Case Study: lighting design scheme for a new build project

Case Study: lighting design scheme for a new build project

James Kirk of Everyday Electrical talks to Zano Controls about a recent project where he usedZano Controls’ ZGRIDLED150to provide flicker-free and silent dimming control across the open plan downstairs living area of a new build property in Chelmsford, Essex. 

Name:James Kirk 

Company: Everyday Electrical   

Bio: With a background in IT, James has been a qualified electrician for the past 3 years. Prior to setting up Everyday Electrical James worked as IT technician. In late 2019 James decided that he wanted to build something for himself and pursue a career that was more hands-on, so with a passion for tech support and Audio-Visual technology he reskilled/retrained as an electrician, and the rest as they say is history. James is based in Chelmsford, Essex and focuses mostly on domestic projects with specialisms in Home Cinema, Hi-Fi and Audio-Visual technology and installations. In his spare time, James enjoys taking photos and considers himself a bit of an amateur photographer.  

The job 

Where do you start when it comes to upgrading the lighting of a new build property with an existing yet poorly designed lighting scheme? That was the task James Kirk of Everyday Electrical faced on a recent domestic project in a new build property in Chelmsford, Essex.   

Having lived in the property for little over a year, the homeowners were deeply unsatisfied with the current lighting set-up across the downstairs of their property’s open-plan living space. After a year of struggling with its poor lighting levels and badly designed lighting scheme, the homeowners instructed James to give the downstairs lighting an overhaul. They wanted to add lighting control, revamp their lighting zones and add more light sources across the downstairs to include a mix of lighting layers, that included overhead, accent and task lights as well as wall lights and matching pendants by Jim Lawrence Made. James had previously completed electrical work for the homeowners on the upstairs of the property and had also worked on several other properties within the estate, adding sockets, home security and smart home systems as well as other electrical jobs.  

The problem 

Encompassing the kitchen, dining room, and living areas the downstairs single-story extension ran the length of the property. The existing lighting across the open plan living space consisted solely of 10 spotlights in the kitchen area paired with two small wall lights that were expected to deliver enough lighting for the rest of the open plan living space. 

James needed to find a solution that would not only provide adequate lighting across the different areas of the open-plan layout but work with the property’s existing features and establish and divide specific lighting zones. Of which included a sloped ceiling over the living area, a breakfast bar and ceiling skylights. In addition, it was up to James to find the right LED dimmers for the job and ensure effective lighting control across each of the newly mapped out lighting zones.  

The solution 

Having gotten to know the client – their preferences, how they used the space, what areas they would be using and what purpose the different areas of their downstairs living space served, James discussed taste and preferences down to the very last detail. He then worked with the homeowners to plan out a lighting scheme and identify the lighting zones that would best fit their needs and solve the problems that they had been facing with their existing lighting arrangement. Not only did they need the right light for tasking, dining, relaxing, working and entertaining but they wanted secondary, defined zones that when paired with effective LED dimmers would provide them with more control over their lighting levels for specific activities.  

The homeowners picked out what pendants and wall lights they wanted. For the breakfast bar, they had chosen a 3 lamp ceiling bar track in a spun brass nickel shade and for the walls, they had chosen 3 traditionally styled, handcrafted, single spotlights in the same nickel finish by lighting manufacturer Jim Lawrence. James sourced the rest of the downstairs lighting products based on what he knew would be right for the job. He chose a mix of Collingwood H2 and Collingwood H4 4.4W/VA dimmable fire-rated downlights for the ceiling areas across the open plan living space and dimmable GU10 LEDs for the 3 single spotlights. 

The 3 Jim Lawrence spotlights were positioned on the wall above the sloped ceiling to fill the lounge area with light whilst the matching 3 lamp ceiling bar track pendants were installed above the breakfast bar at the other end of the space. 6 Collingwood 4.4W dimmable ceiling downlights were installed above the dining area that led on from the kitchen, and an additional 6 Collingwood 4.4W dimmable downlights were installed across the lounge and living areas, with specific downlights angled to highlight pictures and paintings. The kitchen downlights were replaced with 8 of the Collingwood dimmable downlights to match in colour, light output and style of what was chosen across the rest of the living space. And finally, the existing switching zones were also changed to reflect the new lighting scheme.  

Lighting control for new-build domestic projects

James required an easy solution to add lighting control across each of the newly designed lighting zones but didn't want to compromise on performance. He was after a reliable LED dimmer that he could guarantee would work effortlessly with the lamps he had chosen and fit in well with the chosen white plastic grid plates. James was aware of the problems associated with dimming LED, both through trial and error and previous experience using dimmers that produced flicker and buzz. And while Zano products were his go-to for LED dimming, he also knew that they were reliable, dependable, worked seamlessly with LED, and were a great fit for the lamps he had chosen for this project.  

Having calculated the total load of the install across the secondary lighting zones – under 150W/VA - and knowing that the lamps he had chosen kept inrush current to a minimum, Zano's ZGRIDLED150 grid dimmer was the solution. In addition, the ZGRIDLED150 came with a selection of 9 grid adaptors to choose from, this ensured that it would fit perfectly into the chosen faceplates for the project. James required 3 ZGRIDLED150s in total for each of the separate switch lines, in the kitchen, 8 of the 4.4W Collingwood dimmable downlights came to a total load of just over 70W (taking into the calculations the potential for Inrush current), he paired the kitchen downlights with one ZGRIDLED150 and kept the hanging pendants on a normal switch. 6 of the 4.4W Collingwood dimmable downlights and the 3 spotlights in the lounge were paired with another ZGRIDLED150 to provide the homeowners with improved lighting control in this space for when they required lower lighting levels. With the final 6 downlights in the dining area paired with a final ZGRIDLED150.  

Impressive results 

The homeowners were delighted with the finished product. Having completed this project to a standard that he would have wanted in his own home, James was also happy with the results. The homeowners not only had a much better-designed lighting scheme that fitted their needs and requirements, but much more control over their lighting levels. They were pleased with the aesthetics of their chosen Jim Lawrence Made light fittings as well as the feature lighting that was installed to accentuate their paintings and photos. In relation to the dimmers that had been installed the feedback was that they enjoy being able to sit and watch the television in their lounge with the lights dimmed to lower levels and were extremely pleased with the performance of the dimmers.  




Project summary 

Name of project: Designing a lighting scheme for a new-build property with an open-plan layout 

Contractor: James Kirk 

Brief: To design a lighting scheme that would provide better lighting across the open plan area, with defined lighting zones that would provide the end-user with more control. 

Total number of circuits: 1 with 4 switch lines 

Products installed:  

Fittings: Jim Lawrence Made Spotlights & Pendants 

Dimmers: ZGRIDLED150 x 3 

Lamps: x 22 Collingwood H2 and H4 4.4W/VA dimmable fire-rated downlights 

x 3 dimmable GU10 LEDs  

Lamps/wattage per dimmer: 150W/VA per dimmer 

Wiring: Twin and earth 


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