Relighting the fire in the heart of Wakefield

24th November 2016
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Relighting the fire in the heart of Wakefield

A mainstay of Wakefield's social, cultural and political life since 1904, Unity Hall is a building close to the hearts of local residents. Over the years it hosted everything from ballroom dancing, silent films and wrestling to political meetings and punk rock concerts. Yet by the end of the 20th century, this iconic venue had fallen into disuse, almost becoming completely derelict.

So when a new organisation, Unity Works, leased Unity Hall and committed to making it once again the creative heart of Wakefield, they knew they had a challenge on their hands. The building's new design provides a combination of performance, conference and event space with associated hospitality areas, a café-bar that is open to the public and a range of flexible working/ office space with all modern amenities.

As a community-focused organisation, it was particularly important to Unity Works that they refurbish and revive Unity Hall in a sustainable, cost-efficient way. A key way of doing this was to reduce as far as possible energy wastage from lighting and other applications which are powered-up but unused.

Working on the project was Preston Electrical Ltd, which quickly realised that by installing CP Electronics' presence/absence detectors, it could make a significant contribution to reducing power waste, and therefore also energy costs. Specifically, it used three of CP Electronics' lighting control products: the MWS3A-PRM and MWS6-PRM, both of which are microwave presence/ absence detectors, as well as the EBDSPIR-PRM passive infrared presence/absence detector. All of these can turn lights on when a room is occupied and off when it is empty. Furthermore, all devices allow the user to customise settings to their own requirements, and can be programmed to respond to levels of ambient light.

As might be expected, the quality control programme for this project was very rigorous, but the contractor and CP Electronics jumped through all the hoops to prove themselves in terms of both cost efficiency and specification. As Dave Preston, Preston Electrical explained: "This is a great example of how CP Electronics' expertise and our own skills combined perfectly to deliver the contract. The commissioning support that CP Electronics gave us, and its ability to provide a lighting control solution that contributed clearly and directly to reducing cost and improving the client's carbon footprint, meant that we were able to give the client exactly what they wanted, in a very cost-effective way."

Alan Gott, Unity Works echoed this: "As a socially and financially responsible organisation, we knew that by taking proactive steps to save energy at Unity Hall, we become a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable business while saving money in the process. A portion of our profit goes back into local creative projects, so money saved can make a tangible difference to the lives of people in Wakefield. Thanks to solutions from CP Electronics, we have been able to do this without any compromise on lighting performance. In fact, we can now customise our lighting settings to do exactly what we need them to do, and to respond to changing demands."

The refurbished Unity Hall opened in September 2014 and the CP Electronics units were installed in May 2015. The revived venue has proved a huge success and is now thriving once more.

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