May 25, 2017: Placing importance to longevity and quality, the Ministry of Justice has announced its latest technical requirements for custodial lighting. The Ministry of Justice, Estate Directorate Technical Standards: Electrical Installation (operating at low voltage and extra low voltage): Standard number: STD/E/SPEC/018 does not make any mention of LEDs.
Why LEDs are suitable for prisons
However, experts think otherwise. They feel that LED lighting is suitable in prisons as there are numerous aspects of LED performance that are favorable for custodial lighting. Some of the core ones include the potential security benefits in employing power over Ethernet wiring, the operational advantages from lighting control, and energy usage and the tactful form factor that the source makes likely that might decrease overall luminaire size.
Why LEDs cannot light the prisons?
While there are some valid points that hint towards the potential of LEDs, there are some technical issues that need to be solved at the earliest so that LED lighting can perform well as the source of light in prisons.
LED technology has been evaluated on a customary basis and has yet to obtain a grip in the custodial segment. This may be due to the fact that LEDs are still on the higher side. Also, many are still not aware of the existing requirements for LED luminaire and LED lamps so that they can performance well.
Manufacturing and testing standards
The overall LED luminaire and components manufacturing and testing standards of LEDs are required to comply with the specified standards, and if they don’t meet the BS EN standards, then a special submission needs to be made to MoJ Technical Standards for its deliberation.
LED luminaire testing
Luminaire testing cannot be done inhouse; it is done by MoJ and sometimes even by a UKAS-accredited test that performs tests as per the MoJ Model Agreement for testing.
Necessary life terms
- Light source mortality should be no greater than 10% within the declared life expectancy.
- Light source output must not fall lower than 80% at the end of declared life expectancy.
- Fluorescent tubes are required to have a declared life expectancy of 45,000 hours, with associated HF control gear having a life expectancy of at least 50,000 hours.
Some LED fixtures needs to be removed from the entire fixture; this can be difficult at times. On top of it, MoJ expects a life term of around 25 years for luminaire housings.
The MoJ standards for prison lighting emphasises on luminaire performance. In prisons, LED lighting will start to make appearance if the LED lighting fixtures fit the existing luminaire housing. If the basic kind of retro-fit delivers all of the benefits that LED technology can bring to custodial lighting, LED lighting will be a hit in prisons.
Here, impact and ingress rating applies. The MoJ is in a lookout for impact resistance of IK10 and an IP2X for all-purpose use inside prisons where the luminaires can be installed with tamper-resistant exposed fixings.
The requirement for cell luminaires is an IP65 rating since fires inside prisons are handled by ‘cell inundation’, attained by scattering water into the building through an aperture in the door.
Luminaires are required to endure sustained attack without deformation that may result in supports for ligatures. This is why burn tests are also performed on diffusers to verify if it’s possible to create a hole that could be used to sustain a hook for a ligature.
Custodial lighting focuses on luminaire performaces and thus, light sources are chosen in accordance to their qualities.