4 June 2010

Through the medieval chapel of Santa Marija of Bir Miftuħ placed in its trust, Din l-Art Ħelwa is embarking on a greener energy solution with the installation of Smart Light Systems LED lighting to reduce carbon emissions, electricity consumption and recurrent financial expenditure on lighting the interiors of this historic chapel.

Din l-Art Ħelwa and Smart Light Systems kicked off the energy saving programme at Bir Miftuħ as a pilot project. This will be the first historic site held in trust by the heritage NGO to benefit from the installation of these Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), which are the most advanced form of this type of technology and which offer an increased light output that maintains efficiency and reliability to an acceptable level while being one of the most eco-friendly lighting solutions available. Smart Light Systems are offering the LED system as a donation.

The medieval church of Santa Marija of Bir Miftuħ dates to 1435 and contains unique medieval fresco fragments of the Last Judgement. The condition of these wall paintings requires that atmospheric conditions within the chapel are as stable as possible – the new lighting system will further the stability required for their conservation. The pilot project will be monitored by Din l-Art Ħelwa together with the Department of the Built Heritage of the University of Malta, which launched a long term air temperature and relative humidity monitoring programme earlier this year. Thanks to this project, the heritage not-for-profit NGO expects to reduce carbon emissions and electricity consumption on lighting at the Bir Miftuħ site by 93% on each LED through the installation of eight 7.5 Watt LED solutions to replace the 100Watt metal lights that were previously installed. There are plans to extend the project to other historic properties held in trust by Din l-Art Ħelwa after results from this pilot project are evaluated.

“These lighting systems are totally different from those in common use on the market. Each LED gives off the same quality of light as a normal incandescent high-consumption bulb. From the moment you switch on, the light is immediately at its optimum level of intensity, without any delay. The LEDs give off cold light, which is of particular benefit at Bir Miftuħ to maintain stable atmospheric conditions and minimal variations in the Chapel’s micro-climate which is of great importance in the preservation of the historic frescoes found there,” said Mr. Jonathan J. Borg and Mr. Henry J. Borg, Managing Directors for Smart Light Systems.

Maria Grazia Cassar, restoration team member at Din l-Art Ħelwa said: “We are very excited about the various possibilities that such technology offers. Not only does this new lighting cut down on consumption and therefore on cost, a fact that is so important for an NGO that totally relies on public support for its funds, but it offers improved temperature stability to heritage sites which is important for delicate artistic treasures such as those found at Bir Miftuħ. Furthermore, lower consumption means lower carbon emissions, so the earth benefits as well as our heritage.”

SmartLight Systems is a Maltese company specialising in cost-effective applications for lighting solutions. All SmartLight Systems lighting products are researched, developed and manufactured in Malta and in Germany.