Entering the flower auction buildings in Naaldwijk, one of four locations for the Dutch company Royal FloraHolland, is a mind-blowing experience. First – it’s the proportions. The airy distribution halls with their fragrant smell of flowers are the size of 11 football fields. Then it’s the logistics. For the 4-5 hours in which the auctions take place, an average of 46.000 pots or buckets of plants and flowers change hands. All these flowers are stored in Naaldwijk from the night before. As the auctions start the flowers are transported to the distribution hall in automotive carts. When the content of the carts has been sold, it is redistributed and taken to the customer’s area on fast-going vehicles. Literally kilometers of flowers pass through the distribution center every day. To the uninitiated eye it appears chaotic, but in reality, it is an extremely efficient system perfectioned over many years.
The auctions themselves are also an intriguing experience. There’s no auctioneer at the site, instead, fourteen “auction clocks” are used. The auction clocks are represented by large screens in the different bidding halls. Some of the bidders are physically present in the halls but an increasing number participate online. Thus, a bundle of flowers can as easily be won by a buyer in Russia as by a local trader. Either way the bidding is done from computers in a system that grants the buyers full anonymity. The benefit of turning up in person is the opportunity to inspect the plants and flowers. The online bidders rely on pictures, quality assessments and judgment sampling.
But the distribution hall is only a part of the Royal Flora Holland complex in Naaldwijk. All in all, the company disposes more than 900 000 square metres here, almost half the size of Monaco. Glamox has supplied lighting for the distribution halls, cooling halls, flower inspection area, offices and more. In addition, we are supplying a lot of the lighting for the Aalsmeer site. Adding up it has probably been more than 80.000 luminaires over the years. The history of the collaborations with the project department in Naaldwijk goes back more than three decades, to a time when both companies were smaller and had different names.
“The history stretches back to 1981 when I had just started working here. Glamox supplied the lighting to the first cooling hall, Aircofleur 1,” says Project Manager and head of the Project department Marcel Toussaint. Toussaint is among other things in charge of the areas that are rented out to customers. The areas comprise halls and office space and are the subject to continuous change as customers grow out of one location and is relocated to another. “The service we get from Glamox is quick and good”, Toussaint says.
Even though the flowers themselves are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes than to different lighting, finding the right lighting products and solutions for a place like the Naaldwijk complex isn’t straight forward.
“In general, we want products that have a high quality and that require little maintenance. A lot of dust is created in the areas where the flowers and plants are stored. Hence, we need dustproof luminaires. We also need products with good colour rendering so that our customers can assess the quality of the flowers properly, project manager Dennis Harteveld explains.
New times, new lighting
Harteveld’s colleague Frans Tulling, has been with the company since 2002. He has a background in architectural design, but enjoys the opportunity Royal FloraHolland gives him to work with a wide variety of projects. When it comes to lighting, he has seen a gradual development towards more user oriented solutions. Among other things, this has resulted in the implementation of lighting that can be tuned up to 4000 Kelvin.
“Recent research shows that a more complete spectrum is healthier for people. It took some persuasion, but now it seems like people are happy with the results”, Tulling explains.
Although very favorable electricity prices make the economic incentive for replacing conventional light sources small, the company is now opting for a greener alternative by gradually phasing in LED products.
“We work very closely with Glamox to get the right input. Our company is not like any other and it takes time to understand how we work and what we need. That’s why we choose to work very closely with our suppliers. I also appreciate to have someone with the professional authority on lighting behind me when we make decisions about lighting,” Tulling says.
In the Royal FloraHolland maintenance department teamleader Peter Voogt and technician Sedat Sari also have long experience with Glamox products. “We are very satisfied about the way Glamox handle things.
“To us, Glamox stand for quality”, Sari says.
It is perhaps not the lighting that customers notice first when they enter the brand new, ultra-modern premises of SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge (SNN) in the centre of Mo I Rana in Northern Norway. But lighting plays a crucial role in the building. The bank has elected to invest in Human Centric Lighting, artificial lighting that mimics daylight in intensity and colour temperature. This type of lighting can promote better Circadian rhythm, improve concentration, prevent sleeping disorders and provide an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
Glamox has supplied luminaires and the light management system, while Haaland, who is also a general contractor, was responsible for the installation. Glamox understands that Sparebank1 Nord-Norge is the first bank in Norway, and one of the first banks in Europe, that has invested in this type of lighting.
Lighting up the future
"We are convinced this is the lighting of the future. Therefore we are now rolling out full-scale systems to several of our finance centres, which we are in the process of building. In addition to Mo i Rana we are also investing in Finnsnes, Alta, Bodø and our head office in Tromsø," said Øystein Eikrem, head of SNN's technical section.
Research on how light affects people biologically has been ongoing for many decades. However, in 2002 researchers made a major breakthrough when they discovered ganglion cells in the eye's retina. The cells react to the blue wavelengths in the light, and send signals to the brain, which ensures that the biological clock in the body keeps in step with the Circadian rhythm.
But when the light disappears, so too do the signals to the eye. Particularly in northern regions, many find the conditions in winter months challenging, due to the lack of daylight for long periods. Daylight doesn't just affect the sleeping cycle. Signals from the ganglion cells in the eye regulate hormone production, which affect among other things energy levels, awareness and wellbeing.
Many positive effects
Research shows that correct lighting can counteract sleeping disorders, and also prompt a number of positive effects. "Several research reports, including from the Netherlands and Norway, reveal positive results from use of HCL in office environments and schools respectively. This is new and – to say the least - exciting. If HCL can result in enhanced wellbeing, and a decline in sick leave, then it's a win-win situation for everyone," stressed Eikrem.
"Our most important resources are the people who work in the bank. Then we must organise it so that they have the best conditions. Not just inviting, pleasant work environments, but we must also implement the best technological arrangements for them that includes future oriented lighting. It also promotes a more enjoyable experience for those visiting the bank," said Eikrem.
Office landscapes are ideal for Human Centric Lighting solutions. These solutions can provide employees with more energy and motivation. For example, a cold white light with high intensity at the start of the day can ensure synchronisation of the biological clock. For countries that have little daylight in the winter months, "tuneable white” fittings can help towards reducing Polar night depressions and other seasonal-dependent disorders. The same lighting settings can also produce short-term effects on concentration and awareness, if used correctly.
"Between 5-10 percent of the population struggle with Polar night depression, and this leads to dejected humour, low level of energy, diminished motivation and constant fatigue. These annoyances can be reduced with the right lighting, and therefore HCL lighting is even more important for us who live in a country with a long winter," said Eikrem.
At SpareBank1 Nord-Norge's new premises in Mo i Rana, the lighting system in the team rooms for the 36 employees are preset according to a fixed day cycle. In the morning when the staff arrive at work, the lighting is warm white and the lighting strength is around 400-500 lux. After a while the lighting shifts to cold white and lighting intensity is increased to 800 lux, before it is lowered again, and turning warmer towards lunchtime. After lunch the blue-white tones increase again, before they decline towards the end of the day, and the warm white light becomes more prominent. In the meeting and quiet rooms it is possible to adjust the light in three categories – normal lighting (4000 kelvin, 500-lux), calm lighting (3000 kelvin, 500-lux) and focus lighting (6000 kelvin, 800 lux), as required.
Inspiring pilot project
Espen Ytterstad, sales engineer at Glamox describes the HCL investment in SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge as an exciting pilot project in which he has participated.
"This is the first time we have installed HCL in a bank, and this will be rolled out in many of the bank's locations. Therefore in this contect it is a pilot project for us and the bank. The bank is sporty in daring to invest in creating the ultimate in a working environment, and that their people really enjoy their job," said Ytterstad.
Ytterstad is also quick to praise the co-operation with Haaland. "As well as the installation, Haaland has collaborated with us on programming of the fittings. They have been great to work with and the co-operation has worked very smoothly," he said.
"It's vital for us that we have a participant that is serious, and has the appropriate experience. That is why the nod was given to Glamox. We are certainly looking forward now to hear what our staff think. We are waiting in anticipation to see how much job satisfaction improves and how much sick leave declines, as we believe it will," said Øystein Eikrem, head of SNN's technical department.
Bank Director Tor Magne Aanonli at SNN's branch in Mo I Rana is elated over the investment made in lighting and can't wait to see what effects it has in the future.
"We've only just moved in, and can see we have plenty of light and good lighting. Even though It is still light outside, we can't wait to see what it will be like when the days start to darken," said Aanonli.
Kemi SnowCastle has attracted winter tourists since 1996. Now it's possible to enjoy snow and ice round the year, as the new main building houses a “snow experience space” with -5°C temperature all year round. The building also provides numerous other services.
”The SnowCastle operates all year and offers versatile restaurant and meeting services. In between meetings, one can drop by the ice room to cool down, to play in the snow or to have a go at the ice slide" says Susanna Koutonen from Kemin Matkailu Ltd.
The main building was opened in March 2019, on the 150th anniversary of Kemi.
Clean white light
The lobby of the two-storey building has a blue reception desk which looks like it's made of ice cubes. The high glass windows in the lobby and the shop windows are decorated with snowflakes.
“The colour temperature of the light in the room next to the experience space is mainly 4,000 Kelvin, which coincides with the snow white of the wall and ceiling surfaces,” says Seppo Penttinen, electrical designer at UpNet Engineering Ltd.
The ice cream parlour serves delicious ice cream sundaes, and the café serves drinks with ice flakes, amongst other things. From the lobby, there are stairs to the viewpoint restaurant which seats 300 people. The ice cream parlour, the restaurant, the café and the spa section are illuminated with Glamox D70 downlights.
"We were already familiar with the Glamox products, and we knew they were first-rate and reliable. The purchasing and the installation of the light fixtures for space was very easy. Everything worked flawlessly", Penttinen says.
The SnowCastle's large kitchen and cooking areas are illuminated with C63 square lights, embedded in the ceiling. "Cooking requires good, glare-free and even lighting. The IP55 enclosure ensures that steam from the kitchen does not penetrate the lights. The surfaces of the lights are also easy to clean. Good impact resistance ensures that the light fixtures can withstand impact so parts of it will not be scattered around the space, ”Penttinen explains.
The ice restaurant in the snow experience space is decorated with a fairy tale castle theme and it's the perfect venue for weddings and other events. "The venue offers princesses their fairy tale castle wedding with an ice sculpted pumpkin carriage and everything", Koutonen says.
Lights as part of the interior
The lights in almost all the areas attached to the main building are connected to the DALI control system.
The DALI system allowed us to create a versatile operating system and the light dimming feature has proved to be very useful. The wall panels and the operating system are equipped with automated settings, such as the northern lights setting which dims the space with a press of a button. The light levels can also be adjusted by hand", Penttinen explains.
”It's important that the lights can be adjusted to suit everyone in the work space. Some prefer to work in better lit areas than others", Koutonen says.
The office space, the souvenir shop and the reception area are illuminated with C90 and C95 module lights. Their clear and minimalistic shape lights every corner of the space. "The light fixtures are also interior elements in these areas and an important part of the architecturally stylish space,” Koutonen continues.
The technical spaces, service rooms and the safari service areas are illuminated with i60 lights. The i80 and i85 lights are fitted to the high ceilings of the maintenance areas and the loading bays. They are extremely durable and efficiently light the work areas.
Clean energy from nature
The experience space is 400 m2 in size and contains more than 100 000 kilos of natural ice.
"Many of our foreign visitors have only seen ice in their cocktail glass. Here they get to marvel at the enormous ice cubes cut from the sea and the river. We are also telling a story about the freezing of the Finnish waters and the clean snow", Koutonen rejoices.
Renewable energy and sustainable energy use are the corner stones of the SnowCastle area operation.
There is a solar plant on the roof of the main building. The buildings are heated with geothermal heating and cooled with geothermal wells. Waste heat is salvaged and used to heat the water.
"Kemi is the first city in Mainland Finland with the ISO 14001 environmental certification. We want to do our share to keep the city green and produce as much of the energy we require as possible", Koutonen states.
WE VISITED THE NEW VISITOR CENTRE AT THE Kinderdijk World Heritage site, recently opened by Princess Beatrix, Patron of the Dutch Mill Society. Of the 132 entries, the winning design came from the Hague-based architect firm M& DB. They consciously decided to design a modern, simple visitor centre to make it an easily distinguishable, contemporary addition to the traditional old mills. The use of glass walls creates transparency and allows visitors to feel a connection with the outside surroundings.
Small village - Great destination
The Kinderdijk World Heritage site is a gem of nature and culture in the polder landscape of the Netherlands. Only 600 people live in the village of Kinderdijk, but an estimated 700,000 visitors or more come each year for the Kinderdijk World Heritage site. Visitors include many international travellers, mainly from America and Asia who are brought in on cruise ships and coach trips, but it is a popular day trip destination and locals from the area often come to take a walk or to cycle around. An estimated 700,000 people visit the village each year; paying visitors can enjoy a boat cruise, visiting the mills, a guided tour or a film. No record is kept of visitors who choose to simply take a walk or cycle, enjoying the village without shelling out. Not only has the area been a registered World Heritage Site since 1997, but the Dutch government has also designated it as a protected “Natura 2000” nature reserve because it is home to unique species of birds such as the purple heron and black tern.
Water, willpower and wheels
All of the towns and villages in the Alblasserwaard polder are connected by water. A thousand years ago, the Alblasserwaard was a huge bog. The first people to live here permanently built their houses on the dunes so they could stay above water level in the event of a flood. The land was arable, attracting more and more people to the area who wanted to base their livelihoods around the trading towns in the Western Netherlands which were becoming wealthier at the time. Dykes were erected to keep the river water at bay. This meant rain and groundwater had free reign. In the thirteenth century, Count Floris V ordered the creation of the Water Authorities.
Floris V brought the inhabitants of the region together in these organisations to collectively manage the water. A network of ditches and canals drained the water from the polder to its lowest point - the Kinderdijk. Here, four sluices were built to let the water flow into the river Lek at low tide. The area was flooded in the Saint Elizabeth flood of 1421, and thousands of people drowned. It was a catastrophe, and the subsistence was an issue too, needing more and more power to discharge water from the polders to the river. The solution? The mills.
A system of mills and pumps has been installed over the centuries. The series of mills water passes through is made up of 3 polder mills and 16 mills known as bosom mills. Bosom mills are called this way in the Netherlands because a 'boezem' is a type of storage basin or a temporary reservoir. In deep polders like Kinderdijk, the water has to be raised in stages. The maximum lift is approximately 1.5 metres per mill wheel. The lowest mill draws the water to the basin, and the highest mill discharges the water into the river. Following the invention of the steam engine, two steam pumps began to be used in 1869. The first electric-powered pump was used in 1924. During the Second World War, the Germans seized all of the diesel, highlighting again how crucial the mills were when the polders were milled entirely using wind power.
Nowadays, two pumps pump water to the basins located on higher land, where the river flows into the Lek. The G.N. Kok mill can move even more water than 24 mills can handle together. Mortars are controlled by computers at J.U. Smitgemaal, based on water levels and current wind and weather forecasts. At Kinderdijk, 19 of the 20 mills can still be found today. They are on standby and can be deployed when needed. The oldest mill, Blokweer Museum Mill, dates from 1630 and is over a century older than the other mills. Of the 19 mills, 14 are inhabited - some by the same family for many generations. Two museum mills are open to visitors, with a third scheduled to be opened soon.
Lighting emphasises the simplicity
Glamox worked on the lighting plan for A&B Electrotechniek. Though the plan might look boring on paper, in reality it’s obvious how the lighting emphasises the simplicity of the site and enhances its transparency.
Different versions of the D70 downlight have been used in the reception, shop, hospitality area, corridors, and toilets, while i40 luminaires have been installed in the technical areas and i60 luminaires in the kitchen. E80 emergency lights have been installed around the emergency exits.
Theo Vijfvinkel, project leader at A&B Elektrotechniek, is enthusiastic: “We were asked by P van Leeuwen, the construction company, to come up with a proposal. It was a really special project for me - I was born and grew up around here, and when I was a child I went swimming around the Mills. A connection like this makes a project even better and more appealing - luckily, it was able to fit in around the other projects I had scheduled. The team was under pressure as the visitor centre had to be open in time for the summer season, but everyone involved pulled together and everything went smoothly. Glamox was an incredibly easy partner to work with - flexible, proactive, and with good delivery timeframes. When I look at what we’ve managed to achieve, I feel satisfied.”
Pride and Unity
A number of local sponsors came together to help create the visitor centre. An amazing 220 people volunteered to work alongside 60 employees at SWEK, the Stichting Werelderfgoed Kinderdijk, a foundation working to conserve, manage and maintain the mills and promote learning about them. The enthusiastic volunteers all worked in shifts as hosts, millers, skippers, guides, or shop staff and helped to maintain the environment.
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