Lighting Suitability for Indoor Pool Environments
Radius Energy recently upgraded the Healthways swimming pool in Mont Albert with LED lights. Healthways is a large gym, swim & recreation centre in Mont Albert with over 1000 children per week getting swimming lessons.
In the upgrade we used S-Tech’s highmast lights (painted white) on the side walls, the Oyster light at either end plus all the emergency lighting. The lighting plan delivered the following benefits:-
- Lux level greater the 240 lux (Standard is 120lux but children learn to swim pools we target 240 lux).
- Essentially no reflection from the LEDs on the pool surface - this is a big win.
- Total clarity to the pool bottom hence he can reduce 1 life guard
- The indoor pool looks extremely inviting and he commented that his staff just can’t wait to work in the area.
- He expects parents will travel to his pool for lesson given how inviting it is!
Indoor pools can be small (12m – learn to swim) or large (Olympic size pools) and each pool is unique as the building that houses the pool will also have its challenges with over hanging beams, air conditioning ducts, unusual shapes, varying ceiling height levels, overhead netting, dark coloured wall surroundings and varying levels of natural light exposure.All this must also be considered before delivering an excellent lighting solution that meets recommended Australian standards.
For an indoor pool environment luminaire upgrade, the main issues to consider are as follows: -
Safety, as expected, is the most important consideration.Lifeguards must be able scan the pool bottom or observe swimmers’ details such as facial features or expressions so it’s vitally important the pool has the right illumination in terms of level, uniformity, no obstructions or glare which is often a major problem for lifeguards.
Lighting Level and Uniformity
It is recommended that the most recent version of the Australian lighting Standards is consulted.Undertaking a lighting plan (Figure 1.4) with the correct design and calculations ensures the correct light levels and uniformity is achieved ensuring the basis for a safe environment.
Location and Mounting Height
Placing luminaires around the perimeter is the preferred method for illuminating an indoor pool. We would recommend it’s important to maintain a minimum of 4 metres between the pool deck and the bottom of any suspended luminaire.Lights can be placed over the body of water (provided there is enough clearance), however it is not recommended primarily for maintenance reasons.
Create a Low Glare Environment
Creating a low glare environment is one of the most important considerations to avoid for an indoor pool centre.If there is glare on the water, lifeguards are unable to see below the water surface which becomes a major safety issue.Glare is simply reflected light off the water surface into someone’s eyes causing discomfort an impaired vision. Glare can also provide discomfort for back stroke swimmers as well.
Placement of luminaires in front of life guards or swimmers presents the highest likelihood of creating glare. As mentioned above we recommend placing lighting fixtures around the pool at a minimum height of 4m from the pool surface.If possible the ceiling and walls should be painted an off-white colour with a matt finish.This surface coating will assist in minimising glare onto the water surface.
The luminaire selection should consider minimising glare and consideration of the caustic environment that is present in an indoor pool environment.
The preferred luminaire choice is a luminaire that provides an indirect light spread that is easy on the eye.For these reasons Induction technology is the preferred light choice as it’s an indirect soft light that is well suited to reflective environments. LEDs initially are not well suited to indoor pools with reflective surfaces because they are a point source light and are known for their high glare.However, S-Tech’s highmast asymmetric flood lights do over come this and are now a suitable choice as they are now more energy efficient than induction lighting.
Chemicals and moisture in the air is an issue for the luminaires in an indoor pool as they can destroy fixtures within a year. We recommend a powder coated fixture with all exposed metal components powder coated.
Based on our experience scoping and implementing lightingsolutions for the indoor pool environment Radius Energy should be consulted on any swimming pool project to ensure the right solution is provided considering the many issues confronting a pool upgrade.