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Mini Guide to Combining Lighting Controls and Emergency Lighting

In many lighting installations the lighting serves a dual purpose, with luminaires operating as normal building lighting in normal conditions, plus in an emergency some of them illuminate to provide escape lighting.

When the luminaires are operating as normal building lighting they will be controlled by a lighting control system.

An effective lighting control system is important for an energy-efficient building and for building regulations approval.

Under emergency conditions the escape lighting must illuminate quickly, reliably and unconditionally. Regular testing of the emergency lighting is also a legal requirement.

This guide outlines designs for a lighting installation that will serve both purposes without compromise. It is divided into two sections, describing:

Self-contained emergency luminaires
– luminaires with an inbuilt emergency power source plus all other components required to provide light in an emergency;

Centrally supplied emergency luminaires
– here the power for multiple emergency luminaires comes from a central emergency power system.

In each section the guide describes normal operation, emergency operation and emergency testing.

This guide concentrates on the use of DALI control gear. This is because:

  • energy efficient buildings call for dimming and DALI is the most widely used standard for dimming control;
  • the DALI standard is unique in that it includes specific provisions to realise dual-purpose lighting in a vendor-independent manner. 

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Lighting Controls Mini Guide
This guide describes the main benefits of a lighting control system. It provides an overview only and does not drill down into the technologies or design methodologies used in realising a control system.

This mini guide sets out what can be achieved by deploying a lighting control system. 


Don’t forget to read the Lighting Controls Guide by Chapter, structured to give you a logical progression through the subject of ‘lighting controls’.

If you would like to find out more detail on the design, specification, procurement and installation of a control system, as well as the practical issues and technologies available.

Contact Jo: or complete the form opposite.

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Mini Guide to Combining Lighting Controls and Emergency Lighting

October 2014

Lighting Controls Mini Guide

Version 2012