The Gerhagen natural domain in Tessenderlo, Belgium is a 940 hectare site dedicated to relaxation with numerous possibilities: paths for pedestrians, bikes and horses, the Forest museum, animal observation posts, play areas and restaurants. In 2014, the city council of Tessenderlo renovated the domain to create a more welcoming environment for visitors. To improve safety and conviviality, they built a new car park at the entrance of the site and a new path leading from the car park to the different attractions.
The lighting for the car parks and paths was a key factor for a successful renovation.
As Paul Wellens, from the Public Works Department of the city of Tessenderlo explains “The car park is the entrance to our site. We want the visitors to feel welcome as soon as they arrive, that they feel the benefits of this pleasant environment, that they feel safe. We did however have a major challenge; Gerhagen is a natural zone so the lighting could not affect the fauna. We had to find the perfect balance between safety and respect for the natural environment".
For Erwin Reniers, technology expert of street lighting at Infrax: "LED technology with its very directional flow and dimming options is the ideal solution for this site".
With these requirements in mind, Schréder proposed an intelligent LED lighting solution that the managers of Gerhagen decided to test. The complete entrance area is lit by 23 Teceo luminaires equipped with the Owlet remote management system with 2 detection sensors.
When a vehicle arrives, a sensor detects the movement and informs the remote management system. The luminaires in the car park as well as the luminaires at the start of the path are immediately switched on. Subsequently a second sensor detects the pedestrian or cyclist who takes the path towards the attractions. The sensor informs the remote management system which turns on all of the luminaires on the path.
When visitors leave the site and head back towards the car park, the sensor detects their arrival and the lighting levels go back up to 100% immediately. The sensor also detects the presence of the visitors as they move along the path so that the remote management system ensures that the luminaires in the car park are switched on for their arrival.
The dimming programme was established in collaboration with the managers of the site. When no visitors have been detected for a 15 minute period, nearly all of the luminaires are switched off. Only the first luminaire at the entrance of the car park and the first 2 luminaires on the path leading to the attractions are permanently lit at night but dimmed to ensure that the access are always visible.
This intelligent lighting offers many advantages:
- the luminaires only work when a visitor is detected
- the very directional flow of the LEDs ensures that the light is exactly where it is needed, so avoiding light pollution
- the white light of the LEDs provides better visibility, increasing the feeling of safety and comfort for visitors.
The intelligent lighting solution proposed for this pilot project was perfect for ensuring the safety and comfort of the visitors whilst respecting the natural environment that they have come to discover.