22nd June 2022

Answering your biggest questions about hockey lighting

One of the many great things about our partnership with England Hockey is that we get to hear first-hand what some of its members are thinking when it comes to lighting. And while those issues vary from club to club, some questions come up time and time again.

In this post, Patrick Daly – Midstream’s National Sales Manager – shares his responses to some of the most frequently asked questions from clubs across the country.

Are LED-based lighting solutions expensive? Can we afford to switch to LED?

With the current situation regarding energy prices and inflation, a better question might be whether you can afford not to. With the energy price cap lifting again October, we’re seeing some clubs expecting their running costs to double. For those using outdated, inefficient floodlights like metal halide ones, the case for change is going to be particularly strong.

“It’s also important to know that the cost of LEDs has fallen considerably over the past five years or so. Like any new technology, LEDs carried a premium when they first hit the market. But we’re now well beyond the tipping point, and LEDs are both cheaper overall and a lot more cost effective than other lights over the long term too.

Will LED lights really save us money? When will we start to see a return?

Absolutely. On many of the hockey projects I’ve worked on – probably the majority, in fact – replacing metal halide lights with LED ones means the club has halved their energy use. As you can imagine, that has an enormous impact on cost. Maintenance costs for LEDs also tend to be considerably lower.

“As to how quickly you’ll see a return, that varies from club to club. As a general rule, hockey clubs tend to see a faster return on their lighting investments than other sports. That’s due to the fact that they use more floodlights overall, and that they use them more often – so the energy savings mount up quicker. It’s not uncommon for clubs to start seeing a return within the first five years of use.

My lights are not working in one corner. Do I really need to replace them?

Probably, but not necessarily. The key factor at play here is something that we call ‘uniformity’. In any sport, but particularly in hockey where the game moves quickly and the ball can be hard to see, you want good uniformity because that means there won’t be parts of the pitch where light levels fluctuate – something that can be bad from a safety perspective.

The best thing to do in this case is speak to an expert. At Midstream, we always work with existing infrastructure whenever we can, because it’s more cost effective for the club. So if you have some lights that are genuinely fine and – more importantly – up to the same standard as the new ones that we’d fit, then as long as the uniformity doesn’t suffer then they may be okay to retain.

How often do I need to have my LED lights maintained or cleaned?

With LED lights, this largely comes down to the manufacturer. With our LEDs for instance, we offer a 10 year guarantee that covers you regardless of whether you carry out maintenance or not. We know that clubs are busy, and we know that they don’t need the extra hassle of having to meet certain requirements just to keep their warranty active. Some manufacturers do insist that you sign up to a service contract in order not to invalidate your warranty, so that’s always worth checking.

How often you clean your lights really comes down to how invested you are in keeping them in peak condition. We always recommend that you try to clean your lights every 2-3 years to keep them performing as their best. If you’re going to do that regularly, consider opting for a base-hinged mast to make things easier.

Should I think about light spill when planning my hockey lighting?

Particularly in England where hockey pitches tend to be based in highly populated areas light spill can be a big concern for clubs. Light spill is mainly the result of using the wrong fitting, or not using dedicated sports lighting. With purpose built lighting solutions, there are plenty of ways to ensure that they only illuminate what they should – cowls, shielding, hoods, mast height, and even fencing where necessary.

One of the other issues here is ecology, and specifically bats. As a protected species, there are lots of restrictions placed on anything that might disturb their habitat. For clubs with an existing lighting solution in place though, something dramatic would had to have changed between that previous installation and the upgrade for planning not to be granted. And we actually help a number of clubs through the planning process, too.

Should I think about light spill when planning my hockey lighting?

Particularly in England where hockey pitches tend to be based in highly populated areas light spill can be a big concern for clubs. Light spill is mainly the result of using the wrong fitting, or not using dedicated sports lighting. With purpose built lighting solutions, there are plenty of ways to ensure that they only illuminate what they should – cowls, shielding, hoods, mast height, and even fencing where necessary.

One of the other issues here is ecology, and specifically bats. As a protected species, there are lots of restrictions placed on anything that might disturb their habitat. For clubs with an existing lighting solution in place though, something dramatic would had to have changed between that previous installation and the upgrade for planning not to be granted. And we actually help a number of clubs through the planning process, too.

Do we have to replace our masts if we upgrade to LED?

This is an interesting question because the answer can vary based on the floodlights you choose. There’s a general perception that LED floodlights are big, heavy objects that need specific masts to support their weight. And, in a lot of cases, that’s true – which means that the club needs new masts as well as new lights.

The way that we build our LEDs at Midstream, though, means that they’re designed to mirror the size and weight of the luminaires that most hockey clubs already have. That means that we’re much more likely to be able to carry out what’s known as a ‘retrofit’ solution – one where we can retain the masts and just install new floodlights. For reference, that can save as much as 50% of the cost on a typical project.

Do sports LED lights come on instantly?

Yes they do, and that’s another good reason to switch from metal-halide floodlights. Once you switch a metal halide light on, it can take about 20 minutes to get up to its full lighting level, which is a waste of both time and power. What’s worse is that if you accidentally switch that light off, you then need to wait the same amount of time while it warms up again.

There are two other advantages here as well. Firstly, if your venue has a pitch that you hire out, you can just switch the lights off when there’s a gap between bookings. Alongside that, LEDs can also be dimmed for other sports that may not need as high lighting levels. Both of those things can help to save you money

Do we need to get our facility rewired for LED lighting?

In the vast majority of cases, you don’t. Because we’re typically reducing the amount of power needed to run a club’s lighting system, the cables they already have tend to be suitably sized to take new LEDs without any problem. All we normally need in that instance is an up to date Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) provide by an electrician to ensure that everything is as it should be. If clubs don’t have an EICR we can recommend a local electrican.

Generally, the only time this really becomes an issue is when a club is completely rethinking what they want their lighting to do for them. If they want to massively increase their lighting levels for instance, and they’ve only had relatively low-power solutions so far, they might need to look at some element of rewiring.

Find out more about about Midstreams Hockey Lighting or for any questions get in contact below.

See more of our Recent Blogs

Green Initiatives in Football Stadiums

You don’t need to be an energy consultant to know that modern sports venues are fairly power-hungry buildings.

Stadium Lighting 101: getting the most from your sports stadium lighting

Sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

Counting the cost: how sports clubs suffer when the lights go out

Sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

Football floodlighting – don’t be left in the dark

If you’re on top at the end of the season, promotion could leave your floodlighting well-below the standard demanded by the league you’re moving into. It’s not always a quick fix so planning needs to happen now.

21 June 2022

How better lighting can enable sustainable ports

More than 80% of products that we consume daily travel through ports, making them a key link in the global production and supply chains we rely on. Yet, ports also have a major environmental impact – both in terms of greenhouse emissions and air pollution that can impact port communities.

Given the pivotal role that ports play in global supply chains, the environment, and local communities, port operators are facing acute pressure to improve their ESG credentials. These demands are set to play a huge role in a port’s future profitability.

Sustainability is becoming a crucial KPI for ports

Reducing port emissions will cut air and water pollution and could improve the health of over 3.5 billion people while helping curb climate change.

Improving sustainability across all supply chain touch points is intensifying, and the removal of carbon emissions is an integral part of this – especially for shipping. In addition to regulation, shareholders and corporate leaders are also setting ambitious sustainability targets. This is true for some port operators but, critically, it is also true for their customers; the world’s largest charterers and cargo owners are not only working to reduce their direct emissions, but reporting on and mitigating their environmental impact throughout their supply chains.

As such, decarbonising operations is already becoming a business-critical metric for ports in Europe. In the EU and the UK, some ports and port operators have a legal obligation to report on their greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage, and it is more likely that ports will face tighter regulations in the near future. With more stakeholders analysing these figures, port operators need to face the sustainability challenge to reduce their climate footprint or seek to transition to net zero emission operations.

It is therefore not surprising that energy efficiency was ranked in the top environmental concerns by EcoPort in 2019 and 2020 by its 102 members from 25 nations . A major, but often overlooked factor for port operators is inefficient lighting within ports and terminal operations, with lighting accounting for nearly 5% of global CO2 emissions.

Combining environmental and commercial benefits

Reducing emissions through better efficiency is also a commercial ‘no brainer’. Low-efficiency solutions increase OPEX and increase the reputational costs of lagging behind competitors in emissions reporting. With the world facing the biggest energy crisis since the 1970s and energy costs reaching new peaks, the importance of energy efficiency is rising up the international agenda. As International Energy Agency’s executive director, Faith Birol highlighted in June 2022; “Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges – it can simultaneously make our energy supplies more affordable, more secure and more sustainable. But inexplicably, government and business leaders are failing to sufficiently act on this.”

As an innovative supplier of operationally critical infrastructure to the ports and terminals sector at Midstream Lighting we believe that improving energy efficiency goes hand in hand with delivering safer, more resilient, and more cost-efficient operations. We are also able to provide comprehensive, segmented data on energy use for lighting across a port’s side, at the request of the port operator so that operations can be effectively measured and improved.

Partnering for success

As European regulators renew and enhance energy saving and environmental targets to meet climate goals, there are likely to be new regulations on lighting. This will likely ban the use of more polluting systems, such as high-pressure sodium and sulphur-based Lighting systems. LED Lighting as the most efficient option available for ports on the market is effectively regulation-proof.

These are undoubtedly challenging times but with the right partners and relationships, these can present opportunities for ports to step up and recognise the commercial advantages of implementing a variety of environmental measures that inadvertently boost competitiveness, safety and long-term profitability. While lighting is only a small yet important part of the puzzle for port operators, we are committed to supporting our customers and making a measurable, positive impact on environmental and commercial performance.

See more of our Recent Blogs

Port resilience: Reinforcing supply chains in shock

As a general rule, the most successful ports have always been the most resilient. As more decision-makers gain a deeper understanding of the fragility of their supply chains, and as the risk of bottlenecks and delays increases, this link will only strengthen over the coming years. Ports must improve their infrastructure, including their lighting, today to secure their future success.

Lighting up the world’s ports – a year in review

While the primary reasons for investing in lighting are still focused on providing safe and efficient operations, over the last 12 months, improving the sustainability and resilience of operations are starting to come to the fore. And, this isn’t going to go away any time soon.

The effective use of crane lighting: it’s what hits the ground that matters

While effective and high quality crane lighting is vital for safe and efficient port operations, there is still confusion in the industry between lumen and Lux, with a “bigger is better” approach risking the loss of ROI for owners and operators.

All hands-on deck

At the end of October, Midstream Lighting partnered with Talk Ports, had the privilege of stepping aboard the HMS Trent in Lagos for an event organised by Nigeria’s Department for International Trade. In this guest post, Uche Osinobi – Regional Lead for West Africa at Talk Ports shares his views on the day.

18th May 2022

Green Initiatives in Football Stadiums

Green is the colour: exploring environmental initiatives in football stadiums

You don’t need to be an energy consultant to know that modern sports venues are fairly power-hungry buildings. Even a cursory look at the layout of a typical stadium would be enough to suggest that the monthly electricity bill might be a touch on the high side – particularly now, with energy prices skyrocketing as a result of increased demand and global uncertainty.

From sports lighting and scoreboards to behind-the-scenes facilities like catering and broadcast, even an average sized stadium now burns through a lot of power. That’s particularly true in the case of football stadiums, which tend to be both some of the largest sporting venues and amongst the most frequently used. Some estimates suggest that a large football stadium uses as much as 25,000 KWh during a single 90 minute match – the same amount as eight and a half UK homes do in an entire year .

As much as that has an implication in terms of cost, there is of course another very critical issue at play here: sustainability. Expensive though it might be to power a stadium over the course of a game, the long-term cost to the planet is even greater still. It’s with that concern in mind that a growing number of clubs have been introducing green initiatives designed to reduce – or at least mitigate – the amount of power that their venues use.

In this post, I’d like to highlight some of the most noteworthy green initiatives in football stadiums around the world – including some smart approaches to sports lighting and power.

Chelsea take the points, but it’s Game Zero that matters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Local derbies are always heated affairs, particularly when the teams involved are competing for one of the coveted Champions League spots. While passions may have been running high on the pitch during Tottenham and Chelsea’s clash last year though, the environmental cost of the game on was at a record-setting low.

On Sunday 19th September 2021, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosted “Game Zero” – the world’s first net zero carbon elite football match. As is now common in many carbon neutral (and carbon negative) strategies, that result was achieved by first lowering emissions as much as possible, and then offsetting anything that couldn’t be eliminated in its entirety.

In practice, this involved a number of smaller initiatives coming together at once. Players arrived on green biodiesel-powered coaches, fans were encouraged to walk or travel using electric or hybrid vehicles, and all facilities at the stadium – including the sports lighting – were powered by 100% renewable energy. Chelsea may have run out as 3-0 winners on the day, but the long-term legacy of this game is likely to be remembered for very different reasons.

Green Initiatives in Football Stadiums - Game Zero

Forest Green Rovers pitch a different future for football

From the top of the table to the lowest division in the English League – though there’s little doubt that Gloucestershire’s Forest Green Rovers (FGR) could teach some of their higher flying counterparts a few things about sustainability. In 2017, governing body FIFA recognised FGR as “the greenest club in the world”, and it’s easy to see why.

For starters, while Game Zero may have seen renewable energy used for one specific match, FGR’s New Lawn stadium runs on it full time. The club uses 100% green energy (some of which is generated from solar panels installed on the stadium’s roof), its pitch is treated entirely organically, and the grass is even cut using a solar-powered lawnmower. “Another way” indeed.

Ajax challenge the status quo at the Johan Cruijff Arena

On the pitch, Johan Cruijff was known for inventing the eponymous “Cruijff Turn” – a twisting manoeuvre that left his rivals in his wake. It’s only fitting, then, that the stadium that carries the Dutch legend’s name is now recognised for its similarly revolutionary qualities.

Proving that solar panels aren’t just for the likes of Forest Green, Ajax’s Johan Cruijff ArenA employs 4,200 of the devices around almost the whole of the stadium’s roof. What’s more, the club has created a storage system that includes hundreds of new and recycled Electric Vehicle batteries – meaning that it not only has backup power in the event of an outage, but that it can actually supply energy back to the Netherlands’ national grid in times of high demand .

Of course, it would be remiss of us not to mention that the ArenA also uses a highly efficient LED sports lighting solution , as well as an accompanying grow lighting rig that helps to keep the pitch in peak condition.

Betis and Athletic go all in for Forever Green

Let’s finish off with one of the most recent examples of sustainability in action. In an effort to raise awareness of the club’s ongoing Forever Green initiative, Real Betis’ match against Athletic Club last month served as a scintillating showcase of sustainable sport.

First up was a change to the club’s first-team kit, with a revamped design made using 100% recycled polyester. This is no token gesture or PR stunt, either; Betis’ has actually made the shirt available for sale in the club shop. Joining it are a set of Forever Green trainers (or sneakers), made entirely from sustainable and recycled materials.

For the game itself, the club arranged a series of discount offers with electric bike company Lime, as well as electric scooter firms Acciona and Voi, all in a bid to encourage environmentally friendly travel. Those who opted to travel using their own e-bike or scooter were given their own designated parking space as a reward.

On the pitch, players drank from recycled water bottles, while watching fans were able to grab their halftime snacks in biodegradable bowls, before dropping them into recycling bins for their eventual transformation into fertiliser. With one Euro from every ticket sale donated to a reforestation project, the club also made a commitment to offsetting the carbon emissions from the game.

For Betis, green clearly means much more than just the colour on their shirts.

Can we realistically expect every match to live up to the amazing example set during the game between Betis and Athletic? Maybe not, but the great stories above do at least give me hope that we’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re interested in maximising the sustainability of your own stadium, you should know that an LED sports lighting solution can have a dramatic impact on reducing the amount of energy that you use. Find out more here, take a look through some of our case studies, and get in touch.

Got any questions? Get in contact

See more of our Recent Blogs

Stadium Lighting 101: getting the most from your sports stadium lighting

Sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

Counting the cost: how sports clubs suffer when the lights go out

Sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

Football floodlighting – don’t be left in the dark

If you’re on top at the end of the season, promotion could leave your floodlighting well-below the standard demanded by the league you’re moving into. It’s not always a quick fix so planning needs to happen now.

The advantages of LED floodlighting in Sports

We spoke to Sales Manager Patrick Daly, about the advantages of using LED floodlighting in Sports compared to older outdated systems like metal-halide lighting or sodium-vapor lamps.

26th April 2022

Sustainability gets real at Airport Show Dubai

In aviation, the future of sustainability demands tangible results

In just under a month, Midstream’s aviation team will be touching down in Dubai for the 21st annual Airport Show. And as we put the final touches on our plans, I’ve naturally been spending a lot of time thinking about the aviation sector as a whole.

Over the past decade, sustainability has become one of the biggest issues – and arguably the biggest – shaping the future of aviation. We’ve all seen the stories about the environmental impact of airports, and there’s no shortage of issues that the industry (rightly) needs to address. At the same time, I think there’s a real danger that the concept of sustainability is beginning to lose its impact due to the way in which it’s discussed.

Sustainable actions are a good thing, which is a statement that I think just about anyone can agree. But sustainability as a topic can also be quite vague, an all-encompassing theme that can cover everything from bio-diversity through to carbon emissions. As a result, it’s all too easy to think about sustainability as some monolithic challenge that will take years – if not decades – to address successfully.

The reality is very different. Everything we can do to mitigate the threat of climate change makes a difference, and the sooner we start doing it, the more impact it has. I think that this is where companies like Midstream have a real responsibility to their customers – not just in terms of our products, but in the way we communicate their benefits.

Rather than talking in vague terms about how we can help airports become more sustainable, we need to provide concrete facts that explain exactly what we can do. Your airport has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2040? Great, here are the real steps that we can take today that will help you start to move towards that goal.

Driving action through accuracy

As you can probably tell, the tangibility of product performance is something that we’re quite passionate about at Midstream. When we won the Sustainability category at the Inter Airport Europe Awards late last year, it was for the very specific fact that our Modus Tower Series lights can reduce typical energy consumption at airfields by as much as 70%. It’s hard numbers like those that I believe suppliers to the aviation sector need to commit to.

In Dubai, we’ll be showing two other products from our Modus line – the 450 and R1000 floodlights. Both have been specifically designed with the demands of aviation environments in mind, and are capable of delivering significant energy savings while simultaneously improving the quality of an airport’s lighting.

What does that mean? Simply that, when we sit down to talk about the contribution that we can make to an airport’s sustainability targets, we can be incredibly specific about the impact that we can deliver. Through our complimentary design service, we can say with an incredibly high degree of accuracy exactly how much we can help them reduce their energy consumption by, and how fast we can help them achieve net zero as a result.

If that sounds like the kind of discussion you’d like to have around sustainability – one that focuses on real actions, and real results – then we’d love to meet you in Dubai. Why not drop by our stand at 3002.

See more of our Recent Blogs

Airport Lighting introduction Guide

Midstream’s Co-Founder Yuli Grig, explains the different types of airport lighting and the pivotal role they play in the modern aviation, the overall airport’s performance, and the ICAO regulations.

Airport apron lighting: five great tips from our latest webinar

Impacting everything from regulatory compliance to passenger experience, apron lighting is something that airport operators need to know that they’re doing right. It’s also a taxing issue to address – one that’s rarely covered by training providers, and there’s little in the way of universal guidance or consistent methodologies to work from.

Turn down the heat: tackling temperature in aviation lighting

Extreme temperatures of any kind can have a debilitating impact on the aviation industry. While aircraft are built to withstand extreme temperatures, the same isn’t always true of ground operations.

How airports can tackle their biggest lighting challenges in 2022

Irregular surveys, inaccurate results and outdated infrastructure threaten ICAO and EASA/FAA compliance, and leave stands limited to daytime-only use. It’s time for a bit more clarity around apron lighting. Midstream’s Yuli Grig takes up the story.

25th March 2022

Stadium Lighting 101: getting the most from your sports stadium lighting

No matter the sport, and no matter the level of ability, lighting is now a significant consideration for stadiums of all kinds. Irrespective of whether it’s the final of the FIFA World Cup or a lower-league tie on a frosty Friday night, the quality of a stadium’s lighting goes a long way to dictating the quality of the experience for viewers, fans, and athletes alike.

Not all sports lighting is the same, of course, and even similar products from a single vendor can produce very different results when employed ineffectively. In this post, we’re taking a look at the subject of sports stadium lighting and offering some key tips on how to maximise the success of your own solution.

Why good lighting matters

The important word here is “good”. Almost any floodlight manufactured within the past couple of decades will be capable of illuminating a stadium environment to some degree – but that doesn’t mean that the quality will be at an appropriate level.

What is “appropriate” can change dramatically depending on the venue but, broadly speaking, there are three overarching issues to take into account when thinking about lighting:

  1. Is the solution you’re using going to be sufficient for your athletes or players? Will they be able to operate at the same kind of level that they would in natural daylight?
  2. Does that system give spectators what they need in terms of visibility? Can they see what’s happening on the track or field clearly, no matter where they’re sat?
  3. Is your stadium well-lit enough to ensure the safety of competing professionals? This is particularly important for fast-moving and contact sports.

These are all crucial factors to address when evaluating your lighting needs.

Stadium Lighting 101: getting the most from your sports stadium lighting

Televised sport adds another dimension

In addition to the above, and where relevant, it’s important to consider broadcast coverage. In the last decade in particular, certain changes in regard to sports broadcasting mean that some stadium lighting solutions need to meet very specific requirements. With slow-motion and UHD video now commonplace, high power, flicker-free lighting solutions need to be in place in order to give the cameras what they need.

Even at lower levels, the proliferation of livestreaming means that many teams and venues have an entirely new way to connect with fans, particularly those who are located some way away. Good lighting can help to facilitate that connection.

LEDs offer a perfect solution for sports lighting needs

The lights used in modern stadiums come from a wider category known as “sports lighting”. The majority of stadium lighting systems being manufactured today use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), though some vendors do still build their lights using metal halide lamps. These lamps are an increasingly outdated form of technology, and one that has been proven to be far less energy efficient than LED.

Because they need to illuminate large areas, stadium lights usually rely on very high power LEDs. At the highest grade of the soccer stadium lighting regulations outlined by UEFA, for instance, horizontal lighting levels need to be 1,400 lux or above. That’s more than 10 times the amount that the FA stipulates for the majority of games in the National League.

Positioning has a big impact on quality

To deliver the best lighting levels possible, stadium lights also tend to be affixed to either a stand or a mast, typically mounted between 40 and 60ft above the ground – though, at bigger venues, it’s not uncommon to find lights as high as 100ft. Common mast configurations usually include one in each of the four corners, with either one or two masts running down each of the sidelines for a total of six or eight respectively.

Because of the distance between the light and the pitch, small beam angles of between 12-60° are used to keep the light focused and intense. The actual type and number of luminaires (individual floodlight units) required normally depends on the specific circumstances of a stadium, and the sport being hosted there.

Lighting requirements can differ drastically between sports

While lighting layouts between stadiums often have a lot in common, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach – particularly between different disciplines. Much of the variance comes down to the nature of the sport itself; in hockey, for instance, the pace of the game and the size of the ball demands a standard of illumination that wouldn’t necessarily apply on a football pitch.

If you’d like to learn more about some of the specific stadium lighting considerations across different sports, why not take a look at our dedicated pages below?

Power usage varies, but can be predicted

For a stadium lighting solution to be as effective as possible, it needs to be designed with an actual venue’s requirements in mind. Take a football stadium as an example: there can be corner lighting, side lighting in both six and eight column configurations, and even grandstand lighting. Ultimately, the layout needs to work with that stadium’s specific needs.

Because of that, there’s no single answer to the question of how much power stadium lights will use. It’s a variable, and one that can change from stadium to stadium and even country to country depending on energy prices. That said, there are two things to consider when it comes to lighting costs.

Firstly, energy costs can always be predicted using a fairly basic calculations. Take the total number of luminaires and multiply that by the amount of energy that one luminaire requires (i.e. 1.18kW). Multiply the result by the current per hour kW rate (i.e. £0.20) and then, finally, multiply that value by the number of hours that your lights run for in an average year. That will give you a fairly reliable forecast of your annual running costs.

Secondly, and as mentioned above, LED lights offer many advantages over older options like metal halide. Not only are they cheaper and cleaner to run overall, they can also be switched on and off instantly, meaning they can be powered down between matches or events. LEDs are also dimmable, so they can be run on a lower power setting when circumstances allow.

Help is often available

One last thing to bear in mind when it comes to cost is that many sports governing bodies – particularly in the fields of football, rugby, and tennis – now offer grants as a way to help fund new and more energy-efficient stadium lighting solutions.

At Midstream, we’ve helped a number of our sports customers around the world apply for and secure funding for their LED stadium lighting upgrades, so it’s a benefit that’s well worth exploring if you’re looking to take your own venue to the next level.

Got any questions? Get in contact

See more of our Recent Blogs

Counting the cost: how sports clubs suffer when the lights go out

Sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

Football floodlighting – don’t be left in the dark

If you’re on top at the end of the season, promotion could leave your floodlighting well-below the standard demanded by the league you’re moving into. It’s not always a quick fix so planning needs to happen now.

The advantages of LED floodlighting in Sports

We spoke to Sales Manager Patrick Daly, about the advantages of using LED floodlighting in Sports compared to older outdated systems like metal-halide lighting or sodium-vapor lamps.

The importance of partnerships for England Hockey

We’ve been working with GB & England Hockey as their Official Lighting Partner for five months now. So, we’ve asked Rich Beer, Development Director at England Hockey, to tell us more about the role partnerships play in the development of hockey in England.

23rd March 2022

Airport apron lighting: five great tips from our latest webinar

Impacting everything from regulatory compliance to passenger experience, apron lighting is something that airport operators need to know that they’re doing right. It’s also a taxing issue to address – one that’s rarely covered by training providers, and there’s little in the way of universal guidance or consistent methodologies to work from.

With this in mind, we thought apron lighting would be the perfect topic for our first Wednesday Webinar of 2022.

Midstream’s Yuli Grig (Commercial Director) and Marco Cavallotti (Project Manager) took attendees joining from across the world through an in-depth look at the current state of play, covering issues including current regulations, the protocols to follow when conducting an audit, and more.

The full recording is available to watch on our website, along with the presentation materials and accompanying Photometric Guide. If you’re looking for a quick summary, or a taster of the full content before diving in, we have you covered.

Here are five of Yuli and Marco’s top tips for apron lighting.

1. The ICAO provides clear guidance on standards, but be mindful of local legislation

Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Aerodrome Design and Operations document provides operators with clear recommendations about the light levels that should be present on an apron. Horizontal illuminance should be 20 lux, with a uniformity ratio of no more than 4:1, and vertical illuminance at 20 lux two metres above the apron.

As helpful as these recommendations are, they are just that: recommendations. Specific legislation does also exist for different territories, and operators should ensure that their environment is compliant with local jurisdictions first and foremost. In North America, the guiding document is IES RP-37-15, airports in the EU should work to the Commission Regulation No 139/2014, and those in the UK must conform with the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) CAP 168.

2. A little preparation can help to maximise the effectiveness of an audit

With tests needing to be taken at night, and on a clear stand, operators are understandably keen to ensure that a lighting audit can be completed as swiftly as possible. Nevertheless, measuring an apron’s lighting levels is a time consuming process – one that needs to be carried out properly to deliver accurate results.

Midstream’s own experiences here lead us to two recommendations. Firstly, the CAA’s approach of using 15 measuring points for small stands, and 25 for large ones, produces perfectly valid results. Secondly, operators should ensure that they secure the area that is going to be measured. Not only does that help from both a health and safety and efficiency perspective, it also ensures that shadows from planes and air bridges don’t interfere with readings.

3. Standards apply to illuminance grids, too

When measuring or designing a lighting solution, an illuminance grid is used to calculate two things: average overall illuminance, and the uniformity of illuminance in the working area, surrounding areas, and the periphery. Essentially, it helps to show how effective an operator’s lighting is across the entire area being audited – in this case, the apron.

As with lighting levels, illuminance grids also follow certain standards. In the EU, these are laid out in document BS EN 12464-1:2021 – a European Standard that governs the lighting of indoor and outdoor work environments. While EN 12464 does offer clear guidance on the dimensions and ratios that should be used, this is an area in which any qualified lighting provider should be able to offer their expertise.

4. Some basic rules should be followed when taking readings

Simple – but nonetheless important – differences need to be taken into account when switching between horizontal and vertical light readings. For horizontal readings, the lux meter should be placed flat on the ground – or, 0m above the apron from a technical standpoint. The notable exception here is at military sites, where it is sometimes recommended to take horizontal readings at 2m above the apron.

Two metres is also the recommend height for vertical readings in both commercial and military environments. As a result, a tripod should be used to ensure that the meter remains stable while readings are taken. One other consideration here is that the lux meter should be left for around five seconds before taking a reading, to ensure that it gives an accurate measurement. Be sure not to cast a shadow on the receptor, too.

5. Common mistakes can be easily avoided once you’re aware of them

Even simple mistakes when measuring light levels can have a big impact on the effectiveness of the final design. As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that the readings given are accurate. A few basic things to watch out for here include:

  • Measuring an apron area that includes multiple stands. Standards require that each stand is measured individually.
  • Confusing “minimum” and “minimum average” levels. These are different things, and requirements are based upon the latter value.
  • Ignoring uniformity values. A stand may pass based on its average illuminance values, only to fail when assessed for uniformity.

For more on all of the above, as well as detailed guidance on where and how to take light readings and how to select the correct stand category, check out the full recording below.

Download the Photometric Guide

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Midstream’s Co-Founder Yuli Grig, explains the different types of airport lighting and the pivotal role they play in the modern aviation, the overall airport’s performance, and the ICAO regulations.

Turn down the heat: tackling temperature in aviation lighting

Extreme temperatures of any kind can have a debilitating impact on the aviation industry. While aircraft are built to withstand extreme temperatures, the same isn’t always true of ground operations.

How airports can tackle their biggest lighting challenges in 2022

Irregular surveys, inaccurate results and outdated infrastructure threaten ICAO and EASA/FAA compliance, and leave stands limited to daytime-only use. It’s time for a bit more clarity around apron lighting. Midstream’s Yuli Grig takes up the story.

Creating a brighter future for the planet

The environmental impact of lighting is one of the primary reasons that Midstream has always used light-emitting diode (LED) technologies

12th March 2022

Turn down the heat: tackling temperature in aviation lighting

Extreme temperatures of any kind can have a debilitating impact on the aviation industry. While aircraft are built to withstand deep cold, for instance, the same isn’t always true of ground operations. Refuelling, repairs, lading, and – ironically – de-icing can all take much longer than they would in more clement conditions.

Sub-zero situations aren’t the only cause for concern, however. High heat can be equally disruptive, particularly in terms of air density; the hotter the weather, the “less” air there is and the harder it is for an aircraft to get the lift it needs for takeoff. While that’s primarily a problem for airports that are subject to extreme heat on a regular basis, it can also be an issue for those with short runways as well.

This being the Midstream blog, it probably won’t come as a surprise that high temperatures have implications in terms of airport lighting, too. Extreme heat can cause lumens to deprecate faster than they should, significant colour shifts to occur, and – in worst-case scenarios – LEDs to fail completely. And without the right protections in place, this can all happen within just a few months.

Over the past decade, we’ve delivered a number of apron lighting solutions to airports around the world, many of them in locations where temperatures regularly exceed what could be considered as “normal”. As a result, we’ve learned a lot about how to mitigate the effects of heat through smart lighting design. Here are five key issues that airport operators need to be sure that their lighting vendor can deliver on.

1. Metal core PCBs are essential
PCBs – or Printed Circuit Boards – are where the LED chips are mounted within a floodlight. PCBs can be made of different materials, and that choice can have a dramatic impact on heat dissipation. Fibreglass (FR4) PCBs, for example, can handle only a fraction of the heat that aluminium equivalents can, for instance. That’s why Midstream uses aluminium or copper in all of its PCBs. If your airport operates in a high-temp area, specifying the need for a metal core PCB in a tender is a crucial first step.

2. Thermal continuity helps to prevent failure
Between the PCB and the heat sink needs to sit what’s known as a “thermal gap interface filler”. This filler connects those units together, and ensures that there aren’t any pockets of air in which heat can build up. This might take the form of a paste, pad, or any other phase changing material, but whatever it is, it needs to up to the task; at Midstream, we use aerospace-grade components for our fillers.

3. Encourage air flow
Away from the PCB, air flow is something to be encouraged. If an LED ends up being completely enclosed, air can’t circulate and the entire purpose of the heat sink is undermined. Here, we focus on designing luminaires that have the greatest number of entry points for air, without compromising the unit’s overall integrity. To do this, we use Ingress Protected (IP) components inside the compartment itself.

4. Paint it white!
Protecting against heat isn’t just about what you do inside the LED. Because white paint reflects sunlight, it can also help to reduce the temperature of a luminaire – by as much as 50°C in some instances. That’s why we use white paint specifically on our LED bodies. Furthermore, we also install solar covers onto our heat sinks. These create a layer between the sun and the heat sink, ensuring that the latter isn’t compromised by solar heat.

5. Test in an accurate environment
In-situ tests can be used to calculate what is known as a TM21 projection. TM21s give manufacturers a clear idea of the lifetime and lumen deprecation of their products, and helps the end user understand the “maintenance factor” – the loss of light that occurs over time. What’s critical here is that any tests are conducted in an environment that reflects the highest possible temperatures, i.e. the middle of the summer.

On the current climate trajectory, extreme heat is only going to become more of an issue as the years go by. In Phoenix, Arizona for instance, temperatures were at or in excess of 110°F on 34 days in 2020 – a new all-time record . That’s a problem, not least because airline operational manuals don’t even include guidance for temperatures above 118° . As this trend continues, airports need to be ready for the impact on infrastructure, as well as fleet.

To find out more about how to ensure that your lighting remains operational in high heat, why not check out download our white paper below discussing the issue? And to learn more about Midstream’s commitment to tackling the cause of extreme conditions, read more about why we’re proud to have signed The Climate Pledge here.

See more of our Recent Blogs

Airport Lighting introduction Guide

Midstream’s Co-Founder Yuli Grig, explains the different types of airport lighting and the pivotal role they play in the modern aviation, the overall airport’s performance, and the ICAO regulations.

How airports can tackle their biggest lighting challenges in 2022

Irregular surveys, inaccurate results and outdated infrastructure threaten ICAO and EASA/FAA compliance, and leave stands limited to daytime-only use. It’s time for a bit more clarity around apron lighting. Midstream’s Yuli Grig takes up the story.

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Photometric Guidance for Aircraft stands

We understand that meeting regulatory compliance is the primary lighting concern for airports. With audits undertaken every six months, it is imperative that there is a thorough understanding of both the regulations and also how to check whether you comply with them.

18th Feb 2022

Counting the cost: how sports clubs suffer when the lights go out

You know something has truly gone wrong when people remember an event not by it’s official title, but by the technical hiccup that sent it off course. A little under a decade ago, Super Bowl XLVII took place at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. And as the San Francisco 49ers got the game underway, no-one watching could have guessed that it would eventually come to be known by a different name: the “Blackout Bowl”.

At around the 13 minute mark in the third quarter of the game, a power outage at the Superdome threw the biggest match of the American Football season into darkness. With players on both teams looking inquiringly to the sidelines, and coaching staff scrambling to find out what was going on, the game was suspended – leading to an unprecedented 34 minute long break in play.

The Super Bowl isn’t the only sporting event to have fallen victim to a blackout in recent times. Tottenham’s 2014 Europa League game against Besiktas was stopped after just eight minutes when the floodlights failed. Last year, England’s World Cup qualifier in San Marino was nearly abandoned as the result of another power outage. And just last month, Watford and Norwich’s Premier League clash was suspended for more than 10 minutes due to floodlighting issues.

Super bowl outage - Counting the cost: how sports clubs suffer when the lights go out
SuperBowl "Blackout Bowl" 2013. Image Credit: Getty Images

The interruption of a game or sports event due to lighting failure has a number of ramifications. First, there’s the issue of reputational damage. In today’s hyperconnected world, it takes seconds for bad news to spread, and a seemingly infinite amount of time for it to fade away.

While many were quick to praise the likes of Oreos for spinning the Super Bowl blackout into cute social media content for instance, others were less appreciative of the limelight. Doug Thornton – an executive at Superdome management company SMG (now ASM) – told Sports Illustrated that “even though it wasn’t our fault, it became our problem… the whole thing bothered me for months .” For years, perhaps decades to come, casual fans will likely remember the Superdome as the home of the Blackout Bowl.

Then, of course, there’s the financial impact of a lighting outage. Some estimates suggest that the 34 minute delay in 2013 cost around $2-3m in terms of lost revenues, though that’s both unverified, and quite obviously at the extreme end of the scale. Generally, it’s difficult to put an exact number on a lighting-related delay due to the huge number of factors involved.

Nonetheless, sports venues do need to think about the potential costs of a lighting failure – which can range from fan compensation through to the deterioration of commercial relationships.

In 2016, for instance, a group of Bournemouth fans demanded reimbursement from Manchester United after their game was cancelled due to an erroneous security threat. One year before, Brentford F.C. actually acceded to a similar request, compensating Birmingham City supporters for their travel after a match between the two was called off at short notice. Fan tolerance for being sent away with the promise of free readmission for a replay seems to be at an all-time low.

It’s easy to understand why. Delays to the completion of a sporting event can be hugely disruptive in terms of travel, particularly for fixtures that take place during the middle of the week or late on a weekend. Replays might be arranged for a time that’s no longer convenient for them. And any unscheduled interruption, no matter how slight, can fundamentally divert the flow of what might otherwise have been a scintillating competition.

And then, there are the athletes to consider. The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) into football has reignited the debate about the impact of interruptions in play. After Liverpool’s midwinter game against Midtjylland was delayed by 10 minutes due to VAR checks in 2020, manager Jürgen Klopp bemoaned the fact that “each review was really long and it was really cold for the boys .”

No amount of training can prepare a player for 10 minutes of inactivity in freezing conditions, of course. And even in normal circumstances, interruptions can dramatically affect player performance – a 2018 study of games in Germany’s Bundesliga found that more than half of the decline in player performance over the course of a match can be attributed to interruptions rather than physical exhaustion .

While it might not be possible to put a specific financial cost on interruptions, all of the evidence suggests that there are very real consequences when play gets delayed or abandoned. And though lighting might be only one of the factors that can play a role in disruption, it’s also one that sports venues have a great deal of control over.

Ensuring that those lights stay on, and that it’s what happens on the pitch that makes the headlines, is in everyone’s best interests.

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Football floodlighting – don’t be left in the dark

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To find out more about high-power LED lighting and high heat environments and to help you understand the issues you could face and how to avoid them you can download Midstream’s white paper for FREE here

16th Feb 2022

Port resilience: Reinforcing supply chains in shock

Speed and schedules have dominated global supply chains since the advent of modern merchant shipping. Delays keep ships from being used to earn money, and they stop goods from reaching consumers when they need them – especially if that cargo is perishable. Yet, the knock-on impacts of a delay have grown exponentially since the 1970s, when manufacturing industries across the world started to shift towards a Just In Time model.

There are few manufacturing businesses that today warehouse large quantities of engineered parts. As they increasingly rely on meticulously planned delivery timetables to keep production online from day to day, any break in the chain has a dramatic impact on every charterer, factory, distributor, haulier, and port.

The fragility of this system has been highlighted in recent years, becoming particularly acute since the COVID-19 outbreak. Widespread disruption caused by the pandemic, as well as the global port congestion crisis and container shortages, have caused well publicised headaches.

Why resilience matters

Global crises may clearly show how disruptive an unexpected event can be, but not every crisis is global. Indeed, supply chain disruption is more often caused by far more local issues.

Bad weather is one of the most common triggers for port congestion and delays. For example, parallel tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Yangzte delta caused ports to close, and freight delays to rapidly increase, last year. This in turn created bottlenecks, incredible queues on both sides of the Pacific, and stories about supply chain disruption to reach the front pages of national newspapers around the world.

Yet, many more weather-related issues are never publicised – especially those that are port-specific. Extreme fog, or heavy rain at night, can easily reduce visibility to the point where it is not possible for port-based operations to safely function. If it is not possible to see cranes or cargoes, work has to come to a stop.

Climate change is already increasing the number of weather-related issues across many parts of the world. This trend will continue, even in in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s best-case projections.

Even where there is no adverse weather, night-time operations can represent a risk in their own right. Accidents are more common at night, especially where lighting is not up to standard. In the aftermath of a serious accident, port operations may be shut down or run at a reduced capacity for days – impacting the welfare of all port staff, and creating serious logistical and insurance challenges for a port.

Entire supply chains are only as strong as their weakest points, especially when operating under a Just In Time model. Delays at ports cause knock-on delays for a ship’s next voyage, as well as delays for hauliers and – in extreme cases – production shutdowns for manufacturers. A port that is proving to be a particularly weak link may immediately face legal or insurance costs and lose revenue to diverting ships. One of the worst case outcomes would be dropping out of favourability with commercial operators in the future.

Putting resilience at the heart of port strategy

Port operators must defend against as many risks as they can. Often, this means planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

In other words, port authorities and operators must do all they can to ensure that they are equipped to offer the highest degree of operational flexibility, securing supply chains against a wider range of disruptive event. Lighting can be overlooked as a potential contributor to the overall effectiveness of high performing ports, particularly in terms of preventing unnecessary disruption or down time. This isn’t just a question of selecting the right lighting level or output, it is about choosing the best supporting infrastructure to complement systems and operating conditions.

For example, when approached methodically, the best lighting can extend the window in which work can be safely carried out in bad weather, extreme heat or to improve safety across a port’s operations. The right solutions can also minimise the impact on operations of dirty power scenarios in ports where variations of these are commonplace. Extending these windows cuts the risk of disruption, and has additional commercial benefits in improved working conditions for port staff and reduced insurance premiums.

This is why Midstream works consultatively with ports to design and build lighting systems that provide consistent and energy-efficient light across their entire operating environment, transparently tailored to an operator’s specific requirements and layouts. All of our systems are built to survive even the harshest marine environments to maintain consistent performance, utilising our low-glare LED solutions to deliver the highest quality of light on the market in the widest possible window of operating conditions.

As a general rule, the most successful ports have always been the most resilient. As more decision-makers gain a deeper understanding of the fragility of their supply chains, and as the risk of bottlenecks and delays increases, this link will only strengthen over the coming years. Ports must improve their infrastructure, including their lighting, today to secure their future success.

If you would like to know more about how Midstream can help your port to enhance its resilience get in touch. 

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While the primary reasons for investing in lighting are still focused on providing safe and efficient operations, over the last 12 months, improving the sustainability and resilience of operations are starting to come to the fore. And, this isn’t going to go away any time soon.

The effective use of crane lighting: it’s what hits the ground that matters

While effective and high quality crane lighting is vital for safe and efficient port operations, there is still confusion in the industry between lumen and Lux, with a “bigger is better” approach risking the loss of ROI for owners and operators.

All hands-on deck

At the end of October, Midstream Lighting partnered with Talk Ports, had the privilege of stepping aboard the HMS Trent in Lagos for an event organised by Nigeria’s Department for International Trade. In this guest post, Uche Osinobi – Regional Lead for West Africa at Talk Ports shares his views on the day.

Terminal Automation: Past, present, and future innovation

The maritime industry is going through a huge period of technological change. Whether it’s a drive to gain an operational edge or to be more sustainable, the way ports and terminals operate is evolving at incredible speed.

18th January 2022

Football floodlighting – don’t be left in the dark

Is your floodlighting promotion-ready?

It might only be January, but – at football clubs across Europe – thoughts will already be beginning to turn towards the end of the season. And while it might not be possible to predict exactly who’s going to win what, we can at least get a decent idea of which teams will be fighting for promotion come the spring.

As exciting as that is for supporters, for clubs themselves it’s the start of what can be a long and technical journey towards the next level – one that’s often as much about what happens off of the pitch as what happens on it.

Let’s take the English football league as an example. The pyramidal structure here sees the Premier League at the top, followed by the Championship, League One, League Two, and then the National League and its numerous sub-divisions. Whenever a club gets promoted, it needs to demonstrate that its ground meets the requirements of the league it is stepping into.

These ground grading requirements cover a variety of issues, ranging from seating capacity and pitch boundaries through to the PA system and, of course, lighting. Lighting standards are critical to the modern game, not just because they create a better environment for players and supporters, but because they provide TV networks with the right visual conditions for great broadcast coverage.

AFC Wimbledon - Football Floodlighting

The higher a club goes, the more stringent the lighting requirements become. And while the difference in what’s needed between the National League and the National League North might be relatively slight, the increase in brightness required when a club goes from the National League to League Two can be as much as 70%. That’s a considerable jump, and one that has implications that go beyond just the luminaires themselves.

Generally, there are three lighting-related issues that a club needs to consider when promotion is on the table: their existing infrastructure, their current power arrangements, and planning.

  • Infrastructure
    For clubs making the climb from the lower leagues, this will be one of the primary concerns. High quality football floodlighting requires a specific combination of masts and fixtures, and while clubs at certain levels will be able to reuse or upgrade their existing facilities, some will need an entirely new installation. Naturally, that has a significant impact on planning.
  • Power
    A ground’s electricity supply can present a similar challenge to the above, albeit one that is more widely applicable. Football stadiums don’t tend to have any spare capacity when it comes to power, meaning that they use up everything they can draw down. At the same time, the increase in brightness required in the example above would also demand around 80 Amps of additional power – so clubs need to be sure that they can ramp up supply when they need it.
  • Planning
    Any significant change to a football club’s facilities will need to be approved by the local planning authority. While this may be less of an issue for grounds that occupy a dedicated space – like many of those in the Premier League, for example – clubs situated in or near to residential areas will need to show that they’ve taken factors like light spill into account when upgrading their lighting.

So, why does all of this need to be thought about in January when most domestic leagues don’t finish until May? Primarily because all of these factors have a major impact on the timeline for a new lighting installation.

Planning alone can take as long as 16 weeks, so even if the documents were submitted on January 1st, it’s not unreasonable to assume that sign-off wouldn’t take place until around mid-April. From there, any changes to the stadium’s infrastructure could take around a month, landing us in the middle of May. With around six weeks needed to build the floodlights, and four weeks to install them, that takes us to the first weekend in August – just when many leagues will kick off once again.

Ensuring that all of the above goes as smoothly as possible is clearly vital, and it’s important for clubs to get the right support in terms of planning and design so that they can prevent any unforeseen issues from arising.

Then, of course, there are the issues of cost and efficiency; many clubs operate on extremely tight budgets, and will want to ensure that they’re getting the best possible performance at the best possible price. While any upgrade from metal halide to LED lights is likely to offer considerable reductions by default, the right expertise at the design stage can help to identify additional cost-saving opportunities.

Finally, there’s the matter of future proofing. While year-on-year promotions are admittedly rare, it does make sense to think about tomorrow’s lighting requirements when planning any upgrade – just ask Midstream Lighting customer AFC Wimbledon. It might involve a slightly higher outlay in the first instance, but a forward thinking approach to lighting can ultimately save money in the long term.

There’s a long way to go between now and May. But just as any supporter will tell you that it’s never too early to start dreaming, it’s never too early to start thinking about next season’s lighting either.

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To find out more about high-power LED lighting and high heat environments and to help you understand the issues you could face and how to avoid them you can download Midstream’s white paper for FREE here

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Midstream Lighting