Encouraging change in the UK wet leisure market

In the UK, finding the right lighting solution for commercial swimming pools can be a challenge. For years, the most common choice has been indirect lighting, where fittings are placed so that light is emitted upwards and reflected onto the water. But new innovative LED direct lighting technology from EVA Optic is offering a different approach. EVA Optic’s UK distributor Golden Coast has been on the front line of the battle to instil a new standard.

Golden Coast Director Shaun Adams explains: “We started working with direct (ambient) lighting in 2016. At the time, 90 percent of all the commercial pools in the UK were illuminated indirectly. This method required multiple 250W lights, which used a lot of energy and caused a visible reflection on the water.” In comparison, EVA direct lighting requires a line of slim 60W LED lights, which are fitted around the pool shining down over the water. These lights create minimal glare on the surface, ensuring good visibility in and out of the water.

A safe and attractive solution
Adams continues: “The LED lighting provides a safer pool environment, as lifeguards have a better view into the water and swimmers have a more comfortable bathing experience. It is also an attractive solution for pool owners as direct lighting uses 50 percent less power in comparison to indirect lighting, and in some cases the saving can be considerably more.”

Despite the commercial pool industry’s preference for indirect lighting, Adams discovered it was not obligatory and continued to persevere with direct lighting. In 2016, Golden Coast sold its first direct LED lighting solution, produced by EVA Optic. “I was still a lone voice, but I believed in its potential,” says Adams. Another breakthrough came in 2018, when EVAline direct LED lighting was chosen by renowned Netherlands pool construction company Pellikaan for three projects in the UK.

“It was a bit frustrating for me that it took us so long to get there, but finally it happened,” says Adams. “The projects were a great success, and leisure centres such as Waltham Abbey in Essex, Egham Orbit in Surrey and Andover in Hampshire are now key reference points. It is no longer just me saying how great EVA Optic lights are. There are customers who think the same.” Since then further installations have been undertaken, not just by Pellikaan, and projects under Wates, Willmott Dixon, and Speller Metcalfe now have EVA lighting incorporated in the design.

Signs of change
Even though direct lighting has been used for hundreds of projects around the world, and has proven to be safer, more sustainable and cost-effective, many UK stakeholders still perceive indirect lighting to be the required solution for commercial pool halls. But there are signs of change. Direct lighting is gaining more attention, with more professionals, including architects, M&E consultants and contractors recognising the benefits EVA can bring. This acknowledgement has even resulted in an M&E contractor changing from an indirect scheme and choosing to replace it with EVA due to the significant advantages.

Adams concludes: “It is time to move on from traditional lighting methods. Direct lighting is the solution the UK industry has been missing.”

To find out more about direct lighting for commercial pool halls in the UK, visit the Golden Coast website.

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