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.
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