We’ve seen substantial growth in all sectors of technology in the controls, building automation systems (BAS), and HVAC industries over the last decade—even in areas that are often forgotten as “technology.” Surprisingly enough, lighting controls are one of the fastest-growing aspects of the controls industry, becoming equipped with more automated features over the last decade, according to Facilities Net.
The Growth of Light-Control Systems
The advantages of sporting a lighting-control system in businesses, facilities, and even in the broader community pose myriad benefits, it’s no surprise that they are considered the fastest-growing controls segment. Beyond the ability to adjust output and turn lights on and off, lighting-control systems can now adjust light-source color, including shades of white light, and generate data by measuring and monitoring usage, according to HFM Magazine.
In addition to all of these capabilities that help increase productivity and convenience in the workplace, lighting-control systems are also a huge contributor to energy savings and efficiency. HFM Magazine reports from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that lighting-control strategies produce 24–38% energy savings, ultimately reducing building operation costs.
While lighting-control systems are commonplace in new construction, the transition to energy-saving controls has been slow in existing buildings; however, older buildings can indeed be retrofitted for these new lighting technologies. With all of the benefits that lighting-control solutions pose, it’s definitely worth the upgrade in most cases.
Types of Lighting Controls
There are various types of lighting controls that can be implemented into an office building, facility, or out in the community—all of which have different purposes and can be used to track different data points. With the help of Facilities Net, let’s explore a few of these different types of light-control systems, their functionality, and how they can be of use to different types of businesses:
Luminaire- and room-based control systems
What it does: These systems embed or integrate sensors within luminaires which allow them to respond individually for greater flexibility and energy savings. Room-based control systems package lighting controllers and input devices for autonomous, plug-and-play, preprogrammed room lighting control.
Who it works well for: Health care systems like nursing homes and rehabilitation centers
Building- and enterprise-based control systems
What it does: In this system, lighting controllers are networked across a building or multiple buildings. Facility managers can then program all lighting control using operating software and potentially pull performance and other data to a central server or the cloud.
Who it works well for: Facilities with multiple buildings, such as college campuses or health care systems
What it does: The networked control approach assigns all control points a unique address for individual or group programming and can be operated autonomously or integrated with other building systems. Networked control offers several advantages including detailed control zoning, distributed intelligence, zoning using software, programmability, data generation, and more. It can always be suitable in many lighting upgrade projects if paired with wireless communication.
Who it works well for: Organizations focused on increasing or implementing energy-efficiency practices
What it does: Lighting-control systems that allow data collection from control points connected via a digital wired or wireless network may directly measure, estimate energy consumption, or monitor operating parameters. Additional sensors embedded in the luminaire can collect data like occupancy and temperature, and in outdoor lighting control systems, some sensors can even collect data on things like carbon monoxide levels and snowfall. The collected data is fed to a server or to the cloud for retrieval and use via software. Energy-consumption data may be analyzed and shared for a variety of purposes. Monitored conditions may prompt alarms for maintenance response.
Who it works well for: Organizations that rely on data collection to improve building performance, productivity, and energy efficiency
Benefits of light-control systems for the community
Lighting controls have also become very useful in public spaces—especially modern light-emitting diode, better known as LED lighting. According to Urban Land, LED lighting systems are evolving from being simply an energy-efficient source of light to becoming a sophisticated network of sensors and software capable of capturing, transmitting, and analyzing vast amounts of data about the movements and even the habits of people. Essentially, new LED “smart light” fixtures can be equipped with motion, photo, audio, environmental, and water sensors, along with a small computer processor, equipping them with the ability to count and collect data about actions, temperatures, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, rainfall, wind, and other conditions.
As cited by Urban Land, LED lighting systems offer the following benefits in public spaces:
- Public safety: Detecting suspicious activity, responding to emergencies, recognizing license plates
- Asset management: Notifying drivers of available parking spots or tracking the movements of boxes in a warehouse
- Environmental monitoring: Measuring temperatures, greenhouse gases, and even earthquake vibrations
- Retail analytics: Deciphering trends in customer activities
Interested in Incorporating Lighting Controls in your facility? Control Solutions can help!
With a Control Solutions system, lights can be controlled on-site or remotely, so you’re always in control. Our lighting solutions are customizable to most appropriately fit the needs of your staff and building. You can implement the following practices with our lighting systems:
- Exterior lighting control according to sunrise and sunset schedules
- Interior lighting control according to building and occupant scheduling
- Special event schedules per building or section of the building
- Energy conservation with controls that turn lights on or off remotely
Our automated lighting systems including both control and occupancy sensors to better manage your facilities, increase safety for your occupants and reduce energy cost. Contact us today to discuss a customized lighting solution to fit your needs!
Credits:Health Facilities Management Magazine