Watershed office space; Watershed office space;

Watershed, Bristol

An energy reduction strategy and new lighting design for Watershed, Bristol

Watershed is a well-known and much-loved arts centre in the heart of Bristol, south west England. Housed in a once-derelict, Grade II listed waterside warehouse, today Watershed is home to three cinemas, a busy café/ bar, conference space and a digital media work space. Arup worked with Watershed's team and architects Childs + Sulzmann to explore options for improving the environmental and operational performance of the building.

With no sub-metering in place, Arup’s team began by undertaking an energy assessment to map energy consumption, using the approach recommended in CIBSE’s TM22 guidance. This identified two sources of high consumption – lighting and catering – while the building’s heating, cooling and ventilation system proved less energy intensive than expected. Armed with this analysis, Watershed was able to plan next steps for reducing energy demand, which included an application for grant funding from Arts Council England to design and install a new low energy LED lighting and to upgrade the café kitchen with all-electric equipment.

Arup’s lighting team designed and specified an attractive, all-LED system, working closely with Watershed to achieve a smooth transition to the new technology. Watershed is a building in heavy, seven-days-a-week use, which meant the LED lighting installation needed to take place over a number of months in order to allow ‘business as usual’ operations.

The building's existing lighting installation included layers of luminaire installed during earlier maintenance and refurbishment programmes. In the majority of cases, these luminaires were fitted with inefficient tungsten halogen lamps. Arup’s new all-LED design prioritises flexibility and took full consideration of both the building’s original architectural features and current occupancy patterns. The café/bar has been enhanced by introducing warm and atmospheric lighting, with pre-set scenes that allow the building’s managers to adapt spaces for specific events.

The overall result is a more attractive and flexible lighting system as well as one that has reduced Watershed’s lighting-related connected load by 40%. This transition to LED lighting supports both lower operational running costs and a cut in carbon emissions.