Lockdown Project – DALI Lighting Control System

Lead Engineer: Jie Qin


DALI lighting control system ADHBAllendale Electrical asked Intelligent Environments Ltd (IEL) to design an easy DALI lighting control system for the new ADHB Integrated Stroke Unit, specified by Aurecon.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown, IEL had discussions with the client identifying key requirements and where cost savings may be possible. There was also an emphasis that the design should allow for ease of maintenance long term.

With a large number of rooms and profiles to allow for, plus the need for all components to be “hot-swappable” (system should not be turned off) should a driver or other component fail and require replacement, there were few systems that would fulfil all the client’s needs. We determined that the Zen system with de-centralised controllers would be the best fit for the  ADHB.

We commenced work on the drawings to include the following requirements:

  • Control was to be ‘centralised’ via reception and nurse stations;
  • Circulation areas were to have pre-determined settings based on ‘time of day’;
  • Bed bays required local control, but allow night-time control via the nurse stations;
  • Touchscreens at key locations would provide staff with a clear visual display of the areas under their control.

Using Zen room controllers allowed all units to be pre-programmed and supplied ‘plug and play’ for installation of the DALI lighting control system by the electrical contractor.

As the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared, it became apparent that all current and potential medical facilities could be called upon for the care of COVID-19 patients, and as such work on this ADHB project with its additional 41 inpatient beds was deemed essential.

Intelligent Environments were able to obtain required equipment overnight from the Australian supplier and manufacturer and provide this to Allendale Electrical during lockdown, along with networking equipment to allow IEL to program the system remotely, with no need for a controls engineer to attend site.

At the time IEL put forward the Zen DALI-2 system for consideration, a total lockdown with most of New Zealand confined to their homes was far from our thoughts. The ease of maintenance from a plug and play system that could be monitored and programmed remotely was a major consideration, however, and as it turned out this advantage enabled us to progress the project with no delays and no risk to staff, despite the COVID-19 situation.

The Zen DALI-2 control system has allowed IEL to offer access and support via the cloud for any site. The Australian supplier (and manufacturer) offers significant levels of local support, and guarantees in terms of supply to IEL their New Zealand integrator and distributor.

The Zen apps allow users to fully control their sites remotely and make changes very simply.

Although the emergency lighting at the hospital is not DALI, at sites where DALI emergency lights are installed, the Zen controllers can be easily upgraded to monitor the DALI emergency fittings also.

BMS systems can integrate with the Zen DALI lighting control system via BACnet IP. Zen remains a DALI system i.e. totally ‘open’ to any manufacturer with a DALI certified product. This is different to proprietary systems that are locked down to specific manufacturers.

Level 4 ends on 28th April, but we believe the Zen DALI-2 control system with its competitive pricing and ease of installation has proven its value in this ‘lockdown project’ for facilities such as hospitals or other buildings where robust, secure controls are essential, but where remote management and lack of downtime for maintenance is equally important.

A system that offers comprehensive and transparent reports for facility managers without the need for site visits? This has to be the way of the future.