Application Solutions: Illuminating Indoor Aquatic Centres

Words by: Elise Blight

When it comes to delivering effective lighting within an indoor pool / aquatic centre, the application presents some unique challenges.

Aquatic Centre Considerations:

Safety and minimising veiling reflection on the water surface
A challenging problem for indoor pools is that of veiling reflection. In general, lighting placed directly above the pool creates reflections on the water surface, making it difficult for lifeguards to see below the water’s surface and identify swimmers that might be in trouble.

Veiling reflection is caused by the higher luminance of reflected light from the water surface, compared with the pool basin.

Good pool illumination can drastically improve the swimmer visibility for spectators and lifeguards and can also increase safety for swimmers.

To effectively minimise reflection, luminaires are best positioned at the outer perimeter of the venue, throwing light forward, as opposed to directly above the pool.

Humidity and corrosion
Most indoor pools naturally operate at a humidity level of 50-60%. These centres can operate at ambient temperatures of approximately 40° celsius. Metal corrodes at a much greater rate under warm, humid conditions. This happens because the moisture-saturated air reacts with oxygen and electrons on the surface of the metal. The longer metal components are exposed to humid air, the faster they will generally corrode.

The naturally warm and humid environment of these centres creates the prime conditions for accelerated corrosion of metals and deterioration of electrical components if the installed luminaires and not properly treated or coated to endure the harsh surroundings.

A pool without effective lighting can appear quite dull. Clever use of light can enhance the overall appeal of the venue. Colour temperature, uniformity, peak intensity, positioning and mounting all play an important role in determining the comfort and atmosphere of the venue for its occupants.

Key Lighting Options for Aquatic Centres:


  • Create volume by lighting the ceiling
  • Adds glare-free lighting into the pool area
  • Softens up harsh shadows and softens the feel
  • Reduces contrasts between downlighting and ceiling in the background
  • Very important for swimmers on their back to avoid high brightness against the dark ceiling


  • Ensuring that compliance with Australian Standard for pool area
  • Positioning and mounting height are important, it is critical to ensure the lowest possible peak intensity at a 60˚ angle to reduce minimise veiling reflection
  • Utilisation of an asymmetric, ‘forward throw’ [A60] lens to direct lighting to the pool

WE-EF Aquatic Centre Lighting Solutions

WE-EF PFL540-SE (Side Entry)

With a large luminaire body and excellent heatsink for cooling LED boards, a non-aging silicone gasket, as well as a driver that is separated from the actual luminaire head to reduce the risk of overheating, the PFL540-SE is suitable to withstand the 24/7 high ambient temperature in a pool environment, tested for an ambient temperature of 40°

The UV stabislised acrylic cover over the LEDs assists in high transmission and avoids internal reflection. Available in a range of wattages and colour temperatures up to 4000 K, it is designed for flexibility to comply with AS2560.2.5 2007.

The appropriate lux level is largely dependent on the style of swimming the complex is delivering:
– Rec-Training 120 lx
– Club Competition 240 lx
– International & State 600 lx

The PFL540-SE can be adapted for both downlighting and uplighting, for a consistent look and it can be mounted flexibly on dropper rods/brackets via a side entry spigot. It is also available in a top entry version. When downlighting, it can deliver the lowest peak intensity possible, at a 60° angle. The lens recommended for lighting the pool area is that of the asymmetric, ‘forward throw’ [A60] lens, to direct the light to where it is needed. With the PFL540-SE, there is no upward tilt required due to the fixed optics. When uplighting, 5° downward tilt is possible to prevent water pooling on the gasket.

Why WE-EF for Aquatic Centres

10 Year Warranty
WE-EF are luminaires backed by 10-year warranty in Australia and New Zealand and strong reliable service support including an installer hotline.

Aquatic centres are hot ~40° and humid environments (often 50-60%) within which metal corrodes at a much faster rate. A strong German heritage ensures premium quality; technology such as 5CE+Primer corrosion resistance = products that withstand tough conditions.

Locally made
The local assembly enables bespoke solutions to solve application challenges and meet project needs, creation of ‘hybrid’ optics and control solutions, technical and lighting design support

High performance
Products are designed and engineered to achieve the required lighting levels for the lowest possible electrical load, ensuring performance and efficiency. Systems like OLC® (One LED Concept) maintain consistent uniformity

Sustainability focus
With EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations), WE-EF is focused on ensuring the longevity of products and optimum recyclability of components at end of life.

Photography: Jackie Chan, Ina Parakhina, Frider Blickle for WE-EF

January 31, 2022