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Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island - BVI

Irma was classified as a category 5 hurricane on 30th August 2017 and hit the British Virgin Islands in the first week of September. Having devastated whole swathes of the Caribbean, it wreaked havoc on Necker - the famous island home of Sir Richard Branson.

After the eye of the storm had passed, continuing its path to Cuba and Florida, the full extent of the damage became apparent. Sir Richard himself said ""I have never seen anything like this hurricane. ..whole houses and trees have disappeared."


And so the considerable task of rebuilding the famous tropical paradise began. Faced with an almost a blank canvas, Sir Richard had to reinstate not just buildings but the island's infrastructure including the badly damaged electrical network. However, with true Virgin spirit the swashbuckling entrepreneur took this as an opportunity to improve the emergency provision, energy efficiency and environmental impact of the island's lighting.


BRAND Designs were contacted in early 2018 to design and supply the lighting control systems for the whole island including all buildings and public areas. The brief was both exciting and complex.

After considering the numerous technical challenges, we designed an island wide control solution utilising Lutron's Home Works system. 


The Virgin team on Necker divided the island into ten main areas including main operations office, guest accommodation, welcome pavilion, tennis pavilion, water sports pavilion, Great House and Temple House. Each area is controlled by its own processor and dimming rack panel which then links back to the master processor in the operations office.

This allows for a level of functionality Sir Richard had demanded including:

  • Controlling the lighting for the helipad and main dock remotely from the operations office rather than locally.

  • The island's lighting is now integrated with new fire alarm system, which in the event of an emergency will automatically operate all pathway lighting and emergency exists out of all buildings

  • All pathway and road lighting is now PIR controlled reducing environmental impact and reducing energy usage.

  • Public area lighting is controlled by an astronomic time clock which adjusts the on/off and dimming times throughout the year for accurate dawn to dusk operation

  • The system also boasts a calendar feature to turn off the lighting on the beaches where turtles lay their eggs in hatching season.

BRAND's technical director, Ashley Pearson will be travelling to Necker to oversee all system commissioning throughout September and October. ..well that's what he tells us anyway!


Necker successfully reopened to guests in October 2018

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