Centre of culture with pioneering safety concept

Tilburg with its university ranks among the rapidly growing cities in the south of the Netherlands. Theater Tilburg is located at the heart of this shopping and cultural centre in the Province of North Brabant. In addition to the auditorium, the building also houses a concert hall, studio and cinema. This open cultural centre offers the residents of the city and surrounding areas a varied programme that includes more than 300 shows and concerts, and art and film events each year. The theatre was elaborately renovated in 2012 with enormous attention to detail – and the use of INOTEC products.

The theatre was built in 1966 and is viewed as one of the city's landmarks. Architect Jo Coenen was in charge of renovating the auditorium in 2012. The renovation also included a revision of the safety and evacuation concept in order to plan the emergency and safety lighting. Maikel van Rooijen, installation consultant to the city of Tilburg, describes the situation prior to 2012: "Different designs comprising both single battery and central power systems had been installed in the theatre in Tilburg. The self-contained emergency exit and safety luminaires were not interlinked, which made it impossible for the building technicians to monitor and display the status of the emergency and safety lighting."

Ultimately this constituted a safety defect as a faulty luminaire could not be reported to a central point and therefore may not have been detected until it was too late.  The use of self-contained luminaires also incurred excessively high maintenance and servicing costs as the batteries in the lights had to be changed at regular intervals of two or three years.

Modernization plans based on the "Tilburg Model"

Back in the 1980s, the city of Tilburg had successfully modernized its administration in a process that attracted attention around the globe and became known as the "Tilburg Model". The system involved managing the administration like a profit-oriented corporate enterprise and was applicable to renovations projects as well, including the Theater Tilburg. When Maikel van Rooijen was planning the modernization, he analysed the requirements in terms of emergency and safety lighting in 2012 and defined the following specifications in line with the "Tilburg Model": Improved fire protection and escape route lighting, use of existing wiring, central monitoring system, lower maintenance costs and lower operating costs.

After comparing a solution with self-contained luminaires to a central power system, the latter was chosen, together with a central monitoring system. Apart from the lower maintenance costs and connection and integration into the central control system, the decision was also prompted by the option to use the existing wiring together with an INOTEC solution.

INOTEC solution without the need for elaborate wiring

The emergency lighting in Theater Tilburg is based on the INOTEC CPS 220 / 64 central power system. The central battery supplies power to the safety and emergency exit luminaires. BUS substations were installed to enable the existing wiring to be used by moving the circuits out to individual parts of the building. Each CPUSB 220 / 64 / 2x4A contains two circuits with max. 4A power rating. A three-wire line supplies the circuits and luminaires with power in both mains operation (AC voltage) and emergency operation (DC voltage).

A BUS line connects the appliances to the TFT controller in the central power system and is used to control and monitor them. If the BUS line fails or is interrupted, the CPUSB systems automatically switch to secure operation and all the luminaires are switched on. This solution eliminated the need for extensive new cables.

Unlike a conventional central power system, the circuits are wired from the BUS substations to the luminaires, and not from the control centre. These substations were positioned around the building next to the light distributors that supplied the self-contained luminaires. The existing wiring to the self-contained luminaires then only had to be rerouted to the BUS substations. This procedure not only reduced the installation workload; it also complied with the client's specification of using the existing wiring.

Simple monitoring via web browser

Monitoring by the building technicians is very easy on a web server if the central power system has an integrated network interface. The INOWeb solution provided by INOTEC visualizes status right down to each individual luminaire on the user's web browser. With operation the same as for most websites, users were quickly able to familiarize themselves and easily access important information. All they needed was a quick start guide. Putting the solution into service also proved to be less complex, compared to widespread ZLT software systems. Building technicians can detect faulty luminaires quickly and remedy malfunctions. This reduces the maintenance workload enormously compared to the previous system of unmonitored self-contained luminaires.

The INOTEC BCS system individually monitors the 36 battery blocks in the central power system to enhance safety even further and to reduce maintenance costs. The voltage and temperature of each individual block are displayed on the INOWeb interface. If a battery block deviates into a critical operating range, charging of the central power system is cut off to prevent damage to all of the battery blocks. The monitoring system notifies the user immediately, either visually or by e-mail to the address on file.

Van Rooijen: "This solution permits us to monitor our emergency and escape route lighting remotely in future from various points, and above all to see inside the core of the central power system – the batteries – thanks to INOWeb and the battery control system (BCS)."

Installations are easy to monitor from a central point with INOWEB-Control software by accessing the controller's InoWeb functionality via a web browser. The status of each installation, circuit and luminaire can be checked on the website.

Key specifications: Dimming capability and fire protection

One of the project engineers, Dick Doeze Jager, describes another key requirement as follows: "Top priority was the ability to dim the emergency exit luminaires in the various rooms while still adhering to legal regulations." INOTEC LED luminaires have switch inputs for optional setting to a predefined dim level during mains operation. The power is ramped up automatically to 100% in emergency operation.

The operator also placed great importance on improved fire protection when choosing new emergency and escape route lighting, which is why Theater Tilburg now operates INOTEC's Dynamic Escape Routing (D.E.R.) system. Guided by smoke detectors, dynamic emergency exit luminaires combined with tried and trusted static solutions only display the really safe escape route. Routes that are not safe are blocked by displaying a red cross and switching off the pictogram of the relevant luminaire. The fact that the fire detection system was renewed during the renovation was a great help as it enabled it to be additionally connected to the D.E.R. system controller.

This solution significantly increases the level of fire protection and helps to ensure safe and fast evacuation of the building in the event of fire. The latter property was demonstrated successfully in tests with volunteers at the Opera House in Wuppertal, where a D.E.R. system is installed. Unlike static escape route signage, the D.E.R. system considers the location of the fire when guiding building occupants safely out into the open.

A secure, cost-optimized solution

INOTEC solutions enabled best possible satisfaction of the client's requirements. The use of BUS substations made it possible to use the existing wiring, which considerably reduced the installation costs. The central monitoring function, complete with battery control system, significantly reduces the maintenance costs. In addition to offering the required option of dimming, the LED luminaires were also able to considerable reduce the operating costs of this project. Not only the operating costs are lower – the energy costs have also been reduced and the cost of replacing the lamps will decrease by at least 80%. The D.E.R. system also significantly increases the safety of the occupants if they need to evacuate the building.

Maikel van Rooijen is satisfied: 

"We not only managed to improve fire protection, we also implemented a secure and cost-­optimized ­solution for the city of Tilburg with central ­monitoring function. We will continue to do so on future projects."

Project overview

Property:Theater Tilburg (Netherlands)
Client:City of Tilburg
Architect:Jo Coenen
INOTEC representative:INOTEC Noodverlichting BV
INOTEC products: