Shining in all colours

SSE Arena has been shining by the Lagan in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter for over 20 years, and it was time to bring new colours to one of the city’s landmarks. The Odyssey Trust company, owner of NI’s premier entertainment venue, chose Belfast-based Northern Electrical Supplies to provide a modern colour-changing and energy-efficient lighting design to the approximately 600m-external perimeter of the building. The SSE Arena Belfast has a capacity for up to 10,800 guests and has achieved the status of key venue and fixture on major European and world tours.

The design brief was provided by the SSE Arena engineers and included updating the existing perimeter HQI floodlighting, which was blue, with new RGB colour-changing floodlighting. Northern Electrical Supplies provided an energy comparison of existing and proposed lighting, and the design parameters were then agreed upon between the company and the SSE Arena engineers. 

Northern Electrical Supplies chose the Zigbee RF mesh-enabled RGB floodlights from Gap Lighting to achieve the desired effect. The lights not only met the design criteria but also allowed setting different zones to be lit with different colours if required. The colourful operation can be managed remotely from a handheld controller. The installation comprised 143 floodlights.

Lower energy consumption 

“The existing lights were 22 years old and needed to be upgraded to energy-efficient lights, which could provide various colour schemes to suit the various events that attend the site,” explained Paul Grant, Project Manager at the SSE Arena. “As a landmark building within the Belfast skyline, it was decided that the identity of the building in the Harbour Estate area needed to be made visible to help promote the business and its aesthetics.”

Besides reducing energy consumption, one of the design’s specific requirements was to provide a “one for one” replacement, using the existing wiring to avoid the need for any additional and complex cabling. And, according to Neil Blair, Managing Director at Northern Electrical Supplies,, the greatest challenge was exactly that. “The main issue was to provide synchronised colour changing around the perimeter of such a large building using existing wiring points and without any additional cabling,” he commented. 

While tackling this issue and taking the project ahead, Neil says communication was key to the installation’s success. “Constant communication ensured a thorough understanding of the challenges and, ultimately, the solutions to achieve the desired result,” he explained. According to Neil, that was also the most satisfying aspect of the project, “It was great to work alongside professionals both in the supply side and client side to completion and finally seeing the finished installation.”

Comprehensive range and services 

Northern Electrical Supplies provides complete electrical supplies, lighting design and energy surveying services across Dundonald, Belfast and the whole of Northern Ireland. The company offers a range of products, such as lighting supplies and accessories, heating supplies, switches, sockets, consumer units and cables, for homes, offices, and industrial premises. Their team of professional staff have the experience and the expertise to find the appropriate parts to fix any electrical issue. 

Northern Electrical Supplies, Unit C6 – C7 Inspire Business Park, Carrowreagh Road, Belfast BT16 1QT
T: +44 (0)28 9521 5156