leisure centres in the UK, including Waltham Abbey in Essex and Egham Orbit in Surrey.
At Waltham Abbey Leisure centre, 26 EVAline LED lights were chosen for the large pool hall, which comprises a 25m pool and a 15m learner’s pool.

When designing the 807m2 space, it was predicted that EVA direct lighting would require only 2760 Watts, compared to almost twice that for indirect lighting at 5265 Watts. Over 50,000 hours, direct lighting was therefore set to save £18,000 on electricity bills.

Electrical contractors Barrie Beard secured the tender for the electrical installation at Waltham Abbey. Barrie Beard Associate Director Darren Stokes said: “Our original design for the pool was in the form of flood lighting – both direct and indirect. This type of installation is widely used. However, in some installations it can negatively impact the finish of the wall and the building as it can highlight imperfections. EVA’s understanding of wet leisure lighting meant they had a better solution. Using direct linear lighting, which aims light to the pool, rather than walls, offers a much better finish all round. The EVA lights look great in place, and they were easy to install, too.”

Chris McCarthy, General Manager at Waltham Abbey leisure centre, said: “The lights do not seem to cause glare on the water and there are no dark spots. The light is also very evenly distributed and the Lux level tests back this up. Visibility into the water is therefore very good, and our underwater cameras confirm that. The EVA lights are also low maintenance. Since they were installed in 2018, we haven’t had to touch them.”

At the Egham Orbit Leisure Centre, Golden Coast provided 40 Aqua LED Modular lights in the main 25m pool hall, 39 EVAline Downlights in the learner pool and splash zone, and 20 EVAline Downlights in the hydro pool area and surrounding walkways.

Within the 708m2 pool hall, EVA direct lighting on average consumes 2400 Watts, compared to indirect lighting which would require 8640 Watts — more than three times the amount.

This represents a £42,000 energy cost saving over the 50,000 hour lifespan of EVA lights.

Will Midmore, Group Operations Manager at Egham Orbit Leisure Centre, said: “The lights are not halogen bulbs, so there is an instant saving, which is brilliant for our electricity costs.
“I feel the EVA lighting adds real character to the pool hall. Logistically, the layout provides brilliant coverage whilst taking a certain element of glare away from the pool.

“There are no reflections on the water, which is a major benefit in the pool hall. This means there are also no light spots on the water, which can hamper a lifeguard’s ability to monitor the whole pool. The good visibility into the water means the pool is safer, as lifeguards can easily scan from their position.”

To ensure that optimum light levels were achieved at both Waltham and Egham, EVAline lighting proposals were reviewed by Colin Cunningham, Assistant Head of Technical and Environmental Services for Places Leisure — the leisure arm of Places for People.

“We were very impressed by the quality of the lights,” said Colin. “Not only are the LED lights easy to maintain, but their energy efficiency makes a huge difference to overall running costs. Using EVAline benefits the facilities in the long-term.”

Above and beyond

Industry guidelines state that light levels must be minimum 300 Lux, with an illumination uniformity value of 0.7 or higher. Despite the lower wattage, EVA lights are extremely powerful, and can easily exceed all minimum requirements. At Waltham, the lighting design delivers 321 Lux on average and a light uniformity of 0.74. At Egham, EVA lights average 320 Lux and a uniformity of 0.77

Shaun Adams concluded: “Not only are EVA Optic direct lights energy efficient, but they are more effective at providing constant light output at exceptional levels long-term. They offer a quality and reliability that will stand the test of time.”

To discover what EVA Optic lights can do for your pool, contact Shaun Adams at Golden Coast on 01271 378100, email [email protected]